The past week some real Winter conditions did come to Northern Arkansas and the White River. Even for someone from Northern Michigan it was cold! We had 4 anglers here staying at the White River Trout Lodge from Michigan & Indiana and they did well fishing hard – caught some nice Browns and Rainbows in at times brutal conditions.
The White River system remains very low right now with Bull Shoals Lake (above the dam) about 7.5′ below power pool. As you go further upstream in the system the same is happening above Table Rock & Beaver dams. What does this mean? Until the lake levels rise the generation of power at the dams only is done in times when power is really needed. During the other times, flows are set at minimum or around 700 cfs. The past week with extremely cold weather we had some days with high flows in 12,000 to 19,000 cfs. These high flows is what puts Brown Trout on the streamer bite! Consistent and high is the best but you take what you get on the White River. Yesterday and today it like 6-8 hours of very high water followed by minimum flow. What we have been doing is floating with these higher pushes of water and follow them down river as they go strippin streamers. When we stuck in lower flows its time to pack the streamer rods away and break out the nymph rods. 5wt and floating nymph line is ideal. Productive flies are lots of different worm patterns, jig minnow patterns, egg patterns and nymphs. I like the larger minnow jigs and worm patterns most of the time and they produce a lot of Rainbows while searching for a good Brown Trout. Micro eggs and midges sure can produce also – size 14 single egg pattern with a dropper size 18-20 zebra midge is on of my favorites.
Below is my main streamer box on the White River right now. Love this waterproof MFC boat boat with the extra leaf in it. We also stock these boxes and all the streamers in them in our online sales at:
Some of our most productive streamers are hanging out of trout in photos below from this week. Great Lakes Deceiver 6″ articulated sparsely tied with helmet in yellow/olive, rainbow and glow white. Also middle photo below is Viking Midge in white.
Outlook For The Coming Week:
This is a major change in the weather pattern and I like it! This is a heat wave compared to last week and some good rain – just what this river system needs. Cloudy, low light, rain – this is Big Brown Trout weather! Even with the rain coming I would guess water levels will much lower this coming week due to the warmer temps. But hopefully some good rain will help. I would like also some morning pushes of higher water should probably happen. The good thing about lower flows and warmer nights is night fishing and mousing is back to being an option and one of my favorites!