Another fun trip to Cotter Arkansas to fish the White River. We stayed at The Trout House. This cabin is on the river right next to Wildcat Access. We can walk out the back door to huge stretches of fishing.
The water level from Bull Shoals generation was up a little but not un-wadeable. The fish were feeding on the shad kill and the fun continued as far down river as we were.
Anything with a shad pattern worked well. White Wooley’s, zonkers, etc. Even olive colored flies were working. It seemed the bigger fish were deeper and something with weight worked best. I had on a olive cone head wooley and caught a couple brown in the deeper runs. Most of the fish caught were smaller rainbows. Either way, fishing and catching is fun.
The weather on wednesday was excellent. The temp was in the upper 60’s. The sun was out. I hit a hot spot and started catching fish. I pulled out about 6 smaller rainbow before my fly had to be retired due to structural damage.
Thursday, the cold front started moving down from the north but the temp was tolerable in the mid 40’s. I’m not complaining. We fished the White River in the morning until noon or so while the generation was lower then decided to head over to the North Fork Dam tailwater to fish. NFD was shutting off the generation at 1pm which meant good wading conditions.
After eating lunch, we drove 30 minutes to the North Fork Dam and wade fished the tailwater. I started fishing a riffle using white bead head wooley. No strikes. I noticed the other fisherman were using either powerbaits or jigs so I tied on an orange shrimp saltwater fly I had in my box. My second cast produced a stiff strike and the bastard broke off my fly. I only had the 1 orange shrimp. (I don’t fish saltwater much.) Probably my own fault for not tying a good knot. I proceeded to tie on a chartruese wooley with some flash in the tail and moved up the riffle and planted myself just above the start of the riffle water. I cast into a quiet pool of water and stripped back the line. Bam! I proceeded to catch fish.
I stayed in that spot for the next 1.5 hours and caught 29 rainbow ranging from 6 inches to 13 inches. Needless to say, I had a good time. I was smart at one point and after landing 6 fish, I took the time to re-tie my fly to ensure a solid knot. I was the envy of 2 old goats that scuttled into the water fishing about 50 yards away. I looked over at one point and they were just relaxing the bank watching me.
Now here is where something turned odd and ethically questionable. A guy sidled up within my casting range and asked, “Am I ok here…?”. I politely replied that it was ok, but internally I was a bit offended that this dude would even suggest squeezing in on my honey hole. He was an older guy of 50 or so. My personal rule (outside of trout parks) is that you maintain a distance between fisherman of the radius of your cast range. This guy was well within my range. Either way, I had already caught 20 or so fish and allowed him to encroach and share in the joy. To the old guys on the bank, they may have been offended as well and possibly thought of me in philanthropic tones.
I celebrated back at the van by throwing back some single malt that Matt had stowed in a flask.
Friday, the fishing was slower but still managed to catch 6 fish. I started using spinning gear in the afternoon to see if a couldn’t entice a larger brown from the depths. I tossed a rapala out 90 degrees and retrieved across the current into a 45 degree angle. It was easier fishing and more time with a lure int he water.
I discovered that with the company of a few beers in my waist jacket, I could more easily cast with spinning gear and enjoy the afternoon river. I landed a couple nice 12″ brown on the rapala.
Saturday, the snow and cold hit us. We woke to 30 degrees and snow started coming down at 8am or so. I continued to use the spinning gear mainly because I was not willing to fumble with leader and tippit with cold wet hands. Glad I did. The rapala brought in 6 decent browns that morning. The biggest went 16 inches. It was a fun morning and a good finish to a good few days of fishing.
I also posted other photos on my Facebook page. See the Facebook Photos