Several days of heavy rains dumped tons of water into the White River system, raising the elevation of Bull Shoals from just below pool of 654’ to 672’, and is rapidly climbing. Weather forecasts indicate another day of rain, and the lake is expected to continue to rise to approximately 680’ by Friday 4-29-11.
I took a quick spin around the lake this morning to access the conditions, and found the main lake temperature to be 54 degrees. Boaters should exercise extreme caution while motoring, as the lake is full of floating timber. The flooding we experienced a few years back pushed the lake level to the top of the flood pool for extended periods. The high water killed the trees causing massive buildups of debris, which is now being washed into the lake, causing hazardous boating conditions.
I also had a look under my dock with my submersible camera and saw absolutely nothing. I have three large fish attractors hanging below my dock, which do an excellent job of attracting and holding fish. I would assume the fish are holding in deeper water until the weather and water levels become more consistent.
So what does all this mean to everybody wanting to go fishing? Very good news, I would say. The fickle weather patterns before this last storm, combined with low water temperatures, has delayed spawning activities for many of the different fish species. Now, with the water spread out over shallower shorelines, I would expect to see a rapid increase in water temperatures (providing we get some nice weather). The warmer water will be the key to the fish resuming their spawning activities, in earnest.
In short, the fishing could be explosive, in the next couple of weeks, with warm water and plenty of cover for the fish to spawn in. Just as importantly, for the long term, the fry will have cover to hide in, causing a decrease in mortality, and a huge increase in fish populations in the years to come.
All in all, I would say the recent rains are a blessing for the lake, and fish, and those of us who love to chase them.
River fishing should get a shot in the arm as well. Wading fly fisherman, who have been enjoying an incredible spring caddis hatch may be waving their fists at the increase in river water levels. However, no one can argue with the fact that it has been a winter of extremely low flows, which provided weeks of excellent wading opportunities. Now, those fishing from boats get their crack at some higher water brown trout fishing!