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Photo by Teresa “TBird” VanWinkle

There are essentially two larva stages of the caddis life cycle, the only major difference is species other than that is how they live in their laval stage which amounts to the fact they either make a case and reside in it during their growth or they are termed as free swimmers or net spinners.

In either cases both are vulnerable to trout either by the fact that trout pick them up from the stream bed or they become vulnerable during the stages of behavioral drift. That is when the larva by choice choose to use the natural movement of the stream to move further downstream.

In the case of our tail waters often as not caddis larva are forced to move as water levels rise and fall or are subject to the force of water flow that dislodges them from the substrate, either way there are many zones through the White River system that contains many millions of caddis larva of the different species known to habit our waters.

Depending on the caddis species and the available matter which would include aquatic vegetation, gravel, sand all of which are if you like house building materials. Some species are in fact very particular in so far as what they choose to use to form the case which is also a means to identify specific species.

Bear in mind also that after the egg of the larva is deposited by the adult caddis there is growth, in some cases caddis larva will produce a case as long as 2 inches, often known as stick caddis, in this case generally formed from small sticks.

There are many fly patterns tyed to represent either the free swimmers or cases caddis, that said in general terms it is not necessary to go to great lengths to tie elaborate fly patterns, all that is generally needed is a good representation of the caddis case. Often as not due to the fact that you need to fish the fly close to the river bed losses can be high.

In our case for the White River, caddis larva particularly at this time of the year are a good bet for sure, more to the point both Bows and large Browns love ’em. Do not let the high water deter you from fishing caddis larva, sure the water levels may change but the larva are still there. 

Past two days at Rim have produced for my fisherman some 1st class fishing.

Many of the materials you need for these flies are low cost such as peacock herl, hares ear dubbing in different colors of tan and olive. 

You may add a bead head or another preferred alternative is to lead the hook shank, which is one of my preferences or you can use the free bead method which gives you the choice of both bead color and weight.

My rigs are set up by 4 methods and generally include a dropper,normally a white tail midge.

If there is one big mistake anglers make it is fishing weight either too close to the fly or too much weight or both, it is largely a issue related to your overall leader length and the drift time to allow for the flies to sink to the productive zone.

1st Rig is simply build by tying a stop knot 1ft below this a detached dropper 1ft below that is the position for the tail fly, normally the caddis larva is tied to the dropper, weight is added above the stop knot.

2nd Rig is built by tying a dropper, 1ft to 15 ins below a stop knot 1ft to 15 inches below the tail fly is tied. Weight is added above the stop knot.

3rd Rig is built by tying a dropper, 1ft to 15 inches below a bead of choice, put on the leader then the caddis larva is tied for the tail fly.

4th Rig is built by tying a dropper, 1ft to 15 inches below the second dropper, below that 1ft to 15 inches, next you tie a stop knot, your weight is added above this stop knot.

Why do l choose to use different rigs, the answer is very simple, they all cause the flies to drift in a different manner to the stream bed, one of which will be the lost productive, the other main reason is due to the nature of the substrate l am fishing over, is it clean gravel, rocky bottom. Further the above rigs are also related to all other means of fishing a two fly nymph rig.

Caddis Flies tied by Davy Wotton July 2016 (Photo by Teresa “TBird” VanWinkle)

There are many variations tied to represent caddis cases, that is more close copy by sticking to the hook shank small stones, grit, sand, snails and so on, not to mention those patterns termed as peeping caddis with and without legs.  My long term experience is this, they may look real good in the vice are they more practical than a simple pattern, l have never found this to be the case !!

I prefer to tie my flies on small jigs hooks sizes 12/14 and in some cases where there are larger cases larva 10s and even size 8 long shank hooks.

Weight can be added either by bead or a lead wire underbody, the deal is this, you need to fish the fly close to the river bed, too much weight and you will have hang ups and lost flies. My rigs explain further how to rig up for your drifts. The advantage of jig hooks is they hang up way less

Two tips l will give you is not too make the patterns too flashy, black and copper beads are good if you use them. 2nd reverse rib the fly body with peacock herl or ostrich herl, this adds more effect to the fly body.

Caddis larva that are non case makers are a different deal here so far as suitable fly patterns. Two being most used is the green inchworm and hydropsychidae larva all be it this species forms a caddis case.

Dave Phillips with a rare Rim Shoals Trophy Rainbow Trout  measures  22″ x 16″. Caught on a DW Cased Caddis _ Davy Wotton image. July 2016


Fly of the Month May 2016



Thread…Red UTC
Hook… Your choice, l used size 14 jig hooks. Sizes from 12 /14/16
Bead…Optional, size 2mm color of choice.
Tail…..2 or 3 strands of peacock sword tail fibers
Body…Your choice either silver, gold or pearl mylar
Rib……Red wire
Thorax…SLF Prism number 22 Hares ear // or number 21 peacock.
Hackle…Any varigated hen in brown tones or hen pheasant neck or brown

One of my patterns that is a good general fish catcher, Browns love it !!

Fished either as a dead drift under a indicator of dry or used as a single
or in combination with a team of soft hackles or wet flies.

If in combination this fly should be the tail fly, not the dropper which should
be tied as a detached tag.

Insructions to tie the fly:

Add bead if needed.
Run thread from midway hook shank to just before hook bend, there catch in the sword tail fibers and the red wire rib.
Return thread toward hook eye trapping down in line with the hook shank the wire rib.
About 1/3 back from the hook eye catch in the body mylar, wind this in even close turns to the hook bend and back to the thread, secure with 3 wraps and rib the body, secure rib and cut off all surplus body and rib material.
Dub on the SLF Thorax of Hare’s Ear or Peacock. Select and wind about 2 to 3
turns of the chosen hackle, varnish head and you are done.


Subject: Safe Boating on the White and North Fork

Hello All,

I’ve heard from a couple of concerned anglers recently about boating on the White and North Fork.  The most significant concern I have heard has to do with unsafe operations (i.e., lack of courtesy towards others).  This of course is an issue of enforcement and for those who may not know, there are currently laws in place to address the safety issues:

27-101-202 (1) No person shall operate any motorboat or vessel or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, personal water craft, or similar device in a reckless or negligent manner that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person;  including, but not limited to, weaving through congested vessel traffic, operating within one hundred feet (100′) of a towboat that is underway, jumping the wake of another vessel too close to such other vessel, or when visibility around such other vessel is obstructed and swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision shall constitute reckless operation of a vessel.

27-101-202 (2) No person shall operate a motorboat on the waters of this state at a rate of speed that creates a hazardous wash or wake upon approaching or passing vessels, including, but not limited to, a wake that causes other vessels to take-on water, or a wake sufficient to toss occupants of other vessels about in a manner to cause injury or the risk of injury.

27-101-202 (3) No person shall operate a motorboat upon the waters of this state within one hundred feet (100′) of a designated recreation area, dock, pier, raft, float, anchored boat, dam, intake structure, or other obstruction at a speed exceeding five (5) miles per hour unless a contrary speed limit shall have been established in the designated area.  However, in no case shall any motorboat be driven in a manner or at a speed that exceeds the safe and reasonable limits under existing circumstances.

We encourage the public and recreational boaters to advise AGFC enforcement immediately if you witness any violations (fishing or boating) so that they can respond and hopefully take care of the issue while in progress.  The officers cannot be everywhere at the same time so they depend on the public’s assistance to make them aware of any issues.  Call 800-482-9262 and try to get the other boat’s registration number, if possible. If you know the violators by name, even better.  Your assistance in reporting these violations will hopefully alleviate the problem and lead to a more pleasant and safe experience for others.  At the suggestion of one of our anglers, we are going to consider putting out some information about these laws at the access areas to inform anglers who may not be aware the boating regulations exist.

I’ll be more than happy to discuss further if needed. Please pass this along to other anglers as you see fit.

Thanks, Christy

Christy Graham

Trout Biologist Supervisor

E-mail: | P: (870) 424-5924 | M: (870) 404-0477

posted May 24th, 2016 by Teresa “TBird” VanWinkle.


Bob Korose, from Florida has a terrific reason to smile. Davy Wotton photo

Looks like we have a good turnaround at BSD after last years didymo mess which most certainly caused the fish at the dam to suffer due to loss of food base.

The past months of high water more or less blew out the didymo and has allowed at least some better aquatic vegetation some of which is a pain in the arse.
Due to the amount of undesirable chemical issues in the lake it seems each year we see worse issues of filamentous alga, it not going to hurt
the fish, but having to make sure our flies are clean at all times is a pain. (Its going to get worse once the alga starts to die off which it will as water temps rise and generations break it.
The deal here is to avoid rising water at the time.)


Dave Chamberlain enjoys his annual Spring fishing on the White River, no wonder why. Photo courtesy of Davy Wotton.

The deal at Bull Shoals Dam is to know depths you are fishing and set your rigs up in such a way as you are not dragging flies on the river bed, further more contrary to what others may say it is not necessary to have your flies drag the river bed.
Trout are well capable of seeing your flies and for that matter naturals at least a one foot if not more above the river bed.
Natural stream hydraulics’ and varying depths not to mention structure move food sources at all depths within the water column. 

In some case l may well set my rigs up so as the flies are suspended two foot above. Its all related to the type of fly patterns you are using and how you wish to present them.


New Jersey John - Speechless, but happy! Photo courtesy of Davy Wotton

Bull Shoals Dam, as most know has always been one of my go to sections of the river, after some 20 years fishing it l am more than familiar with its whims and ways which are so very different to any other section of the White River and for the most part the habits of the trout that reside there are the same. They are very much influenced by what is going on generation wise, they chop and change where they will choose to feed in given zones based on which gates are open and there is never a constant so far as what is needed to catch them in any number or for that matter choice of flies and method those flies are presented.

Sure you can run a simple rig with a worm or nymph and maybe catch a few or none or the flies you are using will be totally ignored. I would say in all honestly that my fly box for BSD contains more different patterns than needed for the rest of the White river. Nymphs, dries, emergers, midges , soft hackles wet flies, streamers, bait fish patterns you name it, they are all needed at times.


Bob Korose said, "these fish are something else." Photo courtesy of Davy Wotton.

Gone are the days when trophy bows were somewhat the norm at the dam, 20 inch fish are for sure a prize by todays standards, and for me that is what l choose to target for my customers, way more worthy than a 20 inch Brown, l know how to catch them if they are in a feeding mood. That said we do catch a whole bunch of smaller fish.

Recent weeks at the dam have been good both for numbers and many fish from 18 to 24 inches, fish in the 3 to 5 lb class weight.


Seeing spots sure makes a guy smile, ask Mike Lloyd! Photo courtesy of Davy Wotton

Do l have a secret fly? No, not at all; it’s based on experience. 100’s of trips fishing that dam and knowing what flies to use at the time that will get the fish interested. That said the majority of my fly patterns will be related to my White Tail various chironomid patterns, super and prism midges in various colors and patterns of my grass worms.

If the fish are surface feeding then other fly patterns will come into play as will a shad kill.

Davy Wotton

(posted by Teresa “TBird” Van Winkle April 7, 2016)


Malcolm Royse had a golden day at Bull Shoals Dam on Valentine’s weekend.

30,000 cfs of water running, temps in the 20’s and a shad kill, l guess a good combination so far as the fishing and catching.


Aside from the numerous rainbows 6 trophy Browns came to the net, who could ask for more.

Who said that the 13th is a unlucky day?


Killer fly, no less the DW dying shad, fished with 10ft – 5wt at varying depths.

Way to go Malcolm!


(Posted by Teresa “TBird” VanWinkle February 2016)


Winter is the perfect time for a gathering of fly fishing families to gather.

The Annual Oklahoma Fly Fishers Extravaganza has been an event that Davy and I have enjoyed participating in for three consecutive years.

If you are in the area, come by and see us at our table; we will be tying and have items available for purchase.

Additionally there will be other vendors, tyers and guest speakers scheduled throughout the day.

The information for this can be found on this flyer.

See you there!





Hello Folks,

A number of AGFC access areas on the White and North Fork of the White (Norfork) Rivers were impacted by the Buffalo River and Crooked Creek flooding that occurred last Monday and Tuesday in Baxter and Izard Counties.  I would advise anyone putting in or taking out at access areas between Rim Shoals Access and Calico Rock Access on the White River, or at the Bill Ackerman Access on Norfork to use caution.  Debris from the flood can be found all around the access areas and flood waters have damaged some facilities, including the handicap boater transport lift at the Norfork Access.  Several portable restrooms are also out of commission at this time.  Mud, silt, and gravel covered many of the parking lots, though some have already been cleared.  While the AGFC works to assess damages and arrange repairs and clean-ups, anglers should use caution while fishing at these accesses and especially while boating.  Large debris, including logs, rootwads, and boulders have been displaced by the flood waters and your ability to see them in the water may still be limited at this time. 


Thanks for your patience as we work to get the accesses back to normal. Hope you all had a nice holiday season.




Christy Graham

Trout Biologist Supervisor

E-mail: | P: (870) 424-5924 | M: (870) 404-0477


Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

201 East 5th St. | Mountain Home, AR | 72653

O: (877) 425-7577 | F: (870) 425-6596

Posted January 4th, 2016 by Teresa “TBird” VanWinkle

The Thanksgiving holiday is over, time to go back to work.
We will be hitting the road for Chicago!

Looking forward to seeing familiar faces and making new friends; weather is supposed to be great.

If you’re in the area, and would like to join us, check out the Drift Fly Tyers website and contact them for more information.

Keep a hook in the vise,

TBird and Davy


Tue Dec 01, 2015 – 07:00 PM – Health Science Center (HSC), Room 1234
Guest Speaker Davy Wotton


Davy Wotton at the vise with a bit of company from his little Jack Russell he calls, Siana.

My first introduction to the art of fly tying was in the 1960s. At that time l was given the materials and tying tools that belonged to one of my school masters. Thus began my passion for fly tying and its relationship to fishing and catching fish. In the 1960s l began to tie flies commercially, at that time very much the old school of thought still existed so far as fly patterns were concerned. This factor alone allowed me to gain a great deal of knowledge and skill to reproduce the traditional flies.

New ways of thinking and the introduction of synthetic materials leaned me into the new era of developing new fly tying techniques and innovate new fly patterns. Many of my fly patterns are commercially produced by the world’s major producers of fishing flies. Since the early 1970s l have contributed and had published a good 100 articles and features for both fly fishing magazines and books all over the world, related to fly tying techniques and the introduction of new fly patterns. So too l have been featured on many TV shows, produced fly tying videos, and travel country at the request of fly fishing organizations to demonstrate my tying skills.

Free for DRiFT Members…Non-members $5.00 admission.

18, 000 cfs generation is not every bodies cup of tea.
When it comes to fishing the White River, granted fishing high, fast water is not quite the same as the lower flows. We fish for risers taking caddis, mayfly and midges.
Nevertheless it’s what you have to deal with when the dates are booked, which was the case when my regulars- Ed, Jim, Bob, Ted and Saxon arriving for their regular fall fishing trips with me.

That is not to say the fishing is worthless, far from it.
What it requires is intimate knowledge of the river so far as where the fish will likely be found and given the zone you are fishing; what is going to be your best option.

Some days it may be a large dry that induces a trophy Brown to show up, maybe a streamer at times, or deep water nymph tactics, not to mention traditional style wet fly, which for myself is always a good bet.

Contrary to belief neither is fishing rigs with large gaudy flies or heavy weight the only game in town. 
Each section of the river may require a different approach. 
Granted a good choice is to fish close to banks, but not always. Mid-stream shallows over gravel bars and rock structure will likely hold fish, as will slow water run offs from fast water seams.
Fishing over grass and moss beds may also be productive at times.
Fact is fish will tend to move around during high water flows.
Even better, high water flows are good for the Rainbows to add some weight.

Generally at this time of the year the Browns have packed on weight in readiness for the spawn season and may not be as aggressive as they were earlier in the year.
Often as not the females are heavy with eggs and are less likely to have interest in larger food sources. It is at such times that smaller flies will better the larger patterns, which was certainly the case for my fisherman.
Racking up between them some impressive numbers of Bows, Browns and Cutthroats, some of which are included in the pictures shown.






By the way two of the larger Browns were caught fishing DW style wet fly tactics, size 12 hook flies !!!


(Posted by Teresa “TBird” VanWinkle)

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