Hopper season is underway through September. Currently, we are seeing some fantastic August weather with below normal temperautres. Little traffic on the river right now. Good time to fish before Labor Day.
Ozark Fly Flinger
Fishing Reports and Water Conditions
For Wednesday, August 16, 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 8/10/2017
Weather - We've had nice weather the past week. Thunderstorms with heavy rain potential expected through Monday. Chances of thundstorms continue then into the middle of next week. However, temperatures will remain below normal for this time of year.
Generation - Normal peak power generation has been running in the afternoons at Beaver, Table Rock, and Greers Ferry powerhouses. Bull Shoals and Norfork have been releasing on more of a contiuous basis. Table Rock and Norfork releases have not been in any particular pattern. Look for changes into next week as some heavy rain is expected especially for northwest Arkansas.
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 917, so wade fishing opportunities are back. Flood pool for the reservoir is forecast to be empty September 25.
Table Rock Tailwater - Releases are starting to look like some peak generation summertime patterns with some cutbacks at night. Flood pool is empty.
Bull Shoals Tailwater - Some of the Corps generation graphs are back online but CFS is still off. 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 21.
Norfork Tailwater - Generation has been been more prolonged with only a brief shutdown overnight. Releases have consistently been around 5,500 CFS. Flood pool is forecast to be empty October 21.
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 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.
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, July 24 - Randy Cole returned to fish. We had fair, hot weather. Low 72°F. High 97°F.
The Corps bumped water up at 6:00 a.m. This reached us by noon and brought in a little trash which put the fish off.
Randy caught his first trout on a hopper and got some tune up casting and presentation for an upcoming trip out west. We were on the water by 8:15 a.m. and fished hoppers until about 9:30 a.m. with good results. He also caught fish on nymphs. Streamers produced nothing. Fish shut down by 11:00 a.m. We took lunch around 11:30 a.m. and the fish never came back on. Boy, was it hot. Water temperature was 59-61°F. Fish were not moving off the bottom, even in the fast water. Barometer rose slightly.
A good overall day for this time of year.
Thursday & Friday, July 20 & 21 - Paul Shinsky returned to fish on two of the hottest days so far this summer. We knew it would be tough with fleeting opportunities as the foggy cool faded and the sun intensified.
Heat advisories were out. We had fair weather with lows around 74°F and highs in the upper 90s. We were on the water early and off by noon Thursday and by 2:00 p.m. or so Friday. We were glad to be done early Thursday with the high humidity and no breeze. Overnight both days, the Corps ran heavy with 7 units until 8:00 p.m. and then cut back to 2 units until 11:00 a.m. the next morning. Morning water temperature has been around 57°F and rises into the low 60s by early afternoon. Heat index Friday morning was 82°F at 2:53 a.m.
Thursday, Paul boated one brown right out of the chute and saw another larger fish come out and take two passes at his streamer. He caught several rainbows on downriver. We cut over to the far shore and started fishing hoppers in the cool fog. Paul boated several brown, a fine spotted cutthroat, and rainbow before the dry fly bite ended with the sun climbing higher. Switching to nymphs, he caught his best rainbow along the deep mossy edge near a bank. We switched to a #10 olive beadhead woolly bugger and did well on down to the take out.
We saw a young red fox on the bank in the fog and two large flocks of geese hanging out nearby. A little later, we saw a raccoon successfully fishing for crayfish along the bank. Several wood duck.
Friday, hopper fishing was good again early. Streamer fishing fair. The mood of the day changed when Paul picked up his hopper to recast and immediately saw through the glare what had been a big brown slipping up under the hopper to eat it—a real heart-breaker moment.
TIP: The heat will dry a fish’s gills out quickly if kept out of the water even for a brief time. Once the sun gets up, keep those fish in the water in a net while unhooking them in order to reduce stress and make a successful release. Also, never squeeze the forward belly of the fish behind its pectoral fins while holding for a photo. That’s where its heart is located, and it’s trying to beat to recover oxygen after a hard fight. For a quick photo, let it rest on your open palm and over the net.
First brown of the day and first hopper caught fish of 2017
Fine spotted cutthroat on my Scott’s Hopper
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.
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).