The White River Floods in the past two weeks have been a major concern to many people who live on the White and Norfork rivers. We have experienced near record rainfalls for the month of April and Bull Shoals Lake has risen over 25 ft in two weeks. For most river systems in the US, this would “blow out” the rivers and make them unfishable or at least very difficult to fish at best.
One of the points that makes the White River one of the most amazing trout fisheries in the country is that the top 30 miles of river is never blown out! Below Bull Shoals Dam, the first significant watershed that can affect water clarity and water or current level is Crooked Creek. Located approximately 30 river miles below the dam, when it floods anything below it and the Buffalo River are directly in mother natures path. This can be problematic at best for the trout fisherman dealing with water discoloration, high current level and floating and submerged debris.
This brings me to the earlier point. When the White River floods, the first 30 miles of river is virtually unaffected! Most certainly the water may cloud up or be muddy immediately after a torrential rain. But as soon as they open even one gate at the Bull Shoals Dam, within a few short hours the “bad water” is quite literally flushed down stream. Depending how many gates are opened, the river can clear as fast as 6 or 7 miles per hour. This is in stark contrast to our western mountainous rivers that can take weeks to clear up with a steady flood of snow melt or heavy spring rains.
As I write this note after the recent 15 inches of rain, the White River below the lodge is crystal clear and fishing very well all the way down to Crooked Creek. The sulfur hatch has not quite gotten started yet, but should begin in the next week or two and run well into June. The bite on midges under indicators and small streamers has been very good. And as always on the White River, the spinfishermen are wearing the trout out on twitch baits and small marabou jigs. Bait fishermen are doing well on power bait, minnows, and redworms drifted on the bottom on river rigs.
If trout fishing is your passion and is usually on your agenda, or if perhaps you need more info on the White River Fishery, you can subscribe to our Blog and check out our weekly report on the conditions of the river and hatch forecasts. In lieu of that, if you have specific questions, just pick up the phone anytime and give me a call at 870.430.2233, and I’ll try to answer them for you. Until next time, have a great week and take somebody fishing with you.Share on Facebook