Day 2 of the 3 day annual fall bender we put on down on the White River. The tales from this day are best left for around a campfire. (2013-11-23)
After a long night hanging out with the locals at the house we rented, we were up fairly early the next morning wrestling with the same decision….water flows suck, where are we going to float on Saturday (2012-10-27). The White River was on its 4th day in a row of zero generation, and was representing a traveling wade fisherman’s wet dream. However, I have traded those low water wet dreams in for hopes of 4,000CFS or larger flows, but I digress. As we kicked back in the morning, it was apparent everyone had different ideas about where to fish.
Dan, Paul, and Jim had decided to tow their Hyde drift boat up to Lake Taneycomo to fish some higher flows, while Corey Dodson decided to stick close to the house and wade fished the Narrows area and Wildcat Shoals on the White, Ray Reidy and Jeff House decided to try their luck on the Norfork with the promise of the possibility of some midday increased flows (their gamble paid off and they were rewarded with full generation for a few hours), and Craig Peterson, Dan Ritter, and I decided to head in to Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher shop for a shuttle from Cotter access to Rim Shoals (on dead low water). If anything, we had all the White River tailwaters covered.
The fishing from Cotter to Rim Shoals was pretty solid. We continued rolling dinks in the boat with ease on various nymph, eggs, worms, and midges throughout the river. We put in and rowed up to the railroad bridge above the Cotter ramp and spent entirely too much time fishing around the bridge and dock near the campground. Fish were caught, but we should have pushed on quicker. We ended up banging the bank with streamers from Cotter down to the top of Round House and picked up several fish (dinks) on a Cinnamon Colored Bottom’s Up near the Spring Branch. And this fly continued to be the ticket for the rest of the day.
The most interesting part of the day was floating through Round House Shoals. The river at dead low is still a learning experience, and this was the first time I rowed this section of river. Round House Shoals is just super sexy water and the low water brought out all the wader fisherman. It is amazing to me that they all flock to the river-right side of the island instead of fishing the fast pocket water on river-left (which coincidentally is also the boat channel we had to row / walk the boat through). The Hyde G4 bottom took a beating again today as we pinballed our way down some of the skinnier slots and when we hopped out to walk it through some of the super skinny stuff.
We ended up pulling off the river around 5pm or so and headed back to the rental house. Surprisingly, the guys that ran to Taneycomo had just beat us back to the house and had the BBQ pit going for a night filled with more beer, brats, and good bullshit. Corey got back from his wade fishing trip, and Ray and Jeff headed back after floating the Norfork and the conversations all confirmed that the fishing was still the same…..no big fish and lots of dinks.
With little promise for a change on Sunday morning, the conversation after dinner turned to where to fish on Sunday morning. It didn’t take long for consensus to be met, and on Sunday morning we would head out early for redemption on the Spring River.
More to follow.
After a long day and an even longer night at The Arena bar in Mountain Home the night before, the 6am wake-up call could have come later in the morning but there was breakfast to be had and fish to be caught. Up and packed away, we stowed away gear out of my Jeep into Chance Maxville’s rig from the float the day before as he and Corey Dodson were going to float in his skiff while I was going to fish out of Dominic’s boat. After a few minutes, plans were had and we took off for Cotter, Arkansas and the White Sands Restaurant (an institution for traveling fly fisherman….and a really good breakfast); after all I had time to kill while waiting for Dominic Zametto to drop his boat in and for us to run shuttle.
Today was a few months in the making, as I finally got to spend some time on the water with Larry Babin (Hogs On The Fly) and Dominic Zametto (Two Rivers Fly Shop) in Dominic’s Boulder Boat Works drifter. Chance Maxville and Corey Dodson from the Chasin’ The Dream Blog floated the same stretch, in Chance’s skiff. Words can’t even describe the stories told in the boat with Larry Babin (Hogs On The Fly) and Dominic Zametto (Two Rivers Fly Shop). This weekend was my first time hanging with both these guys; and if first impressions mean a shit, it was the first of many good times. Larry has been guiding on the White River for about 5 or 6 years now (maybe more) and is one of the few full-time drift boat guides on the river (guiding out of an Adipose Skiff); his knowledge of the river showed through a few times throughout the day as he would slip in and out of guide mode. Over the years, Larry has gotten alot of “guilt by association” wrap in my opinion, but the guy has always been an uber friendly guy when i would run into him on the ramp and would go out of his way to say hello or to pass a friendly tip or two and after trading messages back and forth on the book of face, a plan was hatched to meet up and fish a bit. Larry is a joker and a blast to fish with. Ask him about the whizinator…..holy shit it is a great application of a wiffle ball bat (that is all i can say).
The other guy in the boat, was Dominic…..eventually that is all his name will be in Mountain Home. Dominic, man what to say. If I could figure out a way to tell my stripper stories with his Mississippi drawl…..holy shit. There is a certain mystique about a 35yo guy that moves to a small Arkansas town and buys a fly shop, and wears a beard well. Well, after spending a day on the water with him, I can tell this wasn’t just a hopped up plan or mommy’s money. The guy sounds like he is going to pull his heart and soul into Two Rivers Fly Shop on the Norfork and make it what it should be. He was a blast to spend a day in the boat with, and the bastard even caught the biggest brown (a nice 18″ brown on a streamer) and hopped on the oars right after.
Even though it was weak generation again, we opted for a different float and fished Wildcat Shoals to Cotter. Fish were picked up with some regularity on streamers in the morning, but the water levels were not as conducive to it, so Larry switched out to some small dry flies and stockers were caught at will. We each took turns rowing (although….I wasn’t on the sticks that long, apparently my rowing lacks something to be desired…even though I avoided the 360’s), but I spent most of the time throwing streamers in the bow and when i wasn’t it was good just to kick back and enjoy the float.
It is tough to find a bad day on the river, and today was one of those days…that didn’t suck. The sun was shining, the Champagne of Beers were on board, and fish were caught, god only knows what other boats were thinking as they overhead our conversations as we floated down river. We pulled off the river around 4pm and headed back up to Wildcat Shoals to finish our shuttle, where we ran into Bill Thorne and his wife from Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher, Corey Dodson (Chasin’ The Dream), we ended up bullshittin’ at the access until about 4:30pm or so but I had to jet and drive back to St. Louis. I didn’t end up getting back home until about 10pm on Sunday night. Yeah it was a long weekend, but damn I would do it again in a heartbeat. Looking forward to hanging with these guys again in the not so distant future.