Been waiting all spring for the water to warm, guess what fans? It be warm now. The lake went from 65 to 85 in the last couple of weeks, and now it is just plain hot. On top that, the lake is clear as a bell, all the rain and water moving through gave it a real good flushing.
Many shad have been running around the flooded trees, giving the fish plenty to eat without having to do much more than open their mouths and let them swim in. However, with the water at 85, the shad and game fish are spending their days in deeper water. Gars have been the primary target for this fly fisher, and they have been providing lots of fun. Loafing around in the flooded treetops, drop a fly near them, and tease up a strike. When they hit, give them the rod (slack) until they run, then start applying pressure. The trick is getting them out of their backwater holding areas without getting hung in all the trees.
Make sure to bring along another rod rigged with a chugger or popper and a shad dropper, set down a couple feet. The spotted and white bass can sometimes be seen rounding the shad up and driving them to the surface. Run over as fast as possible (without spooking them) and cast to the shad busting the surface and strip like hell, and you may be rewarded with a nice Kentucky or white bass.
Now for the rivers: Both Norfork generators were down for repair so the ACOE was releasing water through the floodgates. This activity was cause for concern as the water release came from higher up in the lakes water column, water released through the turbines’ is generally deeper and cooler. One generator is now back on line and the river water is now running a little cooler, at about 60 degrees. Fishing has been great on the Norfork as there is a massive hatch of the 13-year cicadas and the fish are going nuts for them. Large dry flies are a blast to fish (you can actually see it) and the fish are tearing them up. Nice catches of 16” to 22” browns, rainbows and cutthroats are being had every day.
The White River is clear and the fishing is good. The ACOE is slowing the release of water through the floodgates and the river is very fishable with the water lever at about 461” (9 feet over dead low). I would expect the trend to continue in the weeks to come.