Every year I make a fall trip to the White River with my two friends Craig Peterson and David Stinnett. Craig and I get to fish together fairly frequently, but this is only an annual trip for David as he has to travel north from Dallas to fish the White River. We have been fortunate enough to book RiverCliff Cabin in advance for this trip; as it is the nearest private cabin for rent that is closest to Bull Shoals State Park and offers a great base for drift boat shuttles and other activities near the river.
We rose early to head over to Gaston’s for breakfast (they offer a great buffet that is quick and reasonable…and they open at 6am)and caught up with David (as he didn’t roll in until about 1am) as we soaked up enough biscuits and gravy to feed an army. We hurried up and headed over to the Dam access to meet up with fly fishing guide Jimmy “T” Traylor, who had offered to take us out on the water for a bit. We hoped in Jim’s boat and we were off.
The fishing was pretty darn good. We caught plenty of fish, all but one were rainbows; with the odd man out being a small brown trout of about 16″. The water levels were fluctuating all morning, as they would increase and then decrease the generation causing the CFS to fluctuate. We were on a very consistent bite when the water was falling, throwing a red Tungsten B.H. San Juan Worm under a Thingamabobber indicator on 4x fluorocarbon tippet. The bite was very subtle, but definitely there and the four of us had a fun time on the river.
Prior to the trip, I had purchased a used Nikon D200 digital slr and a Tokina 11-16mm lens to use on this trip; but the weather was just too ominous to really use on this first day on the water. We did get a few photos though. The skies were really darkening up and it was time for lunch so we hit the boat ramp and put the boat on the trailer and headed over to Wishes & Fishes Fly Shop to drop off Jim’s truck and head over to RiverCliff.
I have been helping JimmyT with his web site for a few years now, and just moved him to more of a blog format, but we still had some work to do on his site; so he and I used this excuse to head over to the Bull Shoals State Park Campground and use the free wifi to get online and make some changes to his site. I have to say, if I had to choose a place to hang out and work on a fly-fishing website it would have to be on a deck overlooking the White River.
Meanwhile, in the pouring rain, Craig and David took the RiverCliff boat out and crossed the river to a little shoals where they were picking up lots of dinks on various nymphs and stripping a Super Bugger. They headed back to the cabin around 5:30 to find me sitting on the deck reading a guide book on my new D200 camera, a few beers were drank and we rehashed the day before we decided it was time to eat.
We finished up the night with dinner at Gold Pan Restaurant, which was as good as their breakfast (which is say alot) as the Ham Steak Dinner that I had was killer. All in all it was a great way to spend in Arkansas and a great way to start our trip.
More to follow on the next three days as soon as I get a chance to go through the photos and write the reports.