Lake levels are back to normal finally. Hopper season continues. The rest of October will be a great time to fish! Have you booked your fall fishing trip yet?
We are not in the extreme drought condition the West finds itself, but all of the Ozarks are abnormally dry. This, after a spring with heavy rains. A good number of county burn bans are in place.
Boat ramps below the dams continue to be very slick and dangerous from algae and slime. Please be cautious.
Ozark Fly Flinger
Fishing Reports and Water Conditions
For Saturday, October 21, 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 10/10/2017
Weather - Beautiful fall weather is forecast through Saturday. Enjoy!
Low Dissolved Oxygen - Low DO season started the end of June this summer. October and November will be critically low. 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 on them by playing them in faster and releasing them quickly.
Generation - Lake levels have finally reach normal again after a summer of high water. Look for changes in generation patterns with some low water opportunities. Generation will begin to occur early in the morning on chilly days.
General Hatch Info - We had our first day of hopper fishing July 20, and fishing hoppers has been very productive. Expect a lot of baitfish produced from the prolonged high water this summer, so small streamer fishing will be great this fall.
Flies to Try - Hoppers. 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 will be the rule at lower water levels.
Beaver Tailwater - Beaver powerhouse draw down is complete and full time generation has ceased. Be careful on the slick rocks.
Table Rock Tailwater - Light generation has returned with afternoon releases.
Bull Shoals Tailwater - Starting to see some curtailed generation over night from the powerhouse. Be very careful. Rocks are slick, currents strong in places, and new snags and sweepers to watch for.
Norfork Tailwater - Low water opportunities have returned. Be careful.
Greers Ferry Tailwater - The powerhouse is releasing late in the afternoon but watch for early morning releases on chilly mornings.
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.
Thursday, September 14 - Scott Hughes and his father fished with me today. Weather was fair and nice. Air was 59°F this morning. Water temperature has been around 55°F.
Generation came on a little earlier this morning and just as we started nymph fishing about 8:00 a.m. We floated to Houseman. Fishing was best around mid-morning until about 12:30 p.m. Both anglers caught fish on streamers.
There is some terribly slick algae below the dam, which is almost black, covering everything below the high water mark. Be very careful araound it, especially on the boat ramp.
Scott and a good fighting rainbow.
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.
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.
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 flyrod.
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
Friday, September 22 - First day of Fall. Fished with George Rankin a second day. Weather was a repeat but slight cooler in the morning. Fair. Low 68°F. High 92°F. Not much fog either day. Generation releases continued to be around 13,000 CFS overnight but were reduced to 12,000 CFS this morning around 10:00 a.m.
Good hopper fishing in the morning hours. George caught another good, explosive brown on the hopper pattern. He also hooked up with one big fish around some moss beds and did a great job getting it out from under one bed and keeping the fish in the clear, narrow channel between beds, until the trout decided it had enough and rubbed the hook out on the bottom. Streamer fishing was so-so. Water temperature downriver of the Buffalo was 62°F in the early afternoon, and the bite suffered there.
Traffic was relatively light both days. Great first day of fall fishing.
Thursday, September 21 - George Rankin returned to fish. Weather was fair. Low 71°F. High 93°F. Generation was a little less and a constant 13,000 CFS since noon the day before. Water temperature was about 59°F.
George caught a great brown on a hopper right out of the gate. Rest of the day was less noteworthy with smaller fish. Bite was off today. I think the water still had the fish thrown off from the conduit release on Tuesday.
Monday, September 18 - Mark Spota and his father Joe fished with me for the first time. Weather was pleasantly overcast for much of the morning. Low 64°F. High 81°F.
We had excellent hopper fishing for browns. Best all day hopper fishing I've had this year.
Joe and a brown
Mark and a brown
Two units were taken off-line for maintenance today, and the Corps opened a conduit to help add flow. We never saw any change downriver, although the bit quit about 2:00 p.m. It added some much need O2 to the releases, but there were problems with it, and the Corps closed it by the end of the day. Look for them to continue the six units around-the-clock until the lake is brought down to normal next week.
Tuesday, September 12 - Fished with Dave Keene and Sean Maloney again. Weather was fair. Low 58°F. High 75°F. Not as warm today. Flows were reduced a bit this morning from yesterday making better conditions.
We floated and fished in the morning hours as Sean had to make a flight. Fished hoppers the whole way. Had some nice fish hooked up and many boated. Sean caught a beauty of a brown while ducking to float under an overhanging tree! The brown exploded on it just as the fly floated under the overhang. It was a great take and a fat brown.
Irish eyes were smiling.
Monday, September 11 - Anniversary of 9/11. David Keene returned to fish and brought along his friend Sean Maloney. Weather was fair. Low 52°F. High 82°F.
Nice day. Water temperature 58°F. High water with all eight units running. Water was up to the bottom of the handicap platform at Rim Shoals when we started. Hopper bite was OK in the morning. Dave and Sean caught several browns. We also caught a few fish on streamers.
Sean and a good hopper caught brown trout
Fishing has been slowing in the afternoons. Saw a pair of bald eagles.
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.
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.
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).