Friday, I awoke in the midst of an allergic reaction of types (that damn thing in the back of your throat that hangs down swells up and makes swallowing awfully tough) and had forgotten my Benadryl (for some reason, 4 Benadryl pills make that darn thing go away) and needed to run into Wal-Mart. I woke up David and into Mountain Home we went. Again, this is just proof that fishing trips with me are always an adventure. We got back to the camp in time to suit up and be on the water by 7am or so (they weren’t generating water — it was shut off around 5am). Fishing for me was tough on Saturday, I only landed one fish (a rainbow on a tan scud up in the big pool below the Dam). However, Craig had a good morning. Craig landed three or four fish including a 23″ Brown (his biggest trout to date). David went fishless, but this was his first trip out on the water and the fishing was tough but his casting was adequate for a first-timer. We all concentrated our efforts near Quarry Park and basically from the mouth of Dry Run Creek and towards the Dam (although never really ventured that close to the Dam). The water was turned on about 1pm and ran the rest of the day. We made a half-hearted effort to fish the high water near Dry Run, but it was crowded and we were bored with it so we decided to check out Dry Run Creek and look at all the trout that are making their spawning runs. Dry Run Creek is one of the neatest little streams I have ever seen and it is loaded with BIG TROUT. However, the only people that can fish Dry Run are children under the age of 16 and handicapped adults. We walked up to “the falls” and there we witnessed one of the neatest things I have ever seen. It was a 3 1/2 foot waterfall (Craig swears it was 5ft, but I doubt it) and there were trout everywhere trying to jump the falls. Some fish made it up the fall by timing their jump perfectly, but most didn’t. Both Craig and David took photos on their digital cameras and David even got some video clips of fish jumping the falls. There were also two kids fishing the pool below the falls and they were catching fish left and right, with some being of trophy quality. I also got a chance to meet up with Becky Rogers (wife of Tom Rogers owner of TNT Fishing in Cotter, AR ) who was guiding 3 kids on the creek with the help of her daughter. Craig and I used Tom as a guide on last year’s trip to the Norfork, and I had kept in touch with them over the internet — as they are two of the nicest people one could ever meet. After visiting with them for awhile, Craig and David chose to check out the upper reaches of Dry Run Creek while I visited with Becky some more. They returned with stories of the biggest rainbow they had ever seen — what was even funnier was the Becky described exactly where that fish was holding even before they got back. It was unusually hot (the low on Friday night was in the upper 40’s or low 50’s with the high temperature reaching into the mid to upper 80’s), and we finished the day futzing around camp and BBQ ‘d dinner. We were just pulling the brats off of the grill when Tom buzzes us on the radio (we had told Tom about the GMRS/FRS radios we use while fishing that on his trip to Wal-Mart he picked up a really neat pair of super tiny Motorola radios) and asked if any of us had brought a net with us and that he had a “serious” fish on and had to put the radio away. So, of course, we throw the brats in a pan and grab the net and cameras and head down to were Tom was (he was fishing in the high water off of the far side of Dry Run Creek in the main channel current in really fast water) and he had already landed the fish — it was a beautiful 19″ Brown. Tom felt bad about calling us down there for a 19″ fish, but the fish was a good fish and had beautiful colors. It also had to be one helluva fight in that high water, as I always got the impression that Tom doesn’t get excited over a 19″ fish having fished these waters allot in the past. We finished up the evening around a larger than normal campfire (thanks to my pyromaniac tendencies) and a stroll around the campsite looking for a fly fisherman from Texas that was to be in the same campsite and tent camping but there was no luck in locating his car (a red Honda or Toyota 2-seater) or tent; although I don’t wonder if it was due to the beer and cigars that were consumed.
Craig and I left my house about 1pm on Thursday and arrived at campsite #10 in the Quarry Park Campground at the base of the Norfork Dam in Salesville by 6:45pm (quite a feat considering we were riding in a Toyota 4-Runner and pulling a borrowed pop-up). We were greeted by Tom Anderson and his wife from near Mammoth Spring, AR. I had met Tom this past April on a trip to the Spring River and have kept in contact with him via the internet. Tom is a wealth of knowledge, and a pleasure to share a campfire with; thus, I was pleased that he was one of our neighbors. We also arrived to running water, which was turned on around 12pm on Thursday and ran well into the evening. The major difference from this year’s trip and last year’s trip was that we had borrowed a pop-up camper (a newer 8ft pop-up camper). While Craig set up the camper, I was busy unloading the car and starting the camp fire — we were sitting around the camp fire enjoying a beer no later than 20 minutes after arriving. Another difference in this year’s trip, was that David Stinnett (a friend from the days I was a wee pup) was making the trek up from Dallas, Texas to join us. David is a new fly fisherman, and bought all his gear for this maiden voyage. He traveled over 8 hours (he left Dallas around 5pm and arrived at camp around 1am) and over 450 miles to chase trout with us for the first time — he had no idea what he was getting in to.