Little Red River (Heber Springs, Arkansas) — July 16, 2004

Fly Rod & Reel Trout Bum Tournament Check-In # 8

We are almost done with this trout odyssey, we have avoided any scenes from Deliverance. Today found ourselves rising out of our beds at 5:00am to head to the Little Red River near Heber Springs, Arkansas to fish with Orvis Endorsed Guide Jamie Rouse ( But before I get too far in to the awesome day of fishing we experienced at the Little Red, we have some more thank yous and “bums” to tell you about.

First, we would like to extend a very warm thank you to Steve and Julie at His Place Resort ( for allowing us to bum 4 nights of lodging off of them for ourselves and our newest fly fishing friend, John Wilson (Hey John, who was bumming who buddy?). His Place Resort rescued us from the heat by graciously accepting my plea for air conditioning late on Monday night. My only regret is that we got to hang out with Steve and Julie a little more than we did, but the routine for the week was eat / sleep / fish, and the fishing had been pretty darn good. Thanks again Steve and Julie for the great accommodations, and your support of Team OzarkChronicles.

As we were leaving for Heber Springs to meet up with Jamie Rouse, we decided to stop by the Ramada Inn in Mountain Home to use their wireless internet connection (we bummed them into letting us use their internet connection for free earlier in the week). Because we had noticed that our reports were all out of order, and that there still were no fishing pictures posted, we sent in .zip files for each day of our trout odyssey through 07-13-04 (these files included our trip reports and photos for each check-in, separated by days.). So we thought we would stop off and send in all of the files we had done so far through 07-13-04. While uploading these to FR&R, Brent decided to try and bum us breakfast from the Country Kettle Restaurant in Mountain Home, Arkansas (attached to the Ramada Inn). He came back in no time with a promised photo opportunity, and two big plates of food (biscuits & gravy, hash browns, sausage, bacon, eggs). Very cool, and a very good breakfast compliments of them.

Our bellies were full and we were finally on our way to meet up with Jamie Rouse and fish the Little Red River, home of the world record brown trout (weighed over 40lbs). We arrived at Jamie’s house around 9am, and after brief introductions to his very gracious wife the boat was loaded and we were on the way to the river. We were fishing more than 20 miles downstream this morning, and had a little drive a head of us. We finally got to the water rigged up our rods, and hit the water. First cast was made around 11:00am.

Jamie has been guiding the Arkansas trout waters for over 10 years now, and spends at least two months a year guiding in Alaska as well. He knows the Little Red River like the back of his hand, and likes to show clients why they need to return to the river. He guides approximately 200 days per year. Jamie is a very charismatic guide, and definitely serves up a lot of enthusiasm when on the water. If you ever get a chance to throw streamers with Jamie, take him up on the offer, it is a blast.

We were fishing around the boat dock for some time, due to a big thunderhead that was brewing above, and McClane was picking up fish left and right with an egg pattern affectionately named “Little Pinky.,” While I was chunking a San Juan worm pattern named “Red Diablo” and splitting time with that by throwing a 9’-0” 7wt sink tip with streamers. Fishing was slow for me as I was only picking up an occasional fish, but McClane was knocking them dead. Fishing continued to be slow until after lunch, when I committed to throwing my 9ft 7wt and a sink tip with a clouser minnow on the end.

I didn’t pick up the quantity that McClane had picked up today, but I definitely had the quality down pat. I was working the far bank, and WHAM! out of no where comes a nice wild 16” brown trout football (this fish was almost as round as he was long). It had absolutely beautiful colors and I got to see the take, which is why I love streamer fishing. That pumped both Jamie and I up, and we hit the banks even harder. WHAM! I hooked up with another football of a 17” brown trout. This was pretty cool, I was thinking to myself. Then we set-up for another drift, and then Jamie had a take by a HUGE fish, but the fish only swiped at the tail of the clouser. We drifted out and set back up on that drift, in hopes that the brown would take again. Well, he did. WHAM! This was a huge fish on, and my 7wt and 4x tippet did the trick, and I got him to the boat and Jamie netted him before he could put up much of a fight. In the net was a 23” brown trout, and man was it fat. After several photos, high fives, and reviving the fish, she was back in the water. Man what a beautiful fish, and my biggest wild brown trout to date (the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission does not stock brown trout in this river, unlike some of the other tailwaters). With that, we decided to call it a day. Jamie had a meeting he had to get to at a new home on the river that he is building for his clients to rent out, so we headed over there with him to check out the river while he was in his meeting (did I mention that his new 3 bedroom, 2 bath, rental unit is right on the river). McClane headed to the bridge, and quickly took over 5 rainbows on a tan scud in less than 20 minutes. After that, he decided to call it quits, and we headed over to Jamie Rouse’s house, where he had graciously agreed to host a couple of trout bums for the evening. Shoot, he even fed us lunch, and he and his family cooked us dinner as well (BBQ Burgers, grilled vegetables, and salad) while we each showered and shaved. It is amazing what a hot shower and shave will do for a trout bum. It was a sweet day. We ended with 33 fish in total, with a 16″, 17″, and 23″ brown trout.

It is now 9:22am, and I typing this report. McClane and I have just finished the strawberry shortcake (complete with whip crème and blueberries) that Jamie had brought in for us to snack on. McClane is diligently working away on the 07-14-04 and 07-15-04 reports. Fishing had been good, so the reports have been waiting to get done (but we did take some notes), until now. Tomorrow, we are going to fish the Little Red River near the base of the dam in hopes of catching another Arkansas Grand Slam (Brook Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Brown Trout, and Rainbow Trout all from the same river in the same day). We are going to be fishing with Matt Pederson ( and Rich Brown ( until about 1pm or so, and then we will be heading over to the Spring River and meeting up with Ron Caimi (www.troutcamprods) at Fred’s Fish House, where we hope to bum dinner for ourselves and perhaps our friends. This trip has almost come to a close, but there are a lot more fish to catch so please keep checking in.


Fish Hard,

Matt & Brent (written by Matt)