White River

Thursday, March 24, 2011 , , 0 Comments

The White River in Arkansas is one of the most famous trout rivers in the central US. A cold river tailwater, the White flows out of Bull Shoals Dam, at a consistent temperature in the high 30's - low 40's. This occurs because the dam pulls water out of the bottom of Bull Shoals lake, below the thermocline,  which can get as deep as 200 ft deep. Four different trout species exist in the river: Rainbow, Cutthroat, Brook, and Brown Trout, with the dominant species being Rainbow Trout. Most of these are in the 1 lb range and are mostly stocked, but for Bret and I the reason on heading down was monster Brown Trout. On a tributary of the White , the Little Red, the World Record Brown Trout of 40 lb 4 oz. was caught in 1992. It is not uncommon for Brown's to be caught in the 5-8 lb range and a few 20-30 lb fish are caught each year. We fished solely with fly gear and after 4 days of non-stop fly fishing I think we both came out much better fly anglers. On Saturday we fished with the Free State Fly Fishers, the local Lawrence Fly Club; Sunday we waded up and down the river by ourselves; Monday we fished with a guide Ron Yarborough, and Tuesday we went to the Spring River out of Mammoth Springs. It was a great trip, we caught a lot of fish, and Bret landed one really nice Brown. I would recommend the White to any angler. 

Bret and I, just before heading out on our first excursion into the river. 

Bret gets the first fish, Rainbow on a Zebra Midge.

Stan the Man! Saturday the fishing was really tough. Even the most experienced anglers in the club were  having a difficult time catching fish. That is except Stan, all day he was able to produce fish, over 30,  and ended the night with a Brown Trout. 

My first White River Trout, Rainbow on an Olive Wooly Bugger. 

Beautiful Morning View of the White River.

Replica of the World Record Brown Trout: 40 lb 4 oz.

Replica of the State Record Rainbow Trout, 19 lb 1 oz. White River 1981.

Bret Landing a Rainbow, Crackleback. 

Rainbow on a Green Wooly Bugger. 

Small midge patterns worked well all week. 

Green Soft Hackle

Another great looking rainbow from Bret.

Nice to see signs of spring, when we had snow in Lawrence last week.

Casting above some Ripples

Releasing a 2 lb Rainbow, caught on a Crackleback variation. One thing we noticed is that trout are deceptively small on camera. A 2 lb trout looks much smaller in a photo then say a 2 lb Largemouth.

First cast below the Dam, Bret catches an 8 lb Brown Trout, 24 inches, amazing fish Bret! Put up a great fight. Caught with guide Ron Yarborough from a boat. The water went up several feet during the night. Earlier that week Ron caught a Rainbow which released eggs once in the boat. This meant there could still be some Rainbow Trout spawning up near the dam so we tried an egg pattern to capitalize on this.

Fishing from Boat, below Bull Shoal Dam.

3 lb Rainbow, Zebra Midge.

Small but beautifully colored Rainbow

Bret lands another great fish, 4 lb Rainbow. San Juan Worm.

Okay, no where near the size of Brets Brown, but I still was able to catch my first Brown Trout on the White. Egg Pattern. 

My St. Croix #4 Avid. This was my primary rod on the trip.

Tuesday we left for home but stopped at Mammoth Springs to fish the Spring River. This is at its source. 

Bret wading the Spring River. Beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, we later learned from some guys at the Springfield that it is fished very heavily and few fish are released. We caught no trout that day.

Casting Line on the Spring River. May not have caught any trout but it was a beautiful river to wade on our last day.


Kansas Fishing Report

Thursday, March 24, 2011 , 1 Comments

For anglers in Kansas, there exists a wonderful resource to see fishing conditions at various lakes and rivers across the state. The Kansas Fishing Report is published on Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website. Generally, it is updated weekly and gives not only the current report for each lake by species it also details the total outlook for the lake that year based upon sampling. The state is broken into five regions across Kansas. Lawrence and the surrounding area are located in region two. 

Check it out here: Kansas Fishing Report