A combination of factors is slowing down the fishing on Bull Shoals tailwater. Fishing will improve with sunny days and as the lake finishes its turnover.
Ozark Fly Flinger
Fishing Reports and Water Conditions
For Monday, November 20, 2017
Reader assumes all risk and responsibility. Warning—these are tailwaters that have widely fluctuating levels and currents. Please make yourself aware of the safety concerns involved in fishing or boating in these waters. Don't become a statistic.
Scott's Fly-fishing Forecast
Last Update 11/9/2017
Weather - Nice weather is forecast through Veterans Day. Enjoy!
Low Dissolved Oxygen - Low DO season started the end of June this past summer. Look for some improvement by late November. Additionally, temperatures have been in the upper 50s to over 60°F at times on all but Beaver tailwater. Keep your fish in the water when unhooking and reduce stress by playing them in faster and releasing them quickly.
Generation - Generation is beginning to occur early in the morning on chilly days with still some regular late afternoon releases.
General Hatch Info - Some microcaddis have been active again mid-day. Hopper season is done for the most part.
Flies to Try - Hopper still worth a try as they typically turn a few fish into November, especially on windy days. Good nymph fishing is returning with lower flows. The usual pheasant tail nymphs, hare's ears, Prince nymphs, and zebra midges are always good to try. Streamer fishing with small tackle is also very productive.
Beaver Tailwater - Look for early morning and/or late afternoon generation during the week with less generation on the weekends.
Table Rock Tailwater - Look for early morning and/or late afternoon generation during the week with less generation on the weekends.
Bull Shoals Tailwater - Starting to see some curtailed generation over night from the powerhouse. There are new snags and sweepers to watch for in the river.
Norfork Tailwater - Look for early morning and/or late afternoon generation during the week with less generation on the weekends.
Greers Ferry Tailwater - Look for early morning and/or late afternoon generation during the week with less generation on the weekends.
Beaver Tailwater - (Click image for realtime data. Click here for explanation.)
Beaver Dam has two generating units. Normal flows can range daily from 20 CFS at low water to over 8,800 CFS with both units in full operation. The current flow status of Beaver Tailwater can be obtained by calling (417) 336-5083.
2017 Low Dissolved Oxygen Season:
29 Jun - Beaver vents blocked open.
20 Oct - Beaver recommended maximum generation (RMG) rate is 75% nameplate, 42Mw.
Thursday, October 19 - Fished with Jason and Mondy Lariz again, this time on Beaver tailwater. Weather was perfect. A slight overcast. Low 49°F. High 77°. Light S-SW-SE breeze. Humidity dropped off in the afternoon into the 40% range.
Generation came on again about 3:00 p.m. Water temperature ranged from 54°F to 58°F. Fishing was OK but subtle in the early morning. Fish stayed subtle the rest of the day. Dissolved oxygen, I saw later, was from 0-3PPM until generation came on and improved it to 4PPM.
Jason and Monday boated about 16 fish between the two of them. Fish did commit a little more on the take after lunch, but you couldn’t take you eye off the indicator. The sneaky trout preferred a Prince Nymph today.
Jason with one of the plumper rainbows today
Good day for Beaver tailwater.
Thursday, October 12 - Randy Cole returned to fish Beaver tailwater. Weather was fair and warmer. Low 46°F. High 79°F. The Corps has been starting generation about 3:00 p.m. Water temperature was 56°F. Water was not as clear this morning, probably from the heavy rain a few days ago.
Randy started the morning nymphing, and fishing was slower today. Several other boaters were also out fishing good areas. Late morning, we switched to a larger beadhead zugbug pattern and did great. Half the time the fish would take the beadhead when Randy dragged the fly up to recast.
Randy and one of the better rainbows
It was a stunningly beautiful, bluebird day.
Table Rock Tailwater (Lake Taneycomo) - (Click image for realtime data. Click here for explanation.)
Table Rock Dam has four generating units. Normal flows can range daily from 40 CFS at low water to 15,100 CFS at full discharge. The current flow status of Table Rock Tailwater (Lake Taneycomo) can be obtained by calling (417) 336-5083.
2017 Low Dissolved Oxygen Season:
13 Jun - Table Rock drops under 6 ppm during generation, vents blocked open.
11 Oct - Table Rock maximum generation of 82.5% nameplate (165 Mw) under maximum LOX injection recommended.
Bull Shoals Tailwater - (Click image for realtime data. Click here for explanation.)
Because of the length of this tailwater and the delay of tailout and rising water downstream, wade fishers should call the current status number periodically to know when generation has started and how many units have been brought on-line. Be aware of changing water conditions. Bull Shoals Dam has eight generating units, and flows can range daily from 50 CFS at low water to 26,400 CFS with all eight units running. The current flow status of Bull Shoals Tailwater can be obtained by calling (870) 431-5311.
2017 Low Dissolved Oxygen Season:
31 Jul - Bull Shoals vents blocked open.
05 Oct - Bull Shoals RMG is now 150MW, or 58% of available capacity (260 Mw). Load distributed units 1-2 at 23 Mw units 5-8 at 26 Mw.
Friday, November 10 - Eric Moody returned to fish with his friend Lee Gillette. Lee is new to fly-fishing. Weather was fair after a couple of days of dreary drizzle and showers. Low 33°F. High 52°F. We had a wind chill with an east wind to start the day. Barometer 30.34 in. The sun felt good!
We floated from Norfork Dam to Red’s Landing. The Corps started generation at Norfork powerhouse at 7:00 a.m. and ran about 4,000 CFS until around 11:00 a.m. Water temperature was about 57°F. Dissolved oxygen is improving, but it drops about 3.0 to 4.0 PPM under generation ranging from 5.5-9.5 PPM. Water is still badly stained and smells of sulfur at the dam. Bait fishermen were catching a few on shrimp and powereggs on the bottom. Some trash started coming though in the afternoon on the White. With the lakes still turning over, the frequent weather systems coming through, and the browns migrating and going off feed for the spawn, it will take a few weeks for the good bite to return.
Lee caught the only two fish. We fished deep nymphs and streamers. A really off day. So it became more of a teaching day for Lee’s benefit, and he is a good student.
Lee and a hard earned rainbow
Geese and ducks resumed migrating through today, and I saw the first snow geese. A wonderful, late fall day on the river, and we all enjoyed it.
Monday, November 6 - Tim Whitehead returned and brought friend Mark Fuller. Weather started out mild and then turned colder with a wind chill, drizzle and some rain. High was 55°F overnight. Low was 48°F by evening.
We began to see falling temperatures by mid-morning while we stopped and geared up with waders, layers and rain gear. A thunder cell rolled by to our west and clipped us with a some heavier rain before we made lunch. The rest of the day was chilly with chilling wind and drizzle. We decided to call it about 2:00 p.m. and floated on out.
The Corps cut back to 3,000 CFS for just a few hours in the early morning, and then bounced releases between 3,000 and 4,400 CFS the rest of the morning. Water temperature was 60°F.
Tim and Mark fished a hopper to start with, and Mark caught one fish and rolled a couple more on it. We then fished a small streamer until lunch. Had some bumps and takes and boated a few fish on them. After lunch, we fished deep nymphs and had only a bite or two. We switched to larger streamers, and Mark caught a nice brown. The brown made the trip.
Mark Fuller enjoyed landing this brown trout on an inclement Fall day.
Geese started coming through yesterday afternoon and continued all day today ahead of a cold front up north. In the afternoon, the clouds lowered and drizzle was heavy. The flocks of geese descended over the river and seemed to be looking for a large body of still water to land on for the evening or were trying to find a gap of better weather. There were a few ducks and seagulls also coming through the area also. We saw two bald eagles. On the way back to the put-in, we saw a large flock of active turkeys and some deer.
Overall, we experienced a merging into late Fall weather pattern today and were graced with a good fish. No daylight saving time now.
Monday, October 23 - Fished with Steve Heinitz and Mike Mason today. Both are fly-fishing guides out west, and I think it was a first with three guides in my boat. Weather was nearly perfect today except for some brief gusty conditions in the afternoon. We took this as a blessing since there was a Lake Wind Advisory out for 30 m.p.h. gusts. Fortunately we did not see those kinds of winds and it was not really an issue. Overcast. Low 46°F. High 75°F.
Bull Shoals powerhouse had released 10,121 CFS last night before 9:00 p.m. and had cut back to about 3,500 CFS overnight with a bump in the morning up to about 4,600 CFS for 2-3 hours. Water temp was slightly better today and ranged from 60-62°F.
We floated from Rim Shoals to Buffalo City. Hopper fishing was tough. We had a few swirls and half-hearted takes. Deep nymphing was better down through Fletcher Eddy and Ranchette. Streamer fishing after that.
Steve and Mike tried several different streamers, but Mike had a dark brown rubber legged streamer similar to the one my client Dave fished with a few days before, and it worked well.
Traffic was busy in the morning but the river was mostly deserted in the afternoon. A great fall day on the White with two very good fly fishers. Always fun to watch anglers pull fish out of where they should be :-).
Saturday, October 14 - Fished with Dave Schulz. Weather was fair, but winds were gusty in the afternoon out of the SW. Low 62°F. High 90°F.
River traffic was busy today. Generation release was about 3,800 CFS through the night but no bump in release after daybreak. Water temperature was 60-65°F.
Morning hopper bite was slow again. Dave caught a fish or two on a Scott’s hopper. Dave’s a good fly tyer, and streamer fishing with his own dark brown small streamer pattern was good. Deep nymphing through the deep eddies was good with the beadhead Zugbug on the bottom again. Dave found one great brown trout on his streamer pattern.
Ready for cooler weather again!
Monday, October 13 - Mario Cassini and Dan Hillerich. Weather was fair. Low 58°F. High 88°F. The wind started turning variable about 2:00 p.m. and became gusty for a while.
The Corps bounced the water around overnight with flows ranging from 3,200 to 5,200 CFS. With the up and down weather and generation pattern, fishing conditions were not ideal today.
Hopper fishing a bust in the morning. But both Mario and Dan caught some fish on a beadhead zug bug in mid-day sun in about 8 feet of water through the deeper, slower pools.
We switched to streamers in the afternoon in shallower water and as things began to warm up and with the faster currents, we did OK. Mario and Dan caught fish all along, but there was not a reliable pattern or technique.
Good day on the river.
Monday, October 11 - Jason Lariz and his father Mondy fished with me for the first time on the White. Weather was overcast early. Low 47°F. High 59°F.
The Corps ran about 7,000-8,000 CFS from about 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. the previous evening with about 3,500 CFS overnight. Water temperature 60-64°F.
Hopper fishing turned a lot of fish. Hook-ups were hard. Streamer fishing with rubber legs was great. Jason and Mondy both caught a great brown. Jason’s was on a small streamer and Mondy’s was on the hopper.
Jason and his brown on the streamer
Mondy and his brown on the hopper
A comfortable, cooler fall day on the river with good fishing and good camaraderie.
Monday, October 9, Columbus Day - Fished with Mike and Zachary Meyer. Fog was thick on the river this morning. Rim Shoals was chilly with 52°F. High was 89°F.
The Corps ran 3,000 CFS through the night with about 8,000 CFS running from 2:00 p.m. onward into the evening. Water temperature was 64°F below Ranchette in the afternoon.
Mike found a nice brown early on a hopper and several other rainbows. Nymphing was slow during the short while we tried it. I switched rods up for Zach which helped with his casting and then rigged him up with a small streamer with rubber legs, and he started catching a bunch of fish. Mike soon wanted the same rig. Fished it the rest of the day.
Great day. Everyone was tired out. Saw some adult eagles and one immature one.
Friday, October 6 - Fished with Gary Renegar and his grandson Kyle. Weather was fair. Low 65°F. High 84°F.
The Corps ran about 11,000 CFS again over night with four units running. Water temperature was 62°F below the mouth of the Buffalo mid-afternoon.
Hopper bite was good early. In the afternoon fishing turned tough after a few bites on hoppers. Streamer fishing was still lackluster. Kyle caught 10-12 fish. It was a good teaching trip for Kyle as he has lately picked up the fly-fishing obsession.
There was a beautiful sunrise on the way over this morning.
Friday, September 29 - Mitchell and Roy Lloyd returned to fish. Weather was very nice with fair conditions. Clear. Low 52°F. High 81°F.
We had the lowest water levels we’ve seen yet with 3,000 CFS running from Bull Shoals powerhouse through the night. Heavier generation stepped up at 11:00 a.m. with an afternoon peak of about 10,000 CFS. There are healthy stands of moss extending out from the banks. Water temperature was 60°F.
Rim Shoals with lower water levels and moss extending into the river
We started at 10:00 a.m. and fished until about 3:30 p.m. Hopper fishing was slower than we’ve seen, but we caught some trout on the hopper patterns and rolled about five really good fish, two of which we hooked up and played until they came off. Streamer fishing was lackluster. Nymphing was very good.
Roy plays a good trout on a bamboo fly-rod.
We had a pleasant day on the water with gentleman fishing hours and saw several deer on the river banks and a couple of bald eagles.
Saturday, September 23 - Randall Boyd returned to fish and brought his friend Dave Upton. Weather was Fair. Low 67°F. High 92°F. Repeat of the same past two days.
Generation continued right at 12,000 CFS. About a foot-and-a-half lower than earlier in the week. This helped the hopper bite.
Randall and Dave both caught some great fish on the hopper. Much more committed takes on the dry today. Streamer fishing took a backseat. We boated about thirty fish, and both anglers did a great job keeping the fish in the water during the release as much as possible. We did get a good photo of one brown.
Traffic was heavier, but with the high water, it didn’t affect the bite too much.
Dave and another great brown trout on a hopper
Norfork Tailwater - (Click image for real time data. Click here for explanation.)
Norfork Dam has two generating units. Normal flows can range daily from 20 CFS at low water to 7,200 CFS at full discharge. The current flow status of Norfork Tailwater can be obtained by calling (870) 431-5311.
2017 Low Dissolved Oxygen Season:
15 Jun - Norfork appears to be under 5 ppm, block open vents.
26 Sep - Norfork RMG rate now 15MW per unit, 38% nameplate due to concerns about pressure pulsing in units that may cause damage.
31 Oct - Norfork RMG rate now 20 Mw per unit, or 50% nameplate.
Greers Ferry Tailwater (Little Red River) - (Click image for realtime data. Click here for explanation.)
Greers Ferry Dam has two generating units. Normal flows can range daily from 20 CFS at low water to 7,900 CFS at full discharge. The current flow status of Greers Ferry Tailwater can be obtained by calling (417) 336-5083 or (501) 362-5150.
2017 Low Dissolved Oxygen Season:
24 Jul - Greers Ferry tailwater D.O. drops below 6 ppm over previous weekend. Sent word to dam to block open vents. Previous earliest opening of vents was 01 Aug 2011.
Quick Water Links
Water Resource Information for White River Tailwaters and Related Streams
See the "Links" button on the menu at the top for my complete links listing.
SWPA posts estimated power generation schedules for Beaver, Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Norfork, and Greers Ferry dams.
This is the USACE mirror site for stream flow and lake level data. For Arkansas data, choose "Little Rock District," and then "White River Basin." It is often available when the district website is down.
These USGS hydrographs gives flow and stage levels of the White River at Calico Rock (sixty-two miles below Bull Shoals dam).