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)