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Shad Kill and High Water= Great fishing

March 2, 2023

James with a great White River Brown Trout

Bull Shoals Lake has finally filled to power pool levels, and with that we have seen a little more consistent and higher water. Flows have ranged from 10,000 cfs to 17,000 cfs which has improved the fishing since the last report. With the higher water, we saw an early shad kill and we have tried to spend at least part of our days at the dam to cash in on the fat rainbow and brown trout scooping up the dying shad. While this type of fishing can be either hot or cold, if you hit it at the right time, you can find yourself in some of the easiest fishing of the year. The wiggle minnow bite has been sporadic, but it's a real hoot to watch trout engulf a top water fly. A more consistent way to catch fish is with a white mop fly or a whistle pig paired with either an egg or attractor nymph. Make sure you are fishing deep enough and you should be able to find a good number of willing trout. The streamer fishing has been sporadic, but fish are willing to eat them if you put in the time and effort required. I have been having success with medium sized articulated streamers such as the Mini Viking Midge and the Articulated Sparkle Minnow.

The Norfork continues to fish well and generally encounters less boats than the White River. You can never go wrong with an egg pattern, paired with a Sunday Special or a Tailwater Jig. Also, be on the lookout for shad as it can also produce excellent fishing and provide an opportunity to fool some of the giants that live there.

The first cast of the day was a good one for James

T-shirts and sunsets on the river are tough to beat

Caroll with a healthy White River Rainbow

In closing, I just ask that you stay safe out there and try to be respectful to the other boaters on the river. During a good shad kill the river can become crowded, but there is more than enough room (and fish) for all of us.


-Rudy Chelednik


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