Well, it’s hard to believe, but the local press finally gave us the credit we deserve here on the White River… 🙂 Just wanted you to see that I’m not the only one saying how great the trout fishin’ is right now… here’s an article from our local paper, the Baxter Bulletin:
Twin Lakes Area waters stabilize after flood; anglers report good fishing
11:00 PM, May. 31, 2011
Swift water passes through the basement of a home along the White River on Tuesday. / JOSH DOOLEY/THE BAXTER BULLETIN
Fishing guide Donald Cranor prepares to unhook a brown trout after catching it just 28 seconds from the time he cast his bait into the White River on Tuesday. Anglers fishing below Bull Shoals Dam on the White River Tuesday reported good fishing. / JOSH DOOLEY/THE BAXTER BULLETIN
Anglers on the mighty White River backed up reports Tuesday of a fast, hard bite that came with a record flow from Bull Shoals Dam that made riverbed of land along the river that hadn’t been inundated since the dam began service in 1957.
Bull Shoals Lake crested Friday at 695.5 feet above mean sea level — 105 percent of capacity — and appeared Tuesday morning to be on course to fall to 693 feet by Friday, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman P.J. Spaul.
In the absence of substantial new rainfall in the White River Basin, Corps hydrologists likely will order the dam to trim floodgate releases again possibly today, Spaul said.
The Corps is required to hold back floodwaters probably for months, or as long as a river gauge on the White River at Newport remains above 12 feet, Spaul said. Thursday morning the river at Newport was measured at 28.3 feet.
Seventeen floodgates stood open 2.2 feet high for most of the day Tuesday, releasing water at a rate of 37,800 cubic feet per second. That release combined with flows through five generators raised the total release to 42,000 cfs.
A tour of the river Tuesday afternoon found moderate damage to the biggest commercial docks on the river at Gaston’s and Stetson’s resorts. Ends of the docks that bore the brunt of the current crumpled, but neither dock had lost more than two boat slips.
Guides on the river Tuesday reported excellent fishing in eddies inside and downstream from any bend or breakwater in the river. Guide Donald Cranor said the water following over new ground apparently yielded lots of food that brought large numbers of fish to school downstream from the breakwaters.
A tour of the river with Cranor Tuesday afternoon found several guides using all tackle types, catching fish at a brisk pace. Guide Pete Cobb fishing with friends Moose and Tina Watson were observed pulling in trout in singles and doubles to the boat piloted by Cobb.
Fly guide Ron Yarborough reported catching and releasing 11 quality brown trout during an outing ending at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Cranor demonstrated the quick, hard bite twice for a Bulletin camera Tuesday — the first cast hooking a 15-inch rainbow trout in less than 90 seconds; the second cast took a 17-inch brown trout in 28 seconds.
Earlier in the day Tuesday, Cranor guided Larry and Sherry Richards of St. Louis. The pair caught and released one 4.5-pound brown trout, a 3-pounder and several other fish in the 2- to- 2.5-pound weight range.
“I was surprised,” said Larry Richards. “We couldn’t rent a boat. I’d been fishing with Cranor a few years ago. I called him and he said, ‘If you don’t come right now you’re really missing out.’ ”
“He wasn’t kidding.
“We have never, ever caught them like that before,” Richards said.
On the lake side of Bull Shoals and Norfork dams, veteran guide Darrell Binks said he and his guiding peers are finding the striper and hybrid striper bass bite on white spoons at a depth around 35 feet.
Bass and bluegill fishing is excellent in the brushy shorelines around the lake for the anglers who will go in after them. Binks said brush anglers are looking for any still water with a scum on it.
“About the only fishing the high water hurt is the crappie,” Binks said. “Those fish are as far back in the brush as they can get.”
“I saw a guy and wife (Tuesday) morning with a stringer of bluegill. Some of them were 10 inches,” he said.
Binks said he has some vacancies in his guide booking calendar, as do most lake guides, because of the rain that seemed never would end. During the past three days of relative calm on the lakes, though, Binks says he has not failed to take limits of striper and hybrid striper. The fish range from 8 pounds to 16 pounds, but most in the 8- to 10-pound range.
“The lakes have settled down just like they did in 2008,” Binks said. “There will be a lot of fish caught this season.”
Spaul said communities along the river downstream from Bull Shoals Dam were spared an incomprehensible disaster by the presence of three Corps dams in the river’s main channel and Norfork Dam on the North Fork of the White River.
“It will be a few days before we know all of our peak inflows during this event, but we believe now that Bull Shoals Lake at peak inflow received runoff from the rain at about 400,000 cubic feet per second and Table Rock received a peak flow of about 300,000 cubic feet per second,” Spaul said. “The dams performed well.”
Spaul said the known inflow of 700,000 cfs stopped by the dams would clearly have created a disaster downstream on top of a continuing current disaster from wild flows from tributaries to the White and Black rivers.
FRANK WALLIS, Baxter Bulletin, www.BaxterBulletin.com
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