Norfork River (Mountain Home, Arkansas) — July 13, 2004

Fly Rod & Reel Trout Bum Tournament Check-In # 5

Hey ya’ll!!! We’re still kicking……well some of us. Matt is snoring in a bed just across the room. Guess the young punk can’t hang with the “Old Guy”. John is sleeping too. Actually, I can hardly keep my eyes open myself, but I wanted to say hello to all of you before we go out on the river again in a few hours. YES!!! I said again. John Wilson offered to take us out again this evening and if the fish are biting, we’ll fish well into the night….or morning as it may be.

Where do I start? OH, how about where we left off last time. We left you last at the Fulton’s lodge. After we hit the send button and waited for the report and pictures to upload, John gave us some casting lessons. I don’t know about all of you, but I sure haven’t seen all that many people cast a complete line down to the backing with only a couple of false casts. John makes it look easy. If only it was. I got a number of pointers and even a mechanics and physics lesson on rod movement and how the line follows. Things that I have read about for years and were still confused on, all became clear last night. John not only can cast well (that’s why he broke records on accuracy at the ESPN Great Outdoor Games), but he can also convey it to others like me. WICKED COOL!!! (As John would say!!)

After the files finally uploaded…..OH, that reminds me, we called the great people at Fly Rod & Reel magazine today and we think we have things worked out regarding our photos. Please keep looking, you should have a bunch to look at very soon. After the files finished we followed John over to his cabin to stay with him for the night. WELL!!!! Just before John left for the Great Outdoor Games, his AC quit in his cabin. He told his landlord about it and seemed to think it would be fixed when he got back. NOT!!! I’ll kind of leave that there, but I think John had a few words with his landlord….at least that’s what it kind of sounded like about a block away. You fill in the blanks.

Well, Matt hopped on the phone and called His Place Resort, that had already offered to allow us to stay in one of their cabins the next 3 nights and asked if we could come early. They said “Come on down!!”. Shwew!!! It was still in the 80’s and the humidity must have been about the same. We were dripping just from our casting lessons and really needed to cool down. The AC experience was certainly better here!

We’ll we got our main gear out and quickly got showers and started tying flies. John was showing us how to tie his “now not so secret” fly – Trout Crack. This is perhaps one of the simplest flies to tie, but the results are absolutely incredible. I’ve heard a rumor that Umpqua is looking into carrying John’s fly, but it just hasn’t happened yet. ;>) I would highly recommend each and everyone of you contact Umpqua about this fly, cause you sure the heck will want some. I caught about 25 fish in just a few hours, with Matt catching almost as many, with this thing and that is a tiny part of this fly’s track record. I’ll tell you this about it so you have a little idea…’s a bit like a scud and fished dead drift like most nymphs….size 12 to 18 generally.

OK, so we tied about a dozen each and headed to bed. That was about 11:30 and the alarm was set for 3:30. We are in a bit different accommodations, which feels a bit more like Trout Bum habitat. We basically have a 1 room efficiency cabin. Two beds….ya, I know…….there are three of us right?!! No, I didn’t share with Matt last night. Luckily I brought along my sleeping pad and sleeping bag just incase, and slept on the floor. I have no complaints. I think I could have slept standing up last night.

So, I wake to Matt shaking me at 3:30. John wanted us to get to the river at first light for some nymphing and midging to HUGH fish. I mean fish in the 10 – 20 lb range were fairly common in the water we were going to fish with #18s and 6x tippet. Following quick showers, we slipped into our waders at the cabin and drove to the access. Sorry, can’t tell you where it is. Can you blame John for not wanting us to tell the location? He’ll be glad to take you though if you have him guide you. Sounds like a fair trade to me. You can get a heck of a lot of information though and contact John via his web site at Anyway, we ate granola bars on the way and drank sport drinks to try to get some more fluid in us.

OH, guess I should mention the water generation at this time. This was the first time I had experienced tailwater fishing and it was pretty wild to see all of the guides and Matt constantly on the phone calling the dam generation phone number. The dam telephone recording doesn’t tell you “when” the water will be “turned on” for generation, but it tells you when it “was” turned on and how many generator units were put on line. If you know your stuff (which all of our guides have) you can determine how long it will take for the water to get down to your location and plan your egress from the river appropriately. Additionally, you have to constantly monitor the generating schedules to determine what kind of fishing you may be able to do the next day. The water generation determines when you will fish, how you will fish, where you will fish and if you will be wading or fishing from a boat. There’s quite a bit to think about and plan for, and that’s what we’ve been doing the whole trip. Well, I say we…..Matt and the guides have been.

OK, so we buzz down a bunch of back roads and come to a farm field that seems pretty well worn from a few lucky vehicles. Quickly we jump out of the truck, gather our gear and get another lesson from John as to how he rigs his nymph and midge rigs. I gotta start taking notes when I’m around this guy!! After John gets us set, he heads for the river, while we try to keep up. Headlamps on, we slide through a path that looked like a tunnel through the trees and shrub to the river. In we go and wade up river trying not to trip over submerged logs, stumps and boulders. Hey, one word of advice for all of you……CLEATS!!! Wish I had some. I will the next time. Them rocks is slick….so we all stayed dry….at least walking in!!!

Well, John’s timing was perfect. We made it to a…..well, I had no idea what it was. Did I mention the fog? We could barely see 20 feet in front of us up until now, but the sun was starting to peak over the ridge and the fog was just starting to burn off. We could hear very large fish breaking the water in the fog. It was pretty cool. John hands me his rod with a streamer and tells me where to cast. While messing with something on my William Joseph chest pack, a fish took the streamer that I had dangling in the water just 6 feet in front of me. Didn’t get that one hooked, but that was just the start of our day. I had no idea at that point what I was casting to or how far to cast, so John told me the length I needed by seeing my back cast and I was fishing. He told me I was floating my fly over a number of 20+ lb fish….it was just up to the fish whether or not they wanted to eat. I had a number of takes that seemed really big. You all know the feeling….., but I only got in a few small ones. Just 12 to 16 inchers…I was still happy. Especially since I caught both rainbows and a cutthroat. OH, I need to mention that you can catch a “Grand Slam” in this water…..a rainbow, brown, cutthroat and brookie all in the same day on the same water. I was starting to wonder if I might have a chance.

While I was swinging my streamer, Matt was getting lessons in nymphing with Trout Crack. Matt is a streamer fisherman and not greatly experienced at nymphing, but after today, he decided he loves nymphing in the right conditions like I decided I love streamers in the right conditions yesterday. I couldn’t see them well through the fog, but I heard a lot of “OH MAN!!”s as Matt missed a few. He did hook up with a number of fish though and got better and better using the new technique as the morning wore on.

Well, my streamer takes petered out and John told me to start nymphing up near Matt. YES!!!!! I was in total heaven. This is the kind of fishing I love. Fast riffle dropping into a 2 to 3 foot run with a couple of side channels coming in too. Seams everywhere!!! I had a blast!!! We have been really lax at taking pictures with us holding fish up till now, so we decided to take a number of pics today, so that you all believe that we actually have caught some fish. Each fish we would hook up, John would ask if it was a nice fish, what kind and if we wanted pictures of it. Matt and I had him walking back and forth taking pictures of us pretty frequently for a while. On one of my hookups, he asked me what it was. I said I wasn’t sure, it kinda looked like a rainbow…. “NO, maybe a “cut””…no…. “IT’S A BROOKIE!!!” John nearly ran over to me to make sure we got a picture of this beautiful little gem. I have always had a special place in my heart for this beautiful fish, so I was beaming. Then John says… “Game On!!”. I looked a little puzzled and Matt says that I have to get the Grand Slam. Holy Smokes!!! I wasn’t even thinking about that at the time. John tells me to keep doing what I’m doing because there are a bunch of large fish where I am, but he would go off in search of browns. Matt and I both bring in a number of rainbows and cuts when John hooks up with our first brown of the day. He calls me a hundred yards or so downstream (where I was fishing streamers earlier) and shows me the brown hangout. After getting yet another lesson of how to swing the rod in a circle over my head while casting to get the best drift, John lets me loose with a size 20 beadhead zebra midge. After missing, yet again, a couple of nice takes, I finally see my indicator just pause and set the hook. We weren’t sure what it was yet, but it did stay down and we were hoping it was a brown. I took forever getting this bugger close enough to see, cause I sure the heck didn’t want to mess up. Finally after a few minutes (seemed like hours though) we get our first glimpse…….A BROWN!!! Man was I pumped!!! After another couple hours…I mean minutes…..John finally netted the little (14 inches) beauty for me and there where “Hi-Fives” all around. The Grand Slam!!! Wicked Cool!!!

I finally settled down and decided to fish from across the riffle we were fishing to get a better drift because I could see some really nice fish in the run just below the riffle. Sure enough. I got on a decent rainbow and Matt asks me if I want him to take a picture. I hesitated, cause it was only 17 or 18 inches I thought, but we did need some more fish pics. Matt graciously waded across, but it was still going to be a little while before it was ready to net, so Matt started to fish. Quickly he had a nice fish on himself. Now John was wading over to try to get a picture of the two of us with nice fish together. Wicked Cool!!! We got the pics, let our little buddies go and while we were watching Matt’s fish swim off…..well, I’m not sure what the heck happened. All I know is that Matt leaned back a little bit and you should have seen the look on his face just before it went under water. Before his ears hit the water, John was turning to grab him, but Matt still got a full Norfork baptism. John pulled him up instantly and after we figured out all was fine, we all laughed our butts off. Only casualty may be Matt’s camera. Not sure yet. We’ll know in a few minutes when we try to upload his great pictures. Keep your fingers crossed!!!! No pictures at this time. The Fuji FinePix S5000, didn’t like the cold water and we can’t get the card to be recognized in the card reader yet. Rest assured, we will keep trying.

Well, that was just about the time we were going to head back anyway, because John suspected the water was going to be “turned on” any minute anyway, which would give us just enough time to get back. On the way back we spotted a number of large fish. One rainbow probably over 10 lbs, numerous larger browns and one brown that John estimated to be in the 30 lb range. Wicked Cool!! Up and out of the river, we found out that the heat was still with us. YUCK!!!! Just another reason to go fishing on a hot day. We were all hungry and tired and headed for lunch. John pulled in to Sutton’s Restaurant in Mountain Home on Hwy 5. He said that it was all great and that they made their own potato chips that we just HAD to get. We ordered, started drinking our tea and talking about our day when I got a twinkle in my eye. Matt looked at me and said, “You’re gonna try to bum lunch aren’t you?” I just smiled. I headed for the kitchen to find the owner – John Sutton. After telling the waitress that I wanted to talk to him she sent me to the back of the kitchen where John was flying around like a wild man making food for all of us. He listened to what I had to stay and instantly said he’s be happy feed us for free. What a guy!!! Then we got the food. Holy Smokes!!! I got a blackened burger with blue cheese and all the fixings. That may have been the best burger I have ever eaten and that’s NOT just because I was hungry….I honestly mean that!!! Mr. Sutton even took a couple of minutes to take a picture with “The Bums”.

After that we picked up a TON of sport drinks and ice. So far, I think we have spent more money on drinks than anything else. We have too though in this heat. We have no choice. Well, the “two” other bums just woke up from their beauty sleep (didn’t help by the way) so I guess I better go. It’s 6:30 pm and we are getting ready to head out for an evening fish, get some food (let’s hope my bumming luck holds), get a couple hours of sleep (I think I better this time) and head back out about 2:00 am in search of big browns. I apologize for not filling in the blanks for yesterday yet (it was a full and fun day that we still need to elaborate on) but there area only so many hours in this day…… and I don’t want to miss a minute of it!!!

Tight Lines,

Matt & Brent (written by Brent)

Norfork River & White River (Mountain Home, Arkansas) — June 26 – 28, 2004

It seems that our McClane and my’s Trout Bum odyssey is just around the corner. We are gearing up to leave at midnight the night of July 8 and headed for Lake Taneycomo and the monster rainbows that call those waters home. That gives Team Ozark Chronicles less than 9 days to get our gear sorted and packed, and make sure we have enough flies tied for the trip of all trips. Of course we are not worried, or at least it wouldn’t seem that way since I just got back from a weekend on the White River / Norfork River and Mr. McClane is somewhere in the Boundary Waters until July 5 or so.

This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting some fly fishing legends (Mel & Fanny Krieger, Jack Dennis, John Barr, Lori Ann Murphy, Davy & Emily Whitlock, Ian James, Davy Wotton, John Wilson, and Sister Carol Anne Corley) by attending the 2004 Hooked On A Cure Celebrity Fly Fishing Classic in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Hooked On A Cure is the organization that Team Ozark Chronicles is raising money for. This organization raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through fly fishing and in the process brings attention to the sport of fly fishing and the White River tail water system. If you believe in giving money to a children’s charity and are a fly fisherman, I can think of no better organization to donate your money and time to. Of course at first I wasn’t even supposed to be fishing in the event, and was even told I was going to be helping Steve Hemkins tend bar. But last Sunday, I got the call from April Conrad asking me if I would like to fish in the event. What is a guy to do — tend bar or get a chance to fish with Krieger, Whitlock, Ruoff, and others. So I told her I would fish. Then, she asked about McClane and I told her that he was MIA in the Boundary Waters. Too bad for him.

Friday night, Karen and I arrived at Rim Shoals Fly Shop on the White River and enjoyed a dinner of crawfish and beer, while saying hello to those I have traded emails with over the years but have never met as well as sitting in aw at all the fly fishing legends in my presence. Karen went with me on this trip, out of the fact that I had originally promised her a weekend without kids and with me; what she got was a weekend of hanging out in a hotel room while I was fishing and waiting for me to be late at the take out on Sunday. Friday night was the celebrity pairings dinner, and I was lucky enough to get paired with Ian James. Ian is the co-host of The New Fly Fisher a fly fishing show that airs on PBS, but doesn’t air on my local PBS station in St. Louis. He is a hilarious guy and a very accomplished fly fisherman and author – he has a best seller in his book titled Fumbling With A Fly Rod. It was an absolute pleasure to fish with him and I learned quite a bit in the process about my casting style. It was also a new experience for me, as we did a couple of quick camera interviews for the television show and had his cameraman following us in another boat for most of the morning. At least I can say I caught some fish on camera and got to see the White River from a boat. I was even wore a microphone for awhile on this day — it was pretty cool. Quite honestly though, we couldn’t have done it without the fine work from our Guide, Quin Berry. If you have ever floated the White or Norfork Rivers you will notice that the guides all work with tiller controlled outboards and after watching Quin work the boat, I have a newfound respect for boat handlers on these rivers.

Saturday night was the dinner / raffle function at the Ramada Inn in Mountain Home. It was when all the anglers, celebrities, sponsors, and volunteers gathered for several auctions and raffles (of which I was lucky enough to win a raffle item of a new neck lanyard, a Solitude Fly Vest, and a Dorber C&R Net). It was also a place to enjoy fine food and compare notes from the day and make plans for the morning. But most importantly, it was a time to gather and reflect on the good that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is doing and the importance of raising money for this organization through this event. April Conrad, the Executive Director of Hooked On A Cure, took about 5 minutes or so and introduced me to the crowd of onlookers and explained to them the Trout Bum Tournament and that we were trying to accomplish by raising money through fly fishing. After this, the rest of the night was a whirlwind. I remember talking and getting my photo taken with Mel Krieger, talking with Dave Whitlock, Sister Carol Anne Corley performing a mass christening and naming everyone “Charlie” for the evening (since we are taking pledges for every person we meet with the name of “Charlie” during our Trout Bum odyssey), enjoying way too many adult beverages, having a ton of laughs, and getting paired up with my celebrity and guide for the Sunday trip on the Norfork River. Needless to say that I did not get that much sleep on Saturday night.

Sunday morning I was picked up at the Ramada Inn by Pat Neuner, the Product Development Manager for Wapsi, and shuttled to the Quarry Park Access on the Norfork River. Pat is an extremely nice guy and offered to help in any way he could while we were on our Trout Bum odyssey. Today I was to fish with John Wilson and Ken Richards. John is a very accomplished fly fisherman and was actually my celebrity pairing for the day. He has been a member of Team USA Fly Fishing, a finalist in the OLN Masters Competition, a finalist in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games, as well as having appeared on several television shows and running a successful guide business ( Ken Richards is also an accomplished fly fisherman and guide ( in the Arkansas area, and is one of the few to offer a guided trip out of a Hyde drift boat. I have been trying to meet both of these gentlemen for some time, as we have conversed quite frequently on message boards and via email over the last couple of years, and both have gone above the norm to offer support to Team Ozark Chronicles during the Trout Bum Tournament.

We left Quarry Park and headed to a private access on the Norfork River. When we were wadering up at the car, John had asked what I wanted to get out of the day. I informed him that I wanted to break through my 20″ ceiling that I have yet to cross on this river. Thus the phrase for the day was “Hero or Zero” (meaning it was a Toad or it was no fish at all). We spent the next couple of hours searching out toads (which is what the guides in Arkansas call a fish in excess of 24″), and found a stretch of water about 20 yards long that held 6 toads in less than 3 feet of water. I did not get a hookup with any of the toads, although I did perform a bass fisherman hookset on my first fish which provided a ton of comedy for everyone. I was rewarded with two fish during this time, both well under 20″ but a ton of fun in the process, it was the big fish I was after today and there was simply no better way to do it. Then the water came on and we retreated to the pavilion where we met up with the others for lunch, and then off to the Quarry Park access to drop in the drift boat and float to the confluence of the White River. It was a great float and I was able to accomplish the Arkansas Grand Slam on the Norfork (catching a brook trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, and cutthroat trout all from the same river in the same day) and set a personal best for the biggest brook trout that I have caught. Ken handled his drift boat with ease during the water generation and it was an absolute blast to fish from and we had a good time. I got some brief casting lessons from John Wilson as well, and realized that I was a true amateur at this sport. When we got to the take-out point, John took my St. Croix Legend Ultra 5wt with GPX line and demonstrated throwing my entire fly line plus several feet of my backing and it was a feat to watch, as he did it effortlessly. We took photos to end the day, and said our thank you’s and I took some ribbing from them as I was late to the take-out and my wife had been waiting in the car for more than an hour (for the record gentleman, I have a very cool wife and she understood after the first hour of the drive). This was by far the coolest fly fishing event I have ever attended and I plan to be back next year. If you believe in giving money to a children’s charity, I can’t think of a better one. There were some other film crews there this weekend as well, and there was a rumor that parts of this weekend are going to air on ESPN Outdoors as fillers between shows but we will see (in total I think there was 3 separate camera crews there).

Now it is time to get the gear bags ready, clean the fly lines, pack the essentials and have them sitting in my basement so we can leave at midnight the night of July 8th. I have already met some legends thanks to Fly Rod & Reel and Hooked On A Cure, and can’t wait to bring home the title of Trout Bums of the Year and secure the additional funds that Ford has pledged towards the winning team. We could not have done this without the help of the fine folks at the local Missouri fly shops (T. Hargrove Fly Fishing, Feather-Craft, and Clearwater Outfitters), and we ask that you remember to support your local fly shops.

A special thanks to all those who have helped us thus far on this fly fishing odyssey. We are still raising money and you still have time to purchase your chance to win a Premier Angler spot in the 2005 Hooked On A Cure Celebrity Fly Fishing Classic, or a new bamboo fly rod, or several other fly fishing related prizes. So a special thanks goes out to all those that haven’t helped us yet, but will be in the coming weeks.

Norfork River (Salesville, AR) — October 25, 2003

I awoke a little earlier than expected on Saturday morning at 5am (having not gotten to bed until 11pm). I decided to suit up and go get an early spot at the mouth of Dry Run Creek. I suited up and then woke Dave up and he looked at me with those “what the hell, you are crazy man, the sun isn’t even up” looks and I told him and Craig that I was headed down to Dry Run to get a spot. I was sitting on a rock by 5:30am with a piece of gooey butter cake and a bottle of Gatorade taking in the sounds of the river and the darkness. The silence was broken by my radio and Dave saying that he was on his way down. By the time he arrived, the crowds had begun to form around the creek (this is one of the most popular places to fish due to the spawning run) but David and I had been awarded a spot. I made a feeble attempt at fishing a glow in the dark indicator rig with a scud, but had no luck. It was just getting light when I switched to a black mohair leech and was promptly awarded with a Brown a little over 20″ — what a beautiful trout. It was quite a battle in the early morning and was the first fish caught out of the creek that morning. David made three attempts to net the fish, and it was both funny and heart pounding to watch as with each attempt the fish would make a run. It was dark enough and in deep enough water that you couldn’t tell where the fish was exactly, but he was finally netted and several pictures were taken. It was my biggest Brown to date (a new personal best), but not the Brown I had been searching for — there were much bigger trout holding in this water. I threw the mohair leech for a little while longer, loosing several fish, and then decided to switch to a black scud / indicator set up and was rewarded with a nice 17″ Brown with beautiful colors. David took pictures (one picture even has me holding the fish and in the background there is a fish jumping) with his digital camera and the fish was quickly released. Dave was still fishless on this trip, but we was fishing better than other newbies I had seen in less than ideal conditions. David then proceeded to hook into one of the Browns that the Norfork is known for, but that is all he did — hook into it. It was a LARGE fish and the only thing I saw was the mouth and the tail as it came out of the water and made the run that snapped his line. David was so distraught by this that he actually quit fishing for about an hour and went back up to camp. That was my que to meet up with Craig in the pool below the Dam. The temperature really took a nose dive by about 9am and we fished this water until about 9:30am and then headed back to camp to grab food and hit the C&R area near the Handicap Platform. We got there about 10:30 and took the only available spot in the lot (there were fishermen everywhere in the stream — both upstream and downstream of the platform). We rigged up and started fishing our way upstream, eagerly awaiting others to finish the pools / holes they were fishing. As other anglers broke for lunch or for the rain (it had started raining) we were able to gain access to a pool that held allot of big fish. Craig and I threw everything we had at these fish (I even resorted to a leader/tippet of 11′ ending with 8x tippet and #28 midge patterns but could not get a strike. It appeared that these fish were feeding, but I will never know on what. Frustrated and wet, David and I decided to head back to the car for lunch and a break — Craig followed shortly. We fished the C&R area until about 3:30pm and then decided to head back to camp and try our luck nearer the Dam. The temperature took a nose dive and the wind started to kick up at the base of the Dam. Fishing was tough out there with no protection from the wind. I tied on an orange scud / indicator set up and was rewarded with my first Brook trout I have ever caught — although it was a little trout, not more than 11″, but it was my first. To my dismay, Craig didn’t have his camera with him (due to the impending threat of rain) and nor did I have mine (it was in my vest back in camp — I switched from vest to wading jacket due to the drastic change in weather and only took the essentials with me — scuds and midges). The wind and cold temps, combined with the start of water generation, put us back at camp for the remainder of the afternoon. Another change from last year was the addition of a new shower house at Quarry Park campground — there was nothing better than taking a hot shower in a private heated bathroom (complete with toilet / shower / mirror) after a hard day on the river being beat up by the elements. After we all cleaned up, we headed into town for dinner at El Charro’s in Mountain Home. It was as good of Mexican food as I have had in awhile (living in the midwest) and sure beat cold turkey sandwiches and soda. After dinner, we headed over to Tom Roger’s (TNT Fly Fishing) house to visit and Becky, his wife, had been having some computer problems they wanted me to look at. They are two of the nicest people you are ever going to meet in Arkansas and both of them have a wealth of knowledge and a willingness to share it. We left Tom’s about 9:30pm and were back in camp falling asleep to the rain by 10:30am.

Norfork River (Salesville, AR) — October 24, 2003

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.

Norfork River (Salesville, AR) — October 23, 2003

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.