White River stream report – 14-15 August 2012
Just returned from another two days fishing the White in the Cotter area of Arkansas.
It is nice to have the cooler weather and an almost chilly start to the day.
The water is running at 60-62 degrees which probably reflects the regular release of water and the cooler air temperatures. Fish were all healthy and strong with no evidence of oxygen deprivation. There was just a hint of “Redding” in a couple of areas so maybe the browns are making an early start on their winter spawning.
Wildcat Shoals was top of our list to fish and this time we decided to access the main riffle from downstream. Unfortunately the generators had been off overnight giving the lowest level we have seen this year and making it difficult for even the all conquering Jet Motor to make it upstream! There is a lot of structure in this section of stream both natural and manmade in the way of boulders added for additional holding in gravel areas. We bottomed out numerous times and had to drag the boat upstream at one riffle which gave us the exercise we needed.
In one section we saw more twenty inch plus fish than I have ever seen in one area of the White. Mostly the big fish were holding on the bottom but a few were taking emergers quite happily from the surface. One was offered a hopper which it duly nibbled at it but the rod operator wasn’t quick enough to turn this into a strike! Oh well next time.
The low level sent us back down to Cotter and a cross country ride to Wildcat for a second boat launch of the day.
The lower levels exaggerated the pocket water at the main riffle and seemed to have pushed many of the fish to the deeper water downstream. Even so there was plenty of action on soft hackles and even some dry fly action in the runs between pockets. Diligent casting along the edges didn’t produce the monster brown we were hoping for and overall opinion was that this riffle fishes better with a little more water over the rocks.
Second day saw us floating down from Rim Shoals boat launch and fishing the catch and release area. Mid week is the way to go because apart from a couple of passing bait fishers headed for the water below the C&R section, we had the water to ourselves.
The flow steadily increased during the day and rose by around two feet giving some nice current lines. We estimated it took around eight hours for the intitial release of water to reach Rim Shoals.
My partridge and peacock soft hackle was hit with the fish and even produced a wonderful twenty two inch brown who put a great bend in my four weight Orvis Superfine. There were some rising fish but little evidence of insect activity. Once again it didn’t take long for the fish to respond to my brown Klinkhammer which has become a firm favorite as attractor fly of choice. A little breeze helped with the deception and overall the KH produced more fish than the soft hackles so a great day for the dries.
My partner landed an wonderfully plump female brown who while not stretching the tape passed nineteen inches did measure about fourteen round the girth making her between four and five pounds.
If the river continues to fish this well then we are in for a cracking Fall season.