Hopper season is beginning!
Ozark Fly Flinger
Fishing Reports and Water Conditions
For Thursday, July 27, 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 Updated 7/20/17
Weather - Hot weather expected through the weekend.
Generation - Overall, we are seeing heavier generation this week.
General Hatch Info - We had our first day of hopper fishing July 20. Expect a lot of baitfish produced from the prolonged high water this summer.
Flies to Try - Nymph fishing is good with lower flows. The usual pheasant tail nymphs, hare's ears, Prince nymphs, and zebra midges are always good to try. Streamer fishing with bigger tackle is required on most tailwaters during high water releases.
Beaver Tailwater - Beaver powerhouse is seeing afternoon releases of about 3,800 CFS. The tailwater stage during non-generation times is now under 920, so wade fishing opportunities will start to be practical as Table Rock Lake level drops down around 917. Flood pool is forecast to be empty September 21.
Table Rock Tailwater - Releases are starting to look like some peak generation summertime patterns with some cutbacks at night. Releases have varied from shutdown to 12,000 CFS. Flood pool is forecast to be empty August 14.
Bull Shoals Tailwater - The Corps generation graphs have been offline. The powerhouse now has all eight units back online, so look for heavier releases in the afternoon and evening. Cutbacks overnight have varied. Flood pool is forecast to be empty October 14.
Norfork Tailwater - Generation has been been more prolonged with onyl a brief shutdown overnight. Releases have consistently been around 5,500 CFS. Flood pool is forecast to be empty October 14.
Greers Ferry Tailwater - The powerhouse is releasing about 6,100 CFS starting around noon and running until just before midnight. Releases have varied a bit the past few days. The flood pool is forecast to be empty July 28.
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.
Saturday, June 24 - Randy Cole fished with me again. The tailwater elevation has come down enough now to hold pretty good fishing from a boat. We had slightly cooler weather after a front had past the day before. Barometer was rapidly climbing, and fish were on the bottom. Nymphing was good and takes were very subtle. Randy did an excellent job picking up on the gentle takes which usually was preceded by a slight stutter of the indicator. He caught all rainbows and they were all decent chunky trout.
No signs of striper or hybrids. Water came on at 2:00 p.m. but only rose the river stage about 1.5 feet. Good level for streamer fishing, but we didn’t turn a fish throwing tight into bank structure. The tailwater will start to become much more fishable over the next few weeks.
It was a casual day on the tailwater and all the boaters were in sync with the slower pace. AGFC was also out patrolling which always helps.
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 & Saturday, July 14 & 15 - Tim Whitehead and son Kris fished with me. It was their first time to fish the White River. We started early both days.
Friday. Heat index has been around 100°F this week with humidity levels around 100 percent. It was mostly sunny and temps ranged from Low 72°F. High 87°F.
The Corps has been running pretty full in the afternoons, generation has come on-line earlier and earlier this week. Flows from the dam begin to peak between noon and 2:00 p.m. for the rest of the afternoon.
Tim and Kris streamer fished. They caught a good number of rainbows plus a couple of small browns. Little traffic on the river today.
Tim and a rainbow
Saturday. Fished with Tim and Kris again. It was foggy this morning early and humidity was 100%. Low 70°F. High 89°F.
Generation ran more through the night, and peak was less in the afternoon. We had good water all day. We floated farther downriver and took a chance that the water temperature would be OK. It was 59°F before lunch. Late afternoon, it had risen to 64°F. Fish started shutting down around 1:00 p.m. But we were done by 3:00 p.m. anyway. There was a lot more traffic today.
Streamer fishing was good enough we stuck with it all day, and Tim and Kris found some larger browns today. Tim briefly hooked up with a smallmouth.
Kris and a brown
Kris and a bobcat
Early, we saw a bobcat on the bank in the mist. It was camouflaged in the grass in a flat spot below a cane break. Undoubtedly, waiting for prey—perhaps a mink to run along the bank unaware. We anchored up and watched it for five minutes before it moved off into the river cane where two birds lit on the top of the cane and began sounding an alarm.
Very memorable two days of summer fishing. We saw eagles, mink, beaver, deer and the bobcat.
Monday, July 3 - Dan Leis and David LeSieur returned to fish. Weather was nice as overnight storms preceded us getting on the water. Skies were overcast in the morning, and this kept things cool, but gave way to mostly sunny skies by afternoon. Temperatures ranged from about 68-84°F. Barometer held steady all day. Flows were about 9,000 CFS. Water was clear and cold.
Dan and David did well early with a tungsten beadhead nymph on about 6 feet of leader under the indicator. We streamer fished after lunch and kept the action going. We caught browns and rainbows. Browns were eager to come after a streamer in the afternoon.
Dan and a good brown trout on a nymph.
David and a good brown trout on a streamer.
Overall, it’s still challenging fishing with the higher water this summer, but flows have been moderate and we’ve been doing fine with nymph and streamer fishing. Any break in the generation levels make for excellent fishing. Looking forward to some hopper action in August and September.
Tuesday, June 20 - Fishing with Mark and Paula Henley and their friends Hal and Pat. Mark brought his boat also. Pat and Paula fished with me. Weather was fair. Low 59°F. High 88°F. Humid. The Corps has been running about 6,500 CFS overnight and starting to increase generation to 12,000 CFS for the afternoon hours. Water temp was 58°F at Rim Shoals.
Paula and Pat caught only one rainbow today. Most of their fish were browns. Nymphing with soft hackles was good in the morning hours. Fishing was slower in the afternoon on streamers.
Paula found one really fine brown trout on the soft hackle.
Saturday, June 17 - Alan Crockett and Reggie Jacobs returned to fish. We floated from Rim Shoals to Buffalo City. Learned that Shipps Ferry access was closed while AGFC paves the road from the railroad track to the ramp and reworks the parking area. Weather was fair. Low 66°F. High 84°F.
Generation last night peaked about 14,250 CFS. It was reduced to about 7,000 CFS by 2:00 a.m. Generation has been increasing by about 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. again for the day. Water temp 58°F in the afternoon. Water looks good in the morning when cutback occurs at night to 2 or 3 units, so water is looking better and nymph fishing is best then.
Alan and Reggie did well nymph fishing in the morning until about 10:30 a.m., and this accounted for most of our boated fish. Reggie threw big streamers in the afternoon and we had numerous brown follow and play tag with it. Reggie boated a fine brown.
Reggie and his brown trout
Thursday, June 8 - Tony Crowsey fish with me. It was a day of firsts as it was the first time he has fly-fished. Weather was perfect. Fair. Low 54°F. High 78°F.
The flows were kinder to us today as the Corps had closed spillway gates Tuesday and reduced generation by a couple of thousand CFS as well. Releases were about 12,600 CFS. Water temperature 54°F. There are some changes to the river from the heavy releases the past few weeks.
Fishing was slow in the morning, as expected the day before a full moon. Best fishing was in the early afternoon as we got down to around Buffalo City. Fish turned on and chased Tony’s streamer. We had a lot of tags and Tony caught some of those fish. They were quick to hit and let go, But Tony figured it out and boated some nice ones.
Tony fished hard and was rewarded with some good memories.
Rainbow trout ...
... and some browns trout today
There was a beautiful scene just before sunrise east on Hwy 412 this morning. The fog was layered in the valley. The sky was turquoise with orange hues and red in the clouds above. We saw two eagles, a few mink, and a fawn on the gravel bar just below Crooked Creek. Awesome spring day of fly-fishing and a great introduction to fly-fishing the White River for Tony.
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.
Wednesday, June 21 - First Day of Summer. Mark Henley and his friend Hal fished with me again on Norfork tailwater. We had fair weather.
We arrived about 7:30. Generation with both units was just coming on and wade fishermen leaving. We floated the tailwater twice.
Water was pretty stained. Fishing was lackluster. We caught nothing on nymphs. Streamer fishing was tough also but gained us a few good fish for each angler.
We helped out one of a party of four kayakers in the morning, three others of which had overturned in the haystacks below Ace in the Hole. Fortunately, it turned out OK. but pretty scary for them. The WhoYaks also came through and gave two of them a lift. Great work, gals.
Friday, June 2 - Dale Deuvall returned to fish with me and brought along his friend David Lange. It was foggy in the morning, and I had hoped we would be on the water to fish it, but it lifted as we were beginning our float and the river was more crowded today. Another comfortable day weather-wise.
Releases from the dam continue at 5,400 CFS. Water was a little murky.
Dale and David streamer fished the whole time. The bite was "On" this morning, and we caught most of our fish then. It slowed in the afternoon. Dale boated a fine cutthroat and a good rainbow. David had a good bow also.
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).