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.