It’s been a while since my last report, and Bull Shoals has seen a lot of changes in the last few weeks. Heavy rains pounded the area in late April, raising the lake level to just above 693, and is just now starting to slowly drop. More rain is predicted starting tomorrow, and continuing for the next few days. We have been blessed with some clear, sunny days, however, not enough to get the lake temperature much above 65 degrees, cool nights have also hindered the lakes warming.
The good news is, the fish had plenty of cover to do their spawning, and the young have plenty of places to hide. At this point, I would say just about everything except the catfish have completed spawning activities, and are hanging around the abundant cover while they recover and rest. More good news is that there seems to be a good supply of threadfin shad moving around the shallows, giving the game fish plenty to dine on.
The lake has cleared up considerably in the last two weeks and has gone from the color of chocolate milk to “rather clear” considering all the debris that washed in. I have not noticed a lot of fishing activity-taking place, but I do want to say, do not let the rain and high water deter your spring and summer vacation plans. Fishing high water is just another way to test your fishing skills, adapt your presentations, whether they are live bait or casting fly’s. Let’s face it, it is easy to do the same thing, year after year, but what do you learn? Yeah, it’s harder to go out and try new things, to adapt to new challenges, to fish in ways you may not be familiar with. But, isn’t that what’s it’s really all about?
So, with that in mind, why not try something new? Something like latching on to three or four, or even five feet of toothy gar with a fly rod and a rope fly. With the water high, and the warm sunny weather coming, the gar are lazing around the flooded trees, just waiting for some unsuspecting passer bye to make the fatal mistake of coming just a little too close. If you have yet to try targeting gar, you are in for some high voltage fun! I guarantee, you will never look at gar the same way again, after you tackle them on a fly rod.
Twitch your fly, perpendicular to a motionless gar, and let it rest about eight inches in front of its nose and watch it come alive in an explosive strike. They fight well, like to bulldog, then run like hell. On a calm, clear day, expect to have several opportunities to tease a strike, many follow ups and a few “takes” if all goes well. Don’t let lack of experience with a fly rod deter you, with a little practice, you’ll have enough ability to get the job done, and a whole new respect for gar, and even yourself, for giving it a try. We have everything you need, tackle and instruction, all included.
The Whiter River, as always, is fishing well. Water releases are running between 12,000 and 16,000cfs, and should continue for some time to come. Wading is out, but it’s a great time for a beautiful day of fishing from the Loch Leven. Streamers do well in high water , as do eggs and San Juan Worms fished under an indicator just above the flooded grass.
Whatever, you choose, lake or river, it’s the perfect time for a day of fishing. Remember to be careful on the lake, as there is still some timber floating around. The river, as everyone (hopefully) knows, always demands respect and even more so with increased flows.
Good luck, and be safe!