Hopper season is underway through September. Hopefully, it will extend into October, as it has the past few years. Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes should be back to normal by the end of September. October will be a great time to fish.
As of 9/20, updated fishing reports follow below.
Ozark Fly Flinger
Fishing Reports and Water Conditions
For Sunday, September 24, 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 9/8/2017
Weather - Perfect weather this week. Enjoy!
Low Dissolved Oxygen - Execpt for Greers Ferry Dam, all the tailwaters are running below the state minimum of 5.0 ppm for DO. Low DO season started in early June. Readings have been lower this summer and corrective measures have been taken at all the powerhouses. Vents were opened at Norfork dam June 15, the siphon has been running 24/7, and maximum generation loads are in place to help on its tailwater. October and November may be critically low this year. 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 - Normal peak power generation has been running in the afternoons at Table Rock, and Greers Ferry powerhouses. Beaver, Bull Shoals and Norfork have been releasing on more of a continuous basis. Look for a big push by the Corps to get all the flood pools empty.
General Hatch Info - We had our first day of hopper fishing July 20, and fishing hoppers is well underway. Expect a lot of baitfish produced from the prolonged high water this summer.
Flies to Try - Hoppers when the fish are looking up! 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 running more water. It has the highest lake level of the five and since Table Rock is at normal now, the Corps has a window to lower Beaver more. Look for generation with to start between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. Releases have been about 3,800 CFS. The Corps expects to have Beaver empty by Oct 12, barring any huge rains. It usually starts running full around-the-clock about 10 days to two weeks before the forecast date. So wade fishers below Beaver are likely to be shut out until then.
Table Rock Tailwater - We've seen light generation recently.
Bull Shoals Tailwater - The Corps generation graphs are still offline. The powerhouse has been releasing about six units for much of the day the past several days with brief cutbacks at night. Flood pool is forecast to be empty October 7.
Norfork Tailwater - Generation has been around-the-clock since August 30th. Releases have consistently been around 3,800 CFS. Flood pool is forecast to be empty October 7.
Greers Ferry Tailwater - The powerhouse is releasing late in the afternoon briefly. The flood pool is empty.
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, 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.
Scott and a good fighting rainbow
There is some terribly slick algae below the dam which is almost black, covering everthing below the high water mark. Be very careful walking on it, especially on the boat ramp.
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.
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 bite quit about 2:00 p.m. The conduit flow added some much needed O2 to the releases below the dam, but there were technical problems with it, and the Corps closed it by the end of the day. Look for continued six units to run 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.
Saturday, August 26 - Ray Smith brought his friend John Bain. Weather fair. Low 65°F. High 76°F. Cooler and very nice today.
Corps had reduced generation overall a little bit Friday and overnight by 3 or 4 tenths of a foot, but basically the same.
Ray and John both caught some browns, rainbows and cutthroat. Hopper fishing was lackluster this morning. The bite was the slowest all week. We did a longer float and had some takes on it in the afternoon, however.
Water started coming in on us again by lunch and was stained. We pulled over and ate lunch. By the time we were done, the water started to clear and the fish came back on. By mid-afternoon water was much higher however, and we threw some large streamers for a while. Ray had one big brown eat it, but it came off in the battle. It was an impressive fish, and I hear a call for a re-match.
A great day with two good friends and some fellowship in Christ.
Friday, August 25 - Ray Smith and David Parrish returned to fish. Weather was again fair. Low 59°F. High 83°F. Humid and east wind again today.
The Corps resumed cutting back to the previous pattern dropping water level about a foot-and-a-half overnight. Water temperature was 58°F.
Hopper fishing was little lackluster this morning. But Ray and David managed a couple of browns and rainbows on hoppers. They also missed some subtle takes. Ray landed one quality brown. We switched to streamers mid-morning and found some more rainbows and a couple of cutthroats. Water came in about 12:30 and stained things up. Put the fish down. We called it a half-day and headed in to the ramp.
Ray and first good morning brown on the hopper
Another with bold spots
Cutthroat on the streamer
David with a cutthroat also
Thursday, August 24 - Gary and Glenda Davis returned to fish. Weather was fair but humid. Low 57°F. High 81°F. East wind.
Flows were only cut back about a foot last night. But water was in good shape. We did fish below the Buffalo River in the afternoon. Flows from the Buffalo had been up to about 1,500 CFS from recent rains. Water temperature below the Buffalo on river right was 64°F. On left bank 60°F. We fished the left bank for obvious reasons.
We had good hopper fishing until noon. Nobody can beat Glenda on the trigger, hook setting a hopper! She had some aggressive takes too. Several browns.
Glenda and her nicest brown trout
A brown on what else but a Scott’s hopper
Besides the usual rainbows, Gary boated a nice brown, cutthroat, and smallmouth in the afternoon on streamers. A really good day of August fly-fishing.
Gary and a brown
Wednesday, August 23 - Fishing with Don Westheimer again. It was overcast this morning with a NE wind. Low 65°F before midnight. High 82°F.
The Corps did not cut back as much last night.
Don turned some nice browns on hoppers and streamers. We boated about half of them. One big brown took it in the afternoon, and Don missed hookups on the next three fish. When we looked at the hook, the hook point was bent inward towards the shank! Otherwise, we had good hopper fishing on the bank in the afternoon. It was the first good day of afternoon hopper fishing this season.
Tuesday, August 22 - Don Westheimer fished with me for the first time. We had a cold front that caused some thunderstorms to the north. They washed out as they got on top of us, and we only saw some sprinkles. We had fair weather. Low 70°F. High 83°F.
The Corps has been bumping up releases at noon and cutting back around midnight. River stage level is only about a foot-and-a-half difference over 54 hours. Water temp was 58°F in the morning.
Don caught Three decent browns. Two on hoppers, one on streamer. First brown was a great fish on a hopper! Good number of stocked rainbows as well.
Don caught several nice browns on the hopper
Early, we saw five nice bucks on the river bank, an eagle, and a great egret. We both wondered what fishing would have been like during the solar eclipse yesterday.
The partial solar eclipse at maximum coverage about 1:06 p.m. Monday. Image taken at my house on white paper using binoculars. It was dark enough to set off nighttime sensors across northern Arkansas.
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).