Heavy Rains and Great Fishing

As I sit here typing, rivers and reservoirs in the ozark are cresting and receding after what some people are saying are historic floods for some parts of southern Missouri and North Central Arkansas. My phone has been buzzing like crazy the past few days with concerned clients, friends, and family members wondering if the fishery and the fishing is going to survive this crazy event. The answer: Yes. Everything isn't going to be just alright, it's going to be phenomenal! Every time we receive a flood event, people run around screaming like smashed cats about how we are all screwed, and this just simply isn't the case. This river is teeming with some of the best fly fishing guides in the country, and we are all well versed in the high water game. If there ever were a time to book a guide to learn something new, this is it.

Beaver, Table Rock, and Norfork Dams currently have their flood gates open, but each one of them is reducing their releases daily, as the incoming flows into each of these reservoirs is shrinking. Bull Shoals Dam is still running water under the same conditions they were before the floods, actually a little less in order to let the downstream flooding near Calico Rock and Newport recede. At this time, Bull Shoals has 15 feet left until it hits the top of the flood pool. The key  thing to remember, is that the top 15 feet of this flood pool is much larger in volume than the bottom 15 feet due to the shape of the lake, so it will take longer to fill up. Yes, we will see increased generation from Bull, and quite possibly some flood gate releases. These conditions are ideal for all kinds of crazy fishing phenomenons such as awesome shad kill fishing, outrageous hopper fishing, and streamers galore. There will be a style of fishing for every skill of angler, beginner to advanced. 

I went out yesterday evening with my buddy Jonathan to check out the river and fish a little bit. The wind was howling, but we still managed a handful of fish with a couple solid browns in the mix. 

Jonathan with a better one

Jonathan with a better one

a pudgy specimen

a pudgy specimen

Today, I had one of my regulars out, Whitley. The bite was solid all day, and he caught several nice browns, including his best one to date!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, as always! 

If you aren't on the books for this summer, I would highly recommend getting on them as soon as possible. The fishing is about to get very good, and you don't want to miss this fun and exciting way to fish the our rivers!

Early Spring

It's been a crazy and busy winter (if you dare call it that), with spring like weather practically everyday. It has been common for the last month to see day time high temperatures in the high 60's and low 70's, with one day this past week hitting 82! All this being said as I watch snow fall from the sky. I guess that's Ozark weather for ya. With a mostly low water winter, we have had to work a little harder to get the streamer eaters fired up, but have managed to land plenty of trophy trout despite the drought conditions. With the high demand of streamer fishing dates from the months of January through early March, if you are interested in learning the streamer tactics, or just want to try your hand at some of the best brown trout fishing in the world, please get with me soon. These dates are already booking for 2018, and I expect most of the prime dates for next year to already be booked at the end of this month. With that being said, here are a few photos that tell a little about this past winter.

 

Ryan Turner with a solid fish that crushed his fly after a perfect cast and retrieve. Love it when it happens the right way!

Ryan Turner with a solid fish that crushed his fly after a perfect cast and retrieve. Love it when it happens the right way!

Bill and a beautifully colored up bruiser!

Bill and a beautifully colored up bruiser!

the release.

the release.

Obviously, these are only a few photos from this past year. If you are on Facebook or Instagram, follow North Arkansas Troutfitters for up to date photos and reports for more!

 

As far as spring fishing goes, the caddis are already starting to work their way up the river in record time, with great numbers of fish, rainbows, browns, cutthroat, and brookies, all included. If you haven't had a chance to get on the calendar for this spring, give me a shout! Several of my fellow guides still have dates available that I would love to get you set up with. 

Here are a few more pics to get you thinking about fishing...

 

the Buzzman himself with a solid specimen (not the big one, though) haha...

the Buzzman himself with a solid specimen (not the big one, though) haha...

A Little Recap...

After returning from an incredible trip to the Louisiana marsh with some great buddies and fellow guides, I thought I would share a little bit about our trip, as well as some of my favorite pictures.

When we arrived for our week stay, several of the other guys had already been there the week before us. When I say they had "been there," I mean exactly that. Bad weather had them cooped up in the cabin, itching to get out and get at some reds. We were able to get out the first day with some sunlight and low(ish) winds. Everyone caught fish, and had a ton of fun. The next few days were spent with bad weather, so we did a little driving and scouting, and came up with a plan. Our last three days were blessed with low winds and no clouds, and we got on 'em. On the last day, we had one of the most incredible days of redfishing I have every experienced, and landed my personal best bull, 31 pounds on the boga! 

Huge thanks to my good buddy Chad Johnson for inviting me along. I can't wait for next year!

Check out the gallery below!

fishing report summer/fall

It's that time of year again folks. Cool, crisp mornings, leaves are starting to turn, and the browns are starting to think about doing their dance. Before I get into the fishing, I just want to remind everyone to be careful where they are wading and boating. "Redds," or spawning beds, are pretty obvious spots in the river. Light circular patches at the top of shoals indicate a redd, where browns go to spawn. Please don't walk through them, and don't be another mouth breather that stands there tirelessly trying to "catch" a trout off of them. Let em' do their thing, you know you don't like to be interrupted. 

Now, off to the fishing. The bite has been very good this summer through the fall. Funky water flows have put a bit of a damper in the hopper bite, but big browns were still being caught on foam dries if you knew where to put them. Streamer fishing in the high water has been successful with the right anglers who are willing to put in the time and work to reap the benefits. It's been a summer full of double nymph rigs, midges reigning supreme, as they should on a tailwater loaded with them. Check out some of the photos from recent trips, and give me a shout if you have any questions!

Jack with a bruiser brown on a streamer in high water flows

Jack with a trophy Norfork rainbow

Pat Chase with a bruiser brown from the Fork

With such a crazy, busy fall, my boat for October has filled up, but I can still outfit you with one of the incredible guides that I am fortunate to work with. Just give me a call and let me try to fit you in! November dates are nearly booked, so if you're thinking about fishing next month, get in soon. Prime dates are almost gone!

northarkansastroutfitters@yahoo.com

(870) 421-8960

Podcast with Itinerant Angler

I recently sat in on a podcast with Zach Matthews who runs the Itinerant Angler blog and podcast. We talked a lot about the big fish that were boated this past winter, and the future of our streamer fishing program and season. Hope you enjoy!

 

Click play below to listen to the podcast. It is about 26 minutes long, so kick back and enjoy!

Fishing Report 4/5/2016

Drew and Katie came over to fish for a day, along with their furry sidekick Murphy. They caught a ton of fish, with 6 Browns at or over 20"! Even sweeter, Katie finally broke her 20" mark, not just once but twice!  

Theyre still bouncing the water flows around, sometimes unexpectedly, so we fished everything from streamers, to shad patterns, to midges!  

 

 

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Lower Flows for Spring

  As I type this, Bull Shoals Lake is hovering just beneath the top of the power pool, allowing for an ease of generation for the time being. Flows in the 3,000-5,000 cfs range have been showing their face again. If we don't receive any torrential downpours in the near future, this will certainly become a normal occurrence.

   Adjusting to the constantly changing variables on our rivers is of utmost importance, and it was the key to finding the many Browns that Steve caught today!  

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Even a big bow! 

Even a big bow! 

Dates for April are slim pickins', with a couple single dates still available. May and June are filling up fast, so if you are thinking about it, call me ASAP!  

 

Also, summer hopper dates are filling daily, so get with me if you are interested in arguably the best foam bug fishin' in the country!  

 

870-421-8960

northarkansastroutfitters@yahoo.com

3/19-3/21 Report

Mark and Lucian have fished me several times in the past, and this year Lucian brought several of his college buddies up for spring break to experience the Ozarks first hand. The new guys picked it up quick, and were into some solid browns in no time. The fishing has been very good lately, with the bite seemingly getting better every day!

 

Guide Kristopher Bouldin didn't waste any time, putting Lucho and E.J. On their first Browns with an epic double!

Guide Kristopher Bouldin didn't waste any time, putting Lucho and E.J. On their first Browns with an epic double!

Mark with a gorgeous specimen of a brown! 

Mark with a gorgeous specimen of a brown! 

Lucho with another solid brown on a super windy day

Lucho with another solid brown on a super windy day

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A huge thanks to Kristopher Bouldin and Jason Loyd for taking this fun group trip to the next level!  

Guides Day Off

Every once in a while, I get to actually go fishing. You may be thinking to yourself, "you fish every day, it's your job!" Guide days are spent rowing, untangling lines, and re rigging flies and leaders. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Even better than getting a day to fish on my own, is a day of fishing with my fellow guide buddies. We get the chance to bounce techniques off each other and pick each other's brains about ideas we have. With such a complex fishery and huge ecosystem, developing that kind of synergy is key to success on the water on a daily basis.  

Even more rare is a day on the water with three guides fishing in primo conditions for catching trophy browns. Tommy, Jason, and myself scored that day. When these rivers turn on, it can totally blow your mind. It was such a fun day, that I had to share a few photos.  And for the record, I got out fished...

Jason with a heavy 27.5" pig! 

Jason with a heavy 27.5" pig! 

The boys cheesin' with one of a couple two-footers  

The boys cheesin' with one of a couple two-footers  

Winter Streamer Extravaganza

If you’re a fly fisherman (or woman), you’ve probably seen an image of a leviathan brown trout floating around the interwebs the past couple of weeks. Yes, that brown trout was caught in my boat, hooked on a streamer. The measurements were 36.5” length by 24” girth. According to several different fish weight formulas, that puts this brown at nearly 28 pounds. This fish changes everything. For years, the fly fishing guides on this river assumed that the mega brown trout that inhabit these rivers simply don’t leave their lazy lies under docks, where they feed on leftover fish carcasses that are cleaned at various resorts and cabins. Furthermore, these monsters definitely wouldn’t chase a big streamer because they prefer the easy meal instead. Not so much.

Tom McGraw's 36.5" monster

Rewind a couple of seasons. I receive a phone call from my good buddy Chad Johnson. Chad and Alex Lafkas, a hotshot guide from Michigan have been experimenting with post spawn brown trout and putting in the major legwork of figuring out a rough time frame of when these big browns go on a huge post spawn feeding pattern. They have worked super hard to create a massive following in the past several years, and as their winter streamer fishing business grew, so did their need for an additional guide. I’m extremely fortunate that Chad thought of me as the guy for the job. Just being on the water the past couple of years with all of the streamer junkies that travel to Arkansas in search of their fish of a lifetime has educated me tremendously. I get to see first hand, day in and day out, how these fish react to all different conditions and presentations.  Without Chad and Alex putting their trust in me to add value to their streamer fishing program, I would probably never be writing a  post about this amazing fish and an incredible past few weeks.

Tommy Lynch with a 28" bruiser

 

Enter Tommy Lynch. This guy is a nut. He is a self-proclaimed trout weenie, with quite possibly the biggest passion for brown trout on streamers. You have heard of him from his famous Drunk and Disorderly fly pattern, which is one of the most original fly patterns to date, with so much intentional design built into the fly it is disgusting. Tommy brings the A team of streamer fishermen with him for several weeks of cast your arm off, big meat huckin’ fun. These guys get it. They know they have the chance of getting skunked any given day. Yeah, you may get 20 browns to chase, but having a tough hook up rate can get in anybody’s head. Tommy has trained these guys for the grind, and they come in with great attitudes and the skills to get the job done. Last year, during the same week in February, Tom McGraw was in my boat on the Norfork. We boated several fish, and had a monster brown eat his fly. The fight was ephemeral, with the fish shaking the hook in a few seconds. That fish would be engrained in Tom’s mind for an entire year. Fast forward to last Tuesday, the 16th. It’s the last day of a four day trip for the group that Tom was a part of. Somehow, he found his way into my boat for the second day in a row and we were both thinking of the same thing. That fish from a year ago. It was windy and partly cloudy, not exactly primo conditions for a day of casting 8” flies. The next hour will always be a reminder in my mind that an average day on the water can turn epic in just a few seconds. The first bite of the day comes, and Tom sets and yells “fish! A big one.” Then he follows it with, nevermind, its probably 20”. As there is nothing wrong with a 20” brown, we had caught numerous fish in that range the past several days, so it wasn’t as surprising as it normally would be. Suddenly, we both witness something I will never forget. A boil in the water that looked like Moby Dick itself had just sounded. I spring up from the rowers seat, grab my net, and extend the handle. In a matter of seconds, the biggest brown trout I have ever seen is hovering next to the boat looking us in the eyes. Before I can think of what to do I am scooping the fish and all hell breaks loose. In all seriousness, I think to myself, “this fish is going to break my net.” In probably 15 seconds, we had hooked and landed a three-foot plus trout on a fly rod. Good clean livin’, I tell ya.

Leo's 28.5" stud

With so many brown trout over 24” for the groups in the past several weeks, it’s hard to think its just random coincidence. If you’re not a believer by now, then there’s no saving you. Winter streamer fishing in Arkansas is a real thing, and it produces real results. Guides that know the river and are on the water day in and day out know where these big fish live. There is a group of guides that pride themselves in hard work, passion, and the knowledge to teach and motivate anglers to catch their fish of a lifetime. I’m lucky to be included in this group, and hope to add value and help it’s presence grow in the years to come. If you would like to get in on the action, contact any of us. We work together as a team. I didn’t start this program, and wish to give full credit where credit is due.


Call, text, or e-mail:


Brock Dixon (870) 421-8960               northarkansastroutfitters@yahoo.com

Chad Johnson (601) 668-5545            flyhead73@yahoo.com      

Alex Lafkas (989) 390-4023                 alex@alflyfishing.com

December Rain Report

Here's a little bit about what is going on around the White River System after the persistent rain we have received. 

"A release of 91,150 cubic feet per second is being made from Beaver, which is the second largest release of record. The lake level elevation is 1,131.6 feet with 116 percent of its flood capacity in use. The lake continues to rise and is expected to crest today near 1,132.5 feet. All seven spillway gates are open nine and one-half feet." (Army Corp)

"This morning ten spillway gates were opened four and one-half feet releasing 58,500 cubic feet per second in addition to the 8,500 c.f.s. being release through the turbine generators. The total release is 67,000 c.f.s. The lake is expected tourist tomorrow between 935 and 936 feet above sea level. Hourly inflows into the lake are currently 300,000 c.f.s." (Army Corps)

If we don't receive any more rain, the Corps says Bull Shoals Lake will crest at 686 feet by mid January, 9 feet below the top of the 695 foot flood pool. 

With flows exceeding 140,000 cfs below the confluence of the Norfork and the White at Calico Rock, much of the Norfork Tailwater is backed up with water from the lower White. This is, in part, due to the 25,000 cvs flows from Crooked Creek (which crested at 33.59 feet and has already dropped back to 25.85 feet), and 97,000 cfs flows from the Buffalo River (which crested at 45.52 feet and has dropped back to42.99 feet).

It looks like a high water winter and at least the early part of the spring season will have higher flows, depending on how much precipitation we receive in the next several months. Nevertheless, the fishery will grow stronger as it always does in high water periods, feeding the fish heavily, and also reducing a lot of fishing pressure. Just remember, high water is not a bad thing, only different and requires different techniques. If you are wanting to learn how to fly fish in high water conditions, nows the time to give us a call!

 

(870)-421-8960

 

Flood gate releases from Beaver Lake Dam- Brock Dixon

Big Day on the White

Brother and sister duo, Andy and Becky, have been fishing with me for quite a while, and they have had quite the banner year in the boat so far in 2015. Last week was another layer of icing on the cake.  

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Some cool things are happening on the river right now, so give me a shout if you want in on the action!  

 

Brock

 

(870)-421-8960

northarkansastroutfitters@yahoo.com

The New Rig

I picked up my first boat from Rob over at Supreme Boats in Mountain Home in October of 2013. I had been turned onto the rowable jet boat idea in Alaska, and noticed several guides were running them on the Arkansas Tailwaters. I wanted a piece of the action. Before this, I was guiding out of my drift boat and had no idea what the jet boat would do for my operation. I spent the next year working from my sparkly silver and red L48XP, and loved it the whole time. There were a few tweaks that I wanted done on my next boat (isn't that how it always works?), and the boys at Supreme were all ears. a Year later, they had a new jet specific mold in the works. They strayed away from the traditional "banana bottom" river jon style, and flattened the bottom out to accommodate a jet, and made a deeper tunnel to feed the pump better, along with other more specific tweaks. In the end, they built a boat that runs better than I could ever imagine. the 207XP. I am very excited about this boat. It runs, rows, and looks better than ever, and the build and craftsmanship cannot be matched. Not to mention, every measurement in the boat is completely custom and they went to great lengths to make sure it is exactly the way I wanted (and it is).

The Swap..

I'll reemphasize that the customer service from Rob Williams and the boys at Supreme is unmatched. I have loved running and working from this boat, and clients and liked the new dimensions and design as well. 

Shawnee & Supreme Boats
Physical Address: 6837 HWY 126 North * Midway AR, 72651
Mailing Address: PO Box 1220 * Mountain Home, AR 72654-1220
Phone: (870) 507-0902 
Fax: (870) 507-0903
 

Late Summer Fishing Report

It has been a very busy August and September, but fruitful to say the least. I can count on one hand the amount of times anything but a dry fly has been fished. So that's a plus. Nonetheless, the hopper bite has been solid this summer. It takes a little more willingness to chase the water, but with a the right sled, magic can happen. I have been doing quite a few later than usual trips when the projection from the Corps is to push water in the afternoon into the evening. This has paid off big time, as the browns really get on the banks and feed better when they get some water under their bellies. 

A fine dry run specimen, and one amped up fisherman!

On a side note, I have had the opportunity to take quite a few younguns to Dry Run Creek this summer. If you have any kids that are younger than 16 and they might like to give fly fishing a shot, you've got to get them here. It is full of high quality fish, like the one above, that can keep kids attention much better than their Xbox. 

Another quality  DRC brown.

Scott with a(nother) solid foam fed brown.

Scott with a(nother) solid foam fed brown.

Shortly thereafter...

Shortly thereafter...

Brian is also a dry fly addict.

Brian is also a dry fly addict.

His buddy Bill got a good taste of it too.

His buddy Bill got a good taste of it too.

It is hard to tell how much longer the big bug bite on top will last, but I can say it is my favorite time of the year, and I don't want it to go away. The fall is piling up, but I have a handful of days still scattered throughout October and a slightly larger handful available for November. 

Summer Time and the Livin's Easy

It seems like every time I make a new fishing report, I start with an apology for not writing one in a while.  So here ya go. I'm sorry. Glad that's out of the way.

Now for the report....

After an awesome late winter shad kill that continued for a while through early spring, the caddis took a minute to kick off, but when they did, it was outstanding. I didn't experience much incredible dry fly fishing (although it did happen)compared to years past, but with the cold water still being released from the winter we experienced, I feel like the fish were a little hesitant to hang out near the surface. Nevertheless, the sub surface bite was awesome. The browns munched the little caddis pupa like a fat guy eating a bowl of M&Ms. Every. Single. Day. This bite continued longer than most of us guides expected, slipping right in to a pretty fun sulphur hatch. By this hatch, the fish were definitely more interested in the surface bite, and several quality browns were picked off by clients on sulphur dries. 

Andy with an awesome 24 " shad kill brown

A solid caddis eating brown

24 incher on a caddis pupa

Big brown drooling after eating a caddis pupa

Andy with a solid hopper brown

Mr. Sam with an awesome brown on a sulphur dry

Hoppers... I've been hearing a lot of noise that folks are struggling on the hopper fishing so far this summer. It has seemed to start a little bit later, but things are looking up (including the fish). I would ramble on, but I can let the pictures speak for themselves. People ask me daily, "Brock, when is your favorite time to fish?" NOW. I love summer fishing. Sandals, dry flies, and big browns. It is straight up easy livin'. If you are curious, give me a shout!

Scott with a bruiser brown on a hopper

Scott with a solid hopper brown

They'll even eat a midge in the right spots...

The Longest Winter

If you haven't been outside in the past two months, then you may not have experienced the polar vortex that has taken the country over. We have felt it here, with numb hands, frozen rod guides, and icey boats, but that hasn't slowed the fishing down on the White and Norfork.

Conditions like this make it a huge possibility to land big fish like the one my great client, Andy, boated last week!

Watch closely and you might just see some fish caught on the surface... Enjoy!

Keep your eyes peeled for more videos, brought to you from Flight Outdoors and yours truly!

 

Winter Fishing Report 2/4/14

Yet again, I have to apologize for fewer fishing reports as I had promised. Good news, duck season 2013-2014 has come to an end and I can finally get some sleep back and get caught up! There has been some excellent winter fishing, despite the nasty weather we have experienced. Not only here, but across the country, there has been a lot of extremely cold weather and snow. With cold weather comes shad kills around here, though.

 

White River: The flows have been all over the place. During the work week, generation patterns have been much higher. Flows in the 4,000-17,000 cfs range can be experienced on a daily basis. Over the past couple of weekends, there have been large windows of minimum flow, allowing great wade fishing and easier nymphing. The streamer fishing is slowly starting to turn on, as a lot of the late spawning fish are finishing up their annual dance and getting ready to pack on the pounds once again. The size of streamer depends on the amount of generation, with the lower flows catering to smaller streamers and vice-versa. The nymphing has been stellar, with ruby midges, scuds in tan, grey or olive, and sow bugs being my favorite patterns fished under an egg pattern. 

Norfork: The flows have been pretty much all over the place on the 'fork. In the higher flows, there is definitely a chance of shad being pulled through the dam, as Norfork is a smaller lake than Bull Shoals, and the shad are affected by the cold easier. Small white shad patterns fished under an indicator will be the most effective technique for fish keyed on the small baitfish. Obviously, this method is best from a boat. In lower flows, it seems the fish will eat nearly anything lately. Egg patterns, midges, scuds, and sow bugs (sound familiar?) will do the trick in sizes 14-20. We are starting to see some high quality fish in the Norfork over the past several months, including a good handful of rainbows and cutthroat over 20", and browns seem to all range in the 18-22" range. 

 

 

 

Fishing Report 11/30

It has been a super busy fall on the river, with great fishing to be had consistently. As the leaves have fallen, the illustrious hopper bite of 2013 has pretty much come to an end. With some of the biggest browns of the year all landed on dry flies, it's hard to argue that this was one of the best years for dry fly fishing we have seen.

I plan I updating my reports page much more frequently, as I admit I have been slacking in that department. Check in frequently for some good fishing reports to come.

Now for a little reportage...

White River:
As of the past week, there has been a lot of wadeable water below Bull Shoals. Minimum flow is proving itself to be great for fishing, with great numbers of fish caught on grey and tan McLellans hunchback scuds, midges, a and blue wing olive nymphs. Every once in a while, they will make a big pulse of water from the dam that can produce a fun streamer bite and a chance at a hog. Yellow, olive, white, and black streamers have all been contenders.

Norfork:

Egg patterns trailed by a midge is all you need. Nuff said. The princess tailwater has been phenomenal as usual, giving up lots of big rainbows and browns lately, as well as a trophy 17 inch brook trout last week for one of my clients.

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