31 July 2010

Mountain Home, Arkansas

Cody and I decided we had not had enough of the White River, so Friday, we crossed the border and headed to Mountain Home, Arkansas to fish the Middle White River running below Bull Shoals.  Reaching Cotter and setting up at the Denton Ferry RV park and then heading to the Blue Ribbon Fly Shop to buy our licenses put us back too late to fish the Cotter Access.  We tried to follow the directions to Rim Shoals, but we never could find Baxter County Rd. 3, even with Cody's three GPSes.  Evidently, Cody really wanted to get to Rim Shoals, because he let me talk him into stopping at the grocery store in Gassville to ask for directions.  Now, I asked and Cody sat in the car, until he thought it was taking too long, and he came in to find out what was happening.  What was happening was that I got lucky and was introduced to Wanda, Gassville City Secretary!  Wanda gave and drew perfect directions, and off to Rim Shoals we were.
Being the weekend, the White River is crowded.  When we arrived, it was not shoulder-to-shoulder, but many a fisherman lined along the shoals (small rapids or water riffles).  Cody and I staked a claim and commenced fishing.  I pulled in two fish--two very small fish, approximately two inches in length.  They were colored beautifully, which means they were healthy.  Cody was fishing an extremely lightweight tippet, so he kept breaking off as fish took his flies.  The water levels began to rise at Rim Shoals, so we left and went to the Cotter Access and fished Big Spring.  Just up from the confluence of Big Spring and the White River, some of the largest Brown Trout swim.  Educated, these 25 - 35 inch monsters leisurely swam out of the way of everything we tossed to them.  Even when we fished topwaters, the smaller, younger trout hit in front, behind, and to the sides of our flies.  Oh well, dream on.

Saturday, we put the Mitzi (which called Mountain Home and Blue Ribbon Fly Shop home for many weeks prior to the 2005 Southern Council Conclave when Cody won her in a raffle) in at Wildcat Shoals, motored upriver about 2 miles and floated down.  Cody dominated the White, today.  I caught one fish; Cody caught a dozen.  I tried nymphing, but Olive Wooly Buggers were the fly of the day.  Cody even called several of his fish.  Me, I had one poor idiot Rainbow try to eat my small, pink Thing-a-ma-Bobber, completely ignoring my copper midge and hot pink San Juan Worm. 

The Middle White River shares similarities with the Upper White River at Lake Taneycomo.  Bull Shoals Dam generates differently than Table Rock Dam, but the river sections still support large numbers of Rainbow and Brown Trout.  Branson's elevation runs about 1200 ft. above sea level, while Mountain Home's elevation is half that, running a little above 600 ft.  With the different elevations there is not much effect on the water temperatures, because Mountain Home's temps are about 57 degrees.  Wider than Lake Taneycomo, the Middle White's limestone and pebble bottom is more visible and possesses more gravel beds.  The numbers of fish are about equal, but we did catch larger and brighter colored fish at Lake Taneycomo.  Both sections are heavily fished, but the trout seem to handle the pressure.  The humidity is still high and fog rolls on the river easily; it just doesn't start as early or stay as late in Mountain Home.  The high canyon-esque walls are not present in Arkansas, but the Arkansas Ozarks offer pretty vistas, too.

Tomorrow, after talking with Larry Babin at Blue Ribbon Fly Shop, we are going to wet wade for Smallmouth Bass on Crooked Creek.  I am excited, because while we are in the trout capitol, I love bass fishing!  Hopefully, it is Fish On! tomorrow with lots of pictures!

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