Evan Muskopf and I decided on Friday afternoon to head down to Westover Farms on Saturday morning for a quick peak around the place. There had been rumors that the property was foreclosed upon, yet the place was still open, so we needed to see for ourselves. It is a quick drive from my house to Westover Farms (which beats the multi-hour trips to Arkansas that I have been making lately) as we left my house at 6am and were pulling in to the property at 7:20am.
We were greeted with the familiar face of Tom Schlueter, who has been the caretaker of the property since the new owners bought it. The first thing we noticed is the fly shop is now operational and they are no longer running the operation out of the pole barn like they were doing a year ago. The new fly shop building is definitely something to behold, with its rustic finish it definitely has a lodge feel to it.
Tom filled us in on what has changed with the property and in fact that the property was in foreclosure and is now bank owned; but it is business as usual is what he has been told (complete with fish deliveries and getting ready to raise double the amount of fish that they raised the previous year). The facilities, while not complete are very impressive as is the stream (they have let the garden section of the stream grow up with weeds / bushes so there is no more manicured lawn look to it). They are now renting out a couple of rooms and one of the houses for overnight guests — Tom told us the rock band POCCO stayed there for a week not too long ago. All in all, I think the facilities and the streams have improved since my last visit.
As for the fishing, the fishing isn’t like it was in a barrell like the days of the past. The fish in the garden section of the stream spooked easily anytime a shadow hit the water or a fly line flew overhead (which…surprise…is what they are supposed to do). While there were still a considerable amount of fish in the stream, they were not in pods of fish as they used to be. The fish were dispersed and really hanging to the undercut banks and specific structure; and generally presented a tougher opponent than in the past. Which was great.
We did however get into a hopper bite as the sun came up and the hoppers came out. We found that when in the garden section the order of the day was to really slam the hopper onto the water and get a drift close to the bank and it was on. It made for alot of fun catching fish on chernobly ants, madam x’s, and yes…..a turks tarantula. We managed to run out of camera battery while we were there and didn’t shoot near the amount of photos that we should have — but both photos and video will be uploaded shortly. As for when I will be back, I will probably get back down there sooner rather than later. If anything, to see what kind of critter Tom has caught (this trip, he had managed to catch a common tarantula out of one of the houses that are in various stage of construction on the property — it was huge and still alive….but cool as shit). I highly recommend you pick up the phone and give them a call and reserve a spot to fish.