If you’re the type to wait until the fishing really heats up, you better be getting the boat ready. You won’t need anything but a fast sinking line and a handful of size 6 clousers (pink over white and olive over grey) to get you in the fish. Bull Shoals is fishing well in depths anywhere from 6 feet to 35 feet, depending on what you are after.
Very nice 20 inch plus walleyes are hitting well, keep the boat over 35 feet of water and presenting to the shoreline will do the trick. Primary points and the backside of primary points seem to be holding the most fish. Spotted bass are a little shallower, soft secondary points with some exposed brush will hold fish. Fishing over 18 to 25 feet and casting towards the brush will produce nice catches of 12 to 16 inch fish. Slab crappies are coming to net with the same presentation in the same locations. Be prepared to do battle with a giant carp at anytime this time of year, as they are back in the creek arms as well and eagerly take minnow imitations.
White bass are on the primary and secondary points in 8 to 15 foot depths, keeping the fly moving fast is the key to triggering strikes with them. Largemouths are starting to move to the 8 to 12 foot range along soft secondary points and banks. You can upsize your presentation to 1/0 size clousers and make sure they have some green in them. Smallmouth bass are still a little deeper and being caught while chasing walleyes. Until the water warms up just a bit more, no special tricks are required to catch them, but they should move shallower soon!
If you’re after something bigger and have never tried gar on the fly, that is just around the corner. Right now, gar are spawning along the main lake bluffs. When they finish in another week, they will move to the brush in the creek arms to rest up. Make up a few rope flies by taking a piece of 6 to 8 inch ¼” to 3/8” nylon rope, secure it to a 1/0 saltwater hook, comb out the rope end and tease it back into a ball. Grab your nine weight and a floating line and sight fish to fish in the shallow water brush. Casting a few feet past the fish and pausing the fly just in front of their nose will sometimes trigger explosive strikes. Remembering NOT to set the hook takes a little practice. Let the fish run and get the rope caught in their teeth, then apply pressure. Pack some bandages, you’ll need ‘em! Whatever you decide to fish for, now is the time to get out on your favorite lake and take advantage of this special time of year.