I made it down to one of my home waters yesterday a short drive into Arkansas. From my residence I have am blessed with several great rivers within a couple hours drive. One of these is the White River tailwater below Bull Shoals Dam. This river is also close (20 min) from another world class fishery- the Norfork River tailwater. Like many tailwater fisheries the river levels are subject to wild variations due to water releases from the dams. The White seems notorious for this as Bull Shoals dam is capable of releases of 26,400 cfs and I think they often meet that.
However, when the water gods sleep the river is tamed and you can have some of the most glorious fly fishing on this planet. The area in the photos is basically one side of a island, the river width on each side of the island is about 75 yards with a depth of about 2 to 4 ft. The water runs gin clear and is filled with rainbows, browns and cutthroats. For reference the several of the world record brown trout have come from these rivers with the current record of just over 40lbs coming from Arkansas' Little Red river down the road about an hour.
In this day we started by working the water with large bead head woolys fished on a downstream swing, searching the seems and drop offs or where the substrate shifted from gravel to bedrock. This technique produced scores of fish, mostly rainbows in the 14 inch range. As these fish grow up in the fast water they are very strong for their size and will rip line downstream.
Later in the afternoon the caddis hatch came off heavy enough to get the fish looking up. My best fish fell for a size 16 tan elk hair caddis and was a brown the measured a tad over 18 inches.
I got some cool photos of the water but I usually am not one to take many fish pictures although I really wanted one of the brown but my camera failed after the initial river shots, oh well there were witnesses and perhaps next time...
good flies this day- Size 16 Black/red snowcones, elk hair caddis, GRHE, size 14 BH olive woolies in slower water and size 8 in the fast runs.
Rods that really excel are 5 weights in 10 foot lengths- you have plenty of casting room and being able to pull off casts over 60ft and mend a massive amount of line will help cover a lot of water with the wooly in the classic swing. 4 and 5X tippets meet most needs.