It seems that the North Fork of the White River is pretty hot right now. With Brian Wise, Justin Spencer, myself, and several others are posting photos on local forums of all the big fish the river has been giving up recently; the stream is definitely getting some good press (there also was an article in the latest issue of Fly Fisherman by Zach Matthews featuring friends of the OC (Brian Wise, Kyle Kosovich, and Randy Hanner). The only saving grace about the press the river is getting, is that it is so damn hard to get to from all of the populated areas in Missouri and Arkansas. It helps to keep the crowds down.
With all that being said, and the fishing being red hot, I found myself back on the North Fork of the White River this past weekend with a couple of streamer addicts that I met over the internet (Dan Held and Paul Chausse). Dan and Paul are good guys, even if they are flatlanders, and they offered to swing by my house on the way through STL to pick me up and afforded me the first trip in a long time that I didn’t drive on……and it was damn nice.
We ended up staying at River of Life Farm on the banks of the North Fork of the White River. With the “Winter Rates”, the place is an affordable fish camp with some high end luxuries. It is a bit tougher to cook potatoes o’brien, scrambled eggs, and biscuits and gravy while tent camping along the river; but it was easy peasy this past weekend.
The weekend was a streamer weekend, and Dan and Paul came prepared. We were fishing big nasty schlappin inspired streamers. On Saturday we floated from ROLF to Patrick bridge and didn’t squeak a fish into the boat the entire day. We floated the day with Brian and Jenny Wise and Jenny had a consistent nymph bite on a brown wigglestone down deep. It was a great day to be on the water, the temps were in the high 50’s and we didn’t see an another person on the river the entire day. It was the way a winter day on the NFOW is supposed to go.
On Sunday, Paul and I floated from ROLF to Blair bridge and took our nymph rods out of the boat so as not to tempt us into breaking the skunk off. It was a short float, as Dan stayed back because he wasn’t feeling well and just met us at the take-out. In the short 3hr float, we boated 3 fish with the biggest being a 17″ brown. All the fish were caught on a rainbow schlappen inspired fly tied by Paul Chausse. It was a good float and much needed after the day before. But quite simply it was a weekend that we had to put in our dues.
Traveling with new fishing buddies is always a delicate dance, it is the fisherman’s equivalent to the first date. How does he pack, what does he pack, can he fish, does he pitch in and help around camp, etc. A fishing trip is a fishing trip, but we all know that there are only a few that we can travel with. Dan, Paul, and I seemed to hit our stride and the traveling and the fishing went well. I am certain it was the first of a few more trips.
All in all it was another good weekend on the water.
I have quite a few things planned in the coming weeks, so be sure to check out the site for updates.