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Author Topic: Davy Wotton's White River Report  (Read 617 times)

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Davy Wotton's White River Report
« on: February 14, 2007, 08:52:01 AM »
2006 is gone, and l am sure many of you guys will have some great fishing memories for this past year, big fish landed big fish lost, and great days out there on the rivers.

This year for myself has been a great one, overall the fishing on the rivers has been about as good as you can get. The caddis hatches this year were spectacular, in fact just about the best l have seen any place in the world l have fished.
Along with the average temperatures, and lower water flows for most of the year have provided for many options within the system for both wade fishing and drift fishing.

The midge fishing at Bull shoals dam , has been some of the best l have seen there for many years, very large numbers of fish remained in that zone through the year, dispite the lower food base.
When we did have lower flow rates, one to two gates open, the drift fishing was unreal on some of those days.
If there is any down side here at the dam zone, it is the incidence of the didy, or rock snot as it is now called. There is no doubt that the accumulation of this has reduced food base for the trout, and growth rates have not been as they should be.
There was a definite decline of the larger Bows we would normally see there, fish in the 3 to 6lb mark. Saying that we did see some very good Brooks, Cutts and Browns through the season caught.

At this time there is no known means to kill off didy, fortunately we are not in the same situation that exists in NZ, where rivers have been closed due to the accumulation of didy.

Whether or not we will see a shad kill this winter period remains to be seen. At this time the lakes are full, the water temperatures are high. It would take a long period of very cold weather to reduce the temps down in the lakes, stun the shad.
That is not to say that at times some shad will become drawn through the system into the rivers below the dams, you never know.
I will keep you posted if there is any change here.

Sadly again the Norfork river suffered badly as the lakes turned over, the DO levels were way down, fish died and those that survived became very stressed. For one l do not understand why a fishery that is so valuable to the economy, is not funded by some means to provide for the introduction of systems that can essentially deal with this problem, which l might add are well known by the powers that could deal with the problems.
Not only this, the Norfork river has also suffered from the effects of a development that caused excessive amounts of mud and silt to be deposited into the river. At times when we have seen heavy rain, for the best past the river is not fishable.
In this case the developer is being dealt with by ADEQ, TU, and other interested persons who fight for the causes or maintaining our rivers as clean water systems, but it is a hard battle, no doubt of that.
There are many other issues out there that also need to be addressed.

This past month we have seen heavy rain falls and high water floods. That in turn washes massive amounts of shore line structure, timber, gravel, mud and silt into the river basin. Each time we see this, the river substrate in many zones is changed. In some cases what was good holding water no longer is, and in others it provides habitat. It does scour the river, but nature has a way of dealing with the elements we have no control over.

As of now the rivers have settled down from the effects of the flood. I have fished out there a number of times this past week and the fishing is as good as you can get, at least where l chose to fish the clients.

As of now, they are running continuous generation on the Norfork river, Bull shoals is seeing very moderate flow rates, with many hours of total shutdown.
Temperature in the White river system above the confluence is still way up there, and that has provided for very good fishing. You may well find that the water is stained and a little colored, which is something we do see at this time of the year, but it is not full of trash as such, the floods well cleaned the shore lines of debris.

As a rule at this time of the year much of the food base is dormant, when warmer water temps exist, that in turn causes the fish to become active and look for food, that in turn provides for good fishing.
As a matter of interest, Dave Whitlock and myself, Christmas eve fly fished the tailwater below Tenkiller lake in OK. We had a afternoon of catching large mouth bass like you would not believe. Just goes to show you never know unless you are out there.

So far as the White and Norfork are concerned. If there are likely to be any hatches they will be midge and BWO.
The Spring river will also provide for some great fishing at this time of the year, so do not dismiss this destination.

Best bet will be, for the lower water scenarios, indicator fishing with such flies as scuds, eggs, midge pupa, emergers and dry midge if fish are surface feeding, prince, hares ear, Ptails various.
Along with that, wooly buggers, wet fly and soft hackles.

So far as midge pupa are concerned, at this time of the year, unless fishing to surface feeding fish, l will use flies in the size 12 to 16 hook range, primarily black, red and claret. Bead heads of silver, black and gold, you will find there will be a preference given the day.
They can be deadly, when wade of drift fishing.

If you are fishing colored water, the it may well pay to fish flies that have more color and incorporate some degree of flash in the tail or thoraxic regions, in the case of nymph and pupa.
White, black/red, orange combinations for streamers and wooly buggers can work wonders fished on intermediate and sink tip lines also at this time.

The Browns have all but spawned, are lean and sultry at times. They may or may not feed, either way, do not subject them to additional stress, release them as soon as you can, and make sure that they are able to swim away.
Often such fish will after being caught, swim a short way and turn over, they will most times die in this case, unless you hold them upright so as they gain sufficient strength to hold them selves upright.

What's New.

This year, l have become the President of the now formed Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery.
What this amounts to is this. The Norfork hatchery, that provides for the bulk of the fish stocked into the rivers, is in need of funding, over and above what is funded for the budget to maintain the facility.

A friends group acts as a advocate for the hatchery, and is accepted by the US Fish and Wildlife as a legitimate organization that can raise funds by many means, such as membership, donations and fund raising events.
That money can then be used to provide of many things within the hatchery. With the consultation of the hatchery manager, and his wishes as such.

At this time we need resources to improve the access to Dry Run creek for all legal users. At this time access is very limited.

Provide for more public amenities such as a visitor center, that in turn allows for us to provide means for educational acidity. Fish food dispensers, so the kids can feed the fish, and so on.
Our goal is to over all provide for the tourist and local community acidity at the hatchery that all will benefit from, which at this time does not exist.

The Norfork hatchery is the largest Federal Hatchery in the country, no other river system in the country is as dependent as we are to this facility for our fish.
Fishing activity to the area is worth millions of dollars, it is about time that the hatchery is a major part of public recognition for this resource that we enjoy.

It needs our support. You can e-mail me direct for further information so far as membership and additional information.

OK, it just remains for me to say.

On behalf of myself, Gary and Mary Cooley who host the OMW site that provides you with the rivers report, have a very happy and prosperous New Year, and many tight lines. We can all dream about the fish of a life time !!

See you in 2007.

Davy Wotton.
http://davywotton.com/
It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly. ~Thoreau