Our family just returned from a week in the Ozarks, home of the legendary White River and some huge trout.
For the first half of the trip, we were a short drive from the Little Red River, a tailwater and tributary to the White. It once gave up the world record brown trout, and continues to produce trophy fish. A national fish hatchery sits on the banks, and the trout stack up below the outlets, where we fished for the day. There was no generation, so we enjoyed low water for the afternoon. I started with a Gormans Egg and a gray
scud for a dropper. Noah dredged a streamer and Braden fished an egg with a zebra midge dropper. Within a few casts I hooked a ten inch rainbow on the scud, my first Arkansas trout. Noah got a bite on his streamer, but after that the fishing slowed down. We moved downstream to the next outlet. This outlet had a steep drop off close to the bank, and held tons of fish, including some monster rainbows (25″). As I waded across I noticed some rainbows nymphing in 6″ of water just above the drop off. At this time I had a bead head Nuke Egg on and drifted it to the trout. When it was about a foot from the trout it got lodged in the sand, but the trout didn’t care. He swam right up in the shallow
water and grabbed that thing off the bottom. He turned, and I set the hook. As soon as he felt the metal, he shot across the riffle into the fast water and made a few hard runs before he broke my 6x tippet. It was a nice fish too, around 16″! The trout were nymphing and occasionally dimpling the surface eating midges. They were very selective and refused a number of patterns. Upon the recommendation another fisherman, I tied on a blood midge, which worked for another 12″ rainbow. I was on the other side of the outlet when I heard Braden shout “got one”! I splashed across the outlet and net the fish, a respectable rainbow that also ate a blood midge. By that time it was almost dark, so we packed up and ended a great day on a great river.
Little Red River with Greers Ferry Dam in the background
We spent the next half of the trip on Lake Taneycomo in Branson,
My biggest fish of the trip. Look at the colors
Missouri. Before we hit the water on Wednesday we stopped at River Run Outfitters, a great little shop just minutes from the river. When we got to the river we had low water, as the schedule had said the night before. Trout were rising and I put on a tiny cdc bwo comparadun to try and match the hatch of midges or possibly blue winged olives. I spotted a trout rising steadily about twenty feet out. I waited for him to rise again and made a cast. A few seconds into the drift and the trout gulped my fly. Somehow the size twenty hook stuck. He made a few runs and came to the net. A beautiful sixteen incher, my biggest of the trip.
Back to swim another day
After I released him, I hiked a little ways upstream to a riffle that had fish rising in it. Before I could get a good cast, I heard some splashing and shouting downstream. Noah had hooked a fish and it was splashing like crazy. Since I was the only one with rubber boots, I ran over to net the fish. I got the fish on the first scoop. It was another big rainbow, around 16″ (Noah thinks it was 17″). Noah caught it on a Zoo Cougar, the polar opposite of the tiny dry I caught my big fish on. I went back to my riffle and caught a small rainbow on a blood midge before the horn blew and the water went up, ending our day of fishing.
On Thanksgiving we went fishing with Grandpa in a small creek behind the hotel. We caught a few green sunfish and saw a pod of carp, but couldn’t get them to bite.
Grandpa went with us to Lake Taneycomo for a solid day of fishing to rising fish almost all day long. We stopped by the hatchery outlets but they were crazy busy. I mean like fifteen people fishing an outlet! It was way too busy for my liking, so we drove down to the boat landing and found a less busy spot. This time we had some higher water, but the fish were still rising. Noah
Braden caught this trout on a cdc bwo
caught the first fish, a healthy 12 inch bow. As usual, he was fishing a streamer. For the next hour or so, the fishing was pretty good. I caught a feisty little bow on the same cdc fly I had used on Wednesday. Braden caught his first two Taneycomo trout on the cdc olive fly, both decent fish. Then it was Grandpa’s turn. He made a good cast, got a great drift, and his fly was slammed by a 14″ rainbow. He played it well and landed a nice fish. There was a lot more current today, so the fish were on the current seams instead of scattered throughout the “lake”. Noah switched to an Adams and landed another rainbow. After that fish the trout stopped rising as steadily and appeared to be eating emergers. I switched to a Ausable Bomber dry fly and a blood midge dropper. I cast the flies to a fish expecting the midge to be eaten. Surprisingly, a bow rose and grabbed the big dry. I set the hook and landed another rainbow. Two more trout took the bomber and ignored the blood midge. It was awesome to see midging trout take the big dry. The trout started rising again, so I tied on the cdc olive. The fish were in a seam rising like crazy. I caught three more trout, all rainbows, on the tiny dry as the sun was setting. It was great to do some trout fishing in November.
Grandpa's big rainbow