Troutmaster Matt and 17.64 lb male Brown Trout at His Place Resort

Matt with 30 inch Brown Trout

Hubba Hubba – Matt with 30 inch Brown Trout

Hubba, Hubba indeed!  Matt with his amazingly awesome 30″ male hookjaw Brown Trout!  On a fly rod…  yes, on a fly rod!  Throwing a 10″ streamer…  caught near the dock at His Place Resort…

One thing I would like everyone to take note of…  other than this is an awesome Brown Trout!  Matt is demonstrating the correct way to hold a large fish…  his hand is over the tail, and he is gently squeezing DOWN (vertically), as this tends to calm the fish down.  Then, he is supporting the front of the fish under the belly.

This is the perfect way to hold a large trout, and the least stressful, and least likely way to cause damage.

Many have never held a larger trout before, and want to grab it in the gills.  Trout are not designed to grab in the gills in any way!  In addition to damaging their gills, you will likely rip out the entire gill plate, and the trout will not survive.  Thank you, Matt, for demonstrating the correct way!

After this quick photo op, this trout was successfully released, and he swam off like a rocket…  Maybe you’ll see him when you come…  He’s close by, folks…  very close by!

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National Blueways Designation for the White River – more from His Place Resort

Good evening, everyone!

Wow…  this whole National Blueways designation has more gummint’ tentacles than an octopus…  more information for you to read.  We’ll be watchin’ this…

One of my downriver neighbors has been doing a lot of reading, and provided the following links (and a bit of his commentary…) to me to spread the word…  a little bit of what they passed on to me is printed below:


What is the White River National Blueways?………………..
It is part of Obama’s “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative (two links below). The White River Blueway Coalition will be a “group” that will be in charge of doing “something”. You need to read the Nomination (link below) to try to see what “something” means. It is NOT just an honorary award sort of thing.
The “group” is a “Public Private Partnership” (PPP) consisting of conservation oriented “Non Government Organizations” (NGOs) and Government Departments. Some of the NGOs get some funding from the Feds one way or another. In my opinion, the “group” IS the Federal Government.

So what you are joining, again just my opinion, IS the Federal Government expanding control or at least increased influence over private property outside of Federally owned lands. I like a little teeny Federal Government myself, so I am a little biased at the whole approach. NGOs and PPPs are also being used for the stealth implementation in America of United Nations Agenda 21 (aka, “sustainability everything”) in the same manner as Blueways. If you want more info on Agenda 21, let me know.

However, it is hard to find fault with increased conservation funding and it could be a great thing.

When you get to reading the whole thing it seems there is a lot of “conservation easements” (can be very dangerous for gullible landowners) and “land acquisition” going on somewhere along with such things as …………….
“Initiate discussions between Coalition partners, Southwest Power Administration and the Corps of Engineers aimed at designing and implementing scientifically-based release guidelines for impoundments in the upper Watershed.”
There is awareness of pollution from farm runoff above Bull Shoals (I think) mentioned in the nomination so maybe some help there.

For “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative see………..

The White River was “nominated” for Blueways designation by a coalition of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and government departments. The nominating partnership is currently comprised of twelve organizations and agencies informally organized as the White River Blueway Coalition (the “Coalition”). It appears one of the main organizations is the National Wildlife Refuge Association.
Here is the nomination (very large file)………………….
On page 2 of the nomination……………………
“The National Wildlife Refuge Association (“NWRA”) is pleased to nominate the White Water Watershed (the “Watershed”) in Arkansas and Missouri for designation as a National Blueway. NWRA makes this nomination on behalf of a capable and accomplished sponsoring partnership that includes four national non-profit conservation organizations, three federal environmental agencies, the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture, three state wildlife and environmental agencies and two Watershed communities, all of which are committed to the goals and objectives for the proposed National Blueway as articulated in the nomination.”
On page 21 of the nomination……………………….
“If the White River Watershed is designated a National Blueway, the Coalition will institute a formal membership, management and reporting structure, and recruit additional membership from all regions of the Watershed that can help the new Blueway’s governing body meet the land and water management integration, conservation and restoration, recreation, environmental education and economic sustainability goals for the Watershed.”


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National Blueway links – more info from His Place Resort

Good morning, everyone!  Well, I told you we’d keep you updated as information came our way about the White River being designated as a National Blueway.  The folks at the Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers found more information for us to read…  I’m copying a snippet of their newsletter below which includes the links for more information.  Thanks to our Friends for helping keep us informed!

<begin Friends newsletter>

Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
Get Involved with the rivers<br /><br />                                       and streams you love. This email<br /><br />                                       contains a way you can do just<br /><br />                                       that!
2013 is off and running
and we think you’ll want to be a part of the action.We are still catching our breath from the news that our entire White River system has been designated as a National “Blueway”. It is the second such designation. The Connecticut River received the first in May, 2012.The Multi-Basin Regional Water Council is hosting their quarterly public meeting on the White River Blueway designation on Friday, February 8, 2013 in Rogers, AR. The meeting begins at 10:00 a.m. and will be held in the auditorium at the Center for Nonprofits, 1200 W. Walnut, Rogers, AR 72756.  The meeting will begin at 10 am. You can read more about it on Friends website.We’re excited about the designation because it has the potential to involve collaborative partners and organizations in creating a plan for this “mega” watershed – from head to tail.  Here is a list of probable priorities to be addressed in a plan.

  • Reduce sediment in the tributaries by fixing eroding stream banks
  • Preserve and maintain riparian (vegetation, plants, shrubs and trees) along our streams leading to the White
  • Promote alternative gravel road maintenance, reducing runoff into streams
  • Respond to private landowners interested in conserving riparian lands

Use these links here to become familiar with this news….

Ozarks Water Watch newsletter on Blueways

Complete 63 page Blueway nomination

Blueways Frequently Asked Questions

What is a National Blueway?

In our watershed
Want to help us monitor water quality in important tributaries to our White River?
You can participate in orientation and training on “Stream Smart”. This is an opportunity to get outside, and make a difference by recording the life and condition of our streams. We’ll provide the training and tools. Introductory programs are being planned for late March. Let us know you are interested by sending a note to Jane Darr at

Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers is an Arkansas 501(c)(3) non-profit  organization devoted to creating an ongoing dialogue where individuals, groups, and government agencies can work together to conserve, restore and enhance these beautiful rivers.

If you haven’t already joined Friends, you can do so very easily by clicking here. Or, if you just wish to subscribe to our regular newsletter and news updates, click here.

<end Friends newsletter>

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White River Minimum Flow Update from His Place Resort

Good morning everyone!

We’ve put a lot of information up over the years about the Minimum Flow project, and how beneficial it will be to the White River and North Fork River.  Lately, however, there hasn’t been a whole lot of news and we’ve been wondering ourselves just what is going on?  Is there any progress?

Well, an article came out in our local newspaper, the Baxter Bulletin, giving us a status report.  See you on the river soon!

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Water Levels – An Explanation

What are the White River Levels going to do?

What ARE the levels on the White River going to do?  You have no idea how many times I get asked this question…  Sometimes I’m sure it seems like water generation patterns from our dams are completely random…

But, they’re not.  There are just a lot of factors, often in opposition to one another.  Rainfall can’t be predicted.  Variances are applied for and granted for events on specific days.  The farther into the future you try to predict any complex pattern, the more detail you lose; just like in a weather forecast, folks.  Which is more accurate — the 3-day or the 10-day forecast?

But you will be able to make some reasonable generalizations after you read this…  it’s really not black magic or voodoo!  It will be sort of like making generalizations that it’s more likely to be hot in July than in December. I want to talk about  the primary decision-making element that affects water releases — the 1998 Water Control Plan the US ACE uses as a general guideline.

Will understanding this plan enable you to know if the water’s going to be at 0 generators at 5:00 AM tomorrow, and turn on to 3 generators at 10:30 AM?  Sorry!  It sure won’t.  In this blog, I’m going to be talking “big picture”, here.

On Bull Shoals, the target lake level is 654′ above sea level.  (No, Bull Shoals Lake is not actually that deep…)  When it’s above that level, the US ACE is in control.  Their job?  Get rid of that excess water.  And they use the 1998 Water Control Plan to guide them.  It’s not as simple as “run the water until it gets down to 654′”.

There are 3 major factors involved — the season, the current level of the Newport water gauge, and the combined 4-lake capacity of the flood-control pool, as measured above their target levels.

I call the Newport Gauge the “trump card”, because if it wasn’t for the considerations based on the current levels of this gauge, the flows of the White River would be much more predictable.  Managing river levels to the Newport gauge is done to protect farming interests down river.

So, what is this plan all about?  Basically, it dictates different release rules when crops are either more or less likely to be damaged.  This is a summary:

  • Dec 1 – April 14 — the Newport gauge is regulated to 21 ft., except if a natural rise exceeding that occurs, then they can regulate to 24 ft.
  • April 15 – May 7 — the Newport gauge is regulated to 14 ft., with the exception of regulating to 21 ft. from April 15 through April 30, or 18 feet from May 1 through May 14 only if the 4-lake system exceeds 50% full.   (Click the Lake Forecast to get the current 4-lake system %.)
  • May 8 – November 30 — the Newport gauge is regulated to 12 ft., with the exception of regulating to 14 ft. from May 15 through November 30 if the 4-lake system flood storage exceeds 70% full.
  • Special circumstances and requests for variance are also defined.

OK, How about a practical example to make this more meaningful to you?

Example 1:

  • It’s April 20th, so we’re trying to regulate to 14 ft. on the Newport gauge.
  • The 4-lake system is below 50% for this example.
  • The Bull Shoals Lake level, for whatever reason, has risen to 657′ in our example.  That’s 3 ft. above pool.
  • The Newport gauge is currently below 14′.


All other things being equal, Bull Shoals is going to release as much water as they can until that gauge hits 14′, and they get the Bull Shoals Lake level back down to 654′.

So far, so good.  Now, let’s say it starts raining.  Crooked Creek & Buffalo, and all the other feeder creeks above this gauge start raising the water level.  Guess what happens then?  Bull Shoals shuts off, or throttles back accordingly.

What if we had this exact scenario, but the 4-lake system was above 50% instead of below?  Bull Shoals would run to manage to 21′ instead of 14′, and then throttle back accordingly to try and get the Bull Shoals Lake level down to 654′.

(Don’t forget if Bull Shoals is above pool, Norfork probably is, too.  Water will have to be dropped in that lake as well, and they’ll bounce back and forth with generation between the two lakes to do it.)

This is a rather simplistic scenario, to be sure.  But if you take the time to read the plan, and study that chart, it will make it a little more meaningful to you!

What if the 4 lake system is below 0%?  (That means all 4 lakes are at their target level or lower — 0% is in reference to the Flood Control, not that the lakes are empty.)  Well, the US ACE has then done their job, and gotten rid of the excess water.

Now control is in the hands of SWPA (Southwest Power Administration, a quasi-governmental agency which is part of the Department of Energy).  Unlike the Corps, whose job it was to get rid of that extra water, the job of SWPA is to make money with the water.  So, they won’t run it just for the sake of running it.  They’ll run water to generate power at peak demand times, when they can make the most profit.

(Side note:  In the past, their operational mandate has created situations of extended periods of “dead-low” water that have caused fish kills and has damaged the river, and why the Minimum Flow Initiative is so important.  Soon, these extended periods of dead-low water will be a thing of the past.)

So what does this mean for generation when SWPA has their finger on the button?  It means that they will abide by the same guidelines when they do release water, but they don’t have to release water.  When they’re in control, there’s often less generation on weekends than during the week, for example.

Read the 1998 Water Control Plan in full at

For more information, and help understanding the other tools that are available regarding river flows, I have an entire web page dedicated to it at


I hope you find this useful and informative.  Tell me what you want to hear about!

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Fly Tying – Beyond the Wooly Bugger – class in Yellville

Good evening, everyone!

Many of you have expressed an interest in learning how to tie flies, and I told you if I heard of anything occurring sooner than the yearly conclave, I would post it…  So, here it is!  If you’re going to be in the area Jan 31 – Feb 7, you can get a free class in nearby Yellville…  This should be fun!  AGFC is putting it on…  Details below:

Event Details

Title Fly Tying – Beyond the Wooly Bugger (Yellville)
Date 01/31/2013 – 02/07/2013
Time Thurs., Jan. 31, Tues., Feb. 5 and Thurs., Feb. 7 | 6-9 p.m. each night
Event Type Public Event or Program
Fred Berry Conservation Education Center on Crooked Creek
851 Conservation Lane
Yellville, AR 72687
Location Link Fred Berry Conservation Education Center on Crooked Creek
County Marion
Description AGFC’s Fred Berry Conservation Education Center on Crooked Creek in Yellville invites you to Fly Tying – Beyond the Wooly Bugger, Thurs., Jan. 31, Tues., Feb. 5 and Thurs., Feb. 7 | 6-9 p.m. each night.Nationally renowned fly tying legend Ron McQuay and AGFC Regional Education Coordinator Denis Dunderdale will teach participants 16 years of age and older to tie flies that can catch fish wherever you go. Start with the basics, and move through intermediate and even some advanced concepts. Acquire the skills needed to become a capable fly tyer. Tie several different fly patterns including: streamers, nymphs, eggs, midges, attractors and dry flies. Don’t know what these are? Come to the class!
Contact This event is free, but registration is required by calling 870-449-3484 or emailing Marilyn Doran at
Additional Information For all levels of learners including beginners. Just bring yourself and your reading glasses (if you need them). We will provide everything else that you need for the class.Class size is limited to 15 people. Registration is required. 870-449-3484. Participants will be signing up for all three consecutive nights of instruction. Due to very limited space in this class, please do not register unless you plan to attend all three sessions.

This class is designed for persons aged 16 or older. Your registration reserves a place in the class and is considered a commitment to attend. We will keep a waiting list if the class fills, so it is important to notify us if you must cancel your registration.
Fee Conservation Sales Tax There is no fee for this program thanks to your support of the 1/8 Cent Conservation Sales Tax.
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What is a National Blueway?

Hello, everyone!
Well, the White River Watershed has been recognized as something called a “National Blueway”.  Honestly, we’ll watch this because no one really knows yet if this is a good thing, neutral or bad thing…  However, the AGFC newsletter recently posted the best information on it, so I thought I’d share…
<begin AGFC article>
White River watershed recognized as National Blueway
LITTLE ROCK – Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes today announced that the White River, along with its watershed, has been named the nation’s second National Blueway.
Hayes was joined by Senator Mark Pryor, Congressman Tim Griffin, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Terrence “Rock” Salt, Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture Ann Mills, as well as state, local, and conservation leaders at a ceremony in Little Rock, Arkansas, to make the announcement. Deputy Secretary Hayes said that the collaboration taking place in the White River watershed is a model of successful river conservation for the 21st century.
“The National Blueway designation recognizes that strong, diverse partnerships are the best way to address the modern-day threats to our nation’s most important rivers, and the White River is an outstanding example of that approach,” said Hayes. “The river is the recreational and economic lifeblood of communities from the Ozarks to the Mississippi. River users and river lovers of all stripes have banded together to protect the White River watershed and maintain this magnificent resource for the region – and for the nation.”
“The designation of the White River watershed as a National Blueway demonstrates the Obama Administration’s continued commitment to the protection of public and working lands that are crucial to the growth and revitalization of rural America,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“The resources made available through this designation will support and promote needed conservation efforts and bolster valuable economic growth and job creation in years to come.”
In May 2012, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar established the National Blueways System, a new designation for rivers and watersheds of national significance designed to promote and conserve the economic, recreational, and natural values of healthy river systems from source to outlet and across watersheds. The initiative is part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to establish a community-driven conservation and recreation agenda for the 21st century. The designation does not establish a new protective status or regulation, but rather is intended to recognize and support existing local and regional conservation, recreation, and restoration efforts by coordinating ongoing federal, state, and local activities.
Flowing for over 700 miles from its headwaters in the Ozarks to its mouth at the Mississippi River, the White River drains a watershed spanning 17.8 million acres across 60 counties in Arkansas and Missouri. It is home to 1.2 million people who rely on the economic impact that recreation, tourism, agriculture, and commerce along the river provide to watershed communities. The White River is an important part of the wildlife-related economies of Arkansas and Missouri, which statewide accounted for $1.8 billion and $2.8 billion in 2011, respectively. Public and private landowners in the watershed have already conserved more than 3.2 million acres of their land for the benefit of people and wildlife.
The White River National Blueway was nominated for this designation by 26 diverse stakeholder groups including the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, The Conservation Fund, Audubon, the Arkansas Canoe Club, the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the cities of Augusta and Clarendon, local businesses, and federal partners from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior, and the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture.
“We know through experience that by aligning federal, state and local agencies along with nonprofit and private interests, we can together accomplish great things for the people and wildlife of Arkansas and Missouri,” said National Wildlife Refuge Association President David Houghton.
In support of the new White River National Blueway, senior leaders from partnering federal agencies announced new projects that will enhance the river’s natural resources and create economic opportunities for the region.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that in FY 2013, working with the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts to establish priorities, it will commit more than $22 million to soil and water conservation in counties located within the White River Watershed through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Approximately $13 million of those funds will be directed to pasture land to provide soil and water conservation needs that arose from the drought in 2012. Additionally, the USDA Forest Service manages more than 1 million acres of federal forest land within the boundary of the Blueway, and is engaging in dozens of projects aimed at improving habitat within the watershed.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently approved a 101,110-acre expansion to the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge—named for one of the White River’s main tributaries—that will protect valuable floodplain habitat through conservation easements and acquisitions from willing landowners.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks to build on the great conservation work by our state, federal, conservation, and sportsmen partners,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Today’s recognition formalizes something all of us already know—that the White River watershed is special. We are committed to passing on to future generations the chance to hike, paddle, hunt, fish, and otherwise enjoy this exceptional watershed.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that they are moving forward with the Lower Cache River Basin Restoration Project, which will restore flows to meanders cut off by flood control work and will increase fish and wildlife habitat.
“In keeping with President Obama’s commitment to the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, the Corps is proud to be a part of the National Blueways initiative, which recognizes and supports stakeholder partnerships,” said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy. “The Corps’ Lower Cache River Basin Restoration project is part of this effort.”
<from the AGFC Newsletter>
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Room 211 – Part 1

This story is a little different than the ones you usually read from me.  It’s more a story about the fisherman than the fishing.  It’s a tribute, and a release.  An affirmation of a life rooted in family and fishing, and an explanation of why trout fishing is so important to me…  And finally, it’s a story about my stay in a hotel, Room 211.

The phone call came early that morning…  you know the one…  the one that you dread…  the one that you’ve imagined coming for years every time the phone rings at an unusual hour…  the one that that when it finally comes, makes you feel terribly guilty, because a little part of you is somehow relieved…

I had, oddly enough, just woken up about 15 minutes earlier.  I had this absolutely wonderful feeling where everything was perfect.  I mean everything…  It’s hard to describe.  I felt at peace, I couldn’t feel a single one of the world’s cares.  I couldn’t remember a single thing that was wrong or troublesome…  then for some reason, I broke the beautiful silence and said to my husband, “You know, I kinda wish he had gone ahead and went last night…  peacefully, you know?”

No sooner had the words come out of my mouth, than the phone rang…  it was that call…  he had just gone…

Dial back aways…  a long ways…  to my youth, growing up on Lake Tapawingo, a small private community with a little 100-acre lake east of Kansas City, about 5 miles outside of Blue Springs.

That’s where I learned to fish with my Dad.  No Zebco’s for me; at 6 years old he taught me how to cast an open-face spinning reel…  said I might as well just learn once.  I pretty much grew up on the boat dock behind our house on that lake.  Dad had an aluminum fishin’ boat.  Crappie and bass were the thing there, and my Dad was known by literally everyone as the man to watch to find those fish!

He knew they watched him though, and when people were spyin’ on him (as he called it), he would intentionally go to holes where he knew there were no fish, and literally pretend to catch them!  Sometimes he would put a hook back in the fish’s mouth, and slyly lower it into the water while onlookers would watch him catch it again!  He got a real kick out of that.

And I’d go with him in the boat…  or we’d just fish from the dock…  I must have tangled up his reels hundreds of times.  He’d try to let me untangle it, but I’d typically make it worse.  He never got annoyed, never got upset.  “Don’t sweat the little things, Jewel”, he’d say.  Daddy always called me Jewel…

You know, I learned some pretty important life lessons from fishin’ with my Daddy…  One of them was self-control; after all, it is not easy for a naturally mouthy 6 year old girl to be quiet…  and I do mean quiet!  If I wanted to go with Daddy fishing (which I always did), I had to be quiet in that aluminum boat…  whispers only, no stomping around…  no letting the rod tap on the side of the boat…  quietly opening and closing the old, squeaky metal tackle box.

Another life lesson was, well…  about death…  of animals anyway.  I really didn’t know until I started fishing with my Daddy that we actually ate living things!  Pretty trippy concept to grasp, but I feel like it was important to my Dad that I understood it.

I recently came across a picture of him, when he was about 8 years old.  It was during the era of The Great Depression.  He literally had what looked like pieces of leather tied to his feet for shoes.  In one hand, a shotgun, and in the other hand, a couple of squirrels.  I realize now that this was breakfast…  how different the world is today!  I can’t imagine saying to your average 8 year old, “Hey, here’s the shotgun.  Could you go shoot us some breakfast real quick, please?  Thanks, Darlin’.”  But that is exactly how it was then.

When I was a little older, about 7 or 8, I told him I was ready to clean those fish we caught.  So, we went over the only rule he had regarding this…  No filet knives unless he was present.  Simple.  He taught me how to filet crappie, and I butchered many a nice fish in the process, because he would always let me try my hand at the larger ones because they were easier.

One day, Daddy was at work, and I was down by the water, as usual, fishin’.  Still about 8 years old or so.  We had catfish in that lake, too, and by some stroke of luck I had managed to catch a fairly good-sized one, for an 8-year old, anyway.  It was probably only about 8 or 9 lbs., but to me, it was the Loch-Ness monster!  I knew it was absolutely the biggest catfish in that lake!  (actually, there were 90+ lb. catfish caught every other year there, but you know…)

So, Daddy was going to be really proud!  And wouldn’t he be even more proud if I fileted it before he got home!  So, I take the fish up to the house, where we had a cleaning station in the basement.  Dropped the catfish in the sink, and went to get the step-stool so I could reach up to the cabinet to get that filet knife…

Got it out, climbed down, threw up the wooden cutting board on the counter, took the knife out of the sheath, and laid it down.  Now all I have to do is reach into the sink and grab that slimy catfish and throw him on the cuttin’ board.  OK, good to go, I remember thinkin’…

Now, the only thing I actually knew how to filet at this time was crappie.  If you don’t know why this was important, let me explain…

To filet a crappie, you lay them down on one side, put your left thumb in their mouth, use your first finger to hold their pectoral fin forward, and make the first slice just behind the pectoral fin until you get to the spine, then turn the knife toward the tail and cut down the body, before flippin’ the filet out, and then runnin’ the knife under the exposed filet to get the skin off.  Piece o’ cake.

Did I mention that works well for crappie?  Uh, OK.  Well, not so much for catfish…

Lemme tell ya’…

Even at 8 years old, I had a couple of last-minute thoughts that bordered on reason…  for example, to this day, I remember thinking, “Wow!  This catfish has a MUCH larger mouth than the crappie do…  wonder if I’m gonna be able to hold it down with my thumb in it’s mouth?”  Then, I thought, “Hmmm…  this thing is flat on the bottom, not on the sides like crappie…  Wonder if I can hold it still on it’s side while I cut it up?”  And finally,  “You know, that ol’ catfish already cut me up a little gettin’ that hook out…  their mouths are kinda hard!”

Alas…  those thoughts should have stopped me, but didn’t…  It’s so funny that I can remember everything so clearly to this day.  But the final thought that won out in my young mind was something along the lines of, “Man…  I will be in SO much trouble if my Daddy catches me with this filet knife out…  I need to hurry!”

And with this as my final guiding thought, I grabbed that catfish out of the sink and threw him on that wooden cuttin’ board.

He was sittin’ on his stomach on that cuttin’ board in front of me, fairly still, but his mouth wasn’t open.  Hmmm…  What to do…  What to do?  Gills were movin’ though, so I figured I would just turn my hand so the back of my it was facin’ me, with my thumb pointin’ down.  Then, I’d stick my fingers in his gill and grab him, and if he opened his mouth, I’d stick my thumb in the side of his mouth, and I’d have a really good hold on him!

Well, he started thrashin’, but so far, so good!  I had my fingers in his gill and still had a fair grip on him…  then he opened his mouth and I stuck my thumb in to get an even better grip…

All y’all that know anything about catfish know where this is goin’, don’t ya?  Uh-huh.

That catfish clamped down on not just my thumb, but the better part of my hand and almost half of my wrist and bit down hard!!!  I’m trying to pull it off, shake it off, smack it into the counter to get it off, and it ain’t comin’ off!

I knew I was in the battle of my life!  My 8 year old life was about to get snuffed out by a catfish!  I did the only thing I could do…  I grabbed that filet knife and started stabbin’ that catfish to make him let go!

I’m makin’ quite the commotion at this point, bangin’, hollerin’, smackin’ that catfish around and all, and caught the attention of my Mom, who was upstairs.  She was comin’ to investigate.

Well, right before she got to the top of the stairs, that ol’ catfish finally let go…  I was bleedin’ pretty good from my hand, but if you didn’t know, catfish actually have quite a bit of blood in them, too…  and I’d been stabbin’ that thing like Norman Bates in Psycho.

Well, between it thrashin’ around, it’s blood, my blood… you can guess that blood is pretty much everywhere…

Now, my Mom is the squeamish, city-girl type.  And I do mean really squeamish.  So she’s runnin’ down the stairs at this point and I’m standin’ at the bottom of the stairwell, holding up my hand, lookin’ at my thumb…  from Mom’s point of view facing me, she could only see the back of my hand and 4 fingers…  yes, from her vantage point, and with all the blood everywhere, it really did look like I’d cut of my thumb…

Mom sorta “melted-down” into the stairs, and kinda passed out for a minute, I think.  So, of course, knife still in right hand, I forget about myself and run to Mom!  I stand over her in the very narrow stairwell that leads to the basement, and start yellin’, “Momma, Momma, Momma!!!”  Of course, she opens her eyes to see me standing over her with the knife still in my right hand and blood everywhere…  I couldn’t understand why she seemed so terrified at first…  yes, for a moment I think she actually thought I was going to do her in…  “JULIA LACY!  PUT DOWN THAT KNIFE RIGHT NOW!!!”

Uh, OK, Mom…  not a problem…  glad you’re feelin’ better now…  Me?  Oh, I’m good…  No, no, that’s not my blood…  that’s the catfish’s blood.  Well, OK, yeah maybe a little of mine, but mostly the fish’s blood…  really, I’m fine.  We’re good.  Hey, I was just gonna clean this mess up…  how about that?  No, go to my room instead?  But what about the catfish???  Did you just say something about leave the *#%^#* catfish for my Daddy to clean up?  What does that word &*^$&% mean, Momma?  I don’t think it’s a good word…  OUCH!  OK, I’m goin’, I’m goin!


Learned a LOT of lessons from Daddy that day after he got home….

  • If your Daddy only gives you ONE simple rule to follow, don’t break it. (Adam & Eve, anyone?)
  • The only thing Daddy loves more than you is Mommy.
  • If you make Mommy unhappy, EVERYONE will be unhappy.
  • Catfish do NOT get filleted like other fish.
  • And maybe most importantly – NEVER underestimate your opponent, because in real-life battles, what you think you got beat might just fight back harder than you ever expected….

More on what My Daddy taught me about life & fishin’ in part 2…

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River Fishing AND Lake Fishing Very Good Right Now…

Hello, everyone!

Many of you have asked how the fishing has been; both on the river and the lakes – as many of you like to fish both while you’re here.

As I’ve told you, the river fishing has been very good.  The Fly Fisher’s conclave is over and was a great success.  Many of our guests enjoyed the event, and had time to enjoy the fishing too!  They all reported good fishing on a variety of flies.  As for our spin fishing guests, the report was much the same.  There are those times when it doesn’t really seem to matter what you are throwing at them; as long as you’re throwing something, they’re hitting it…  :-)  Apparently, this is one of those times…

Now, for lake fishing.  I hadn’t had any guests hit  the lakes in the last couple of weeks, so I really didn’t know for sure what was going on there.  Well, here’s my answer!

<begin article from Baxter Bulletin below>

Bank fisherman takes world-class fish from Norfork

Angler catches 51-pound striped bass with 10-pound test line

Eric Green holds the 51-pound striped bass he caught from Norfork Lake early Wednesday. / KEVIN PIEPER/THE BAXTER BULLETIN


Norfork Lake yielded a monster striped bass around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning to angler Eric Green fishing a suspending Rogue from the bank in the Quarry Park area of the lake.

The 51-pound cow was Green’s third trophy fish of 2012. Earlier this year he caught a 9-pound brown trout and a 5-pound cutthroat trout from the White River.

Wednesday’s fish stripped all the 10-pound test line from the Abu Garcia casting reel Green was using.

“It stripped the line off twice. I could see the holes and line tie on my spool both times. I just put my thumb on the line and horsed him back both times,” Green said. “It took 45 minutes to land.”

The brake and bushings were apparently burned out of the reel.

Russell Breckenridge, a guide since 1985, said Green’s fish is one of the biggest he’s heard of out of Norfork in 2012.

Fishing was tougher than usual in August because of hot weather and water, but the bite has improved some since the weather turned cooler and produced some rain.

“We had a party of four out last week and we did pretty good,” Breckenridge said. “We’ve caught several 25s and fewer 30s (pounds) so far this year.”

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission stocks about 154,000 striped bass to Norfork Lake each year.

<end article from Baxter Bulletin>

In closing, I just wanted to give you an update; and we hope to see you this beautiful fall season!  Give us a call, and let us help you make some Ozarks memories this year…

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Posted in Fishing Report, Lake Fishing, Trout Fishing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Crooked Creek Crawfish Boil and Float Trip

Hey, everyone!  Just wanted to share an upcoming event on Crooked Creek from the Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers Group!  If you’re here next weekend, check this out!

Crooked Creek Crawfish Boil and Float Trip

CLICK TO REGISTER ONLINE or sign up at Rivertown Gallery, Dally’s Fly Shop/Cotter, or Blue Ribbon Fly Shop/Mountain Home

When: June 3rd 10:30 a.m.
Where: Crooked Creek; float from the Hwy 62 bridge to the Snow access.

Ben Levin, along with Friends of the Rivers board members, will be hosting a cleanup along a 5 mile stretch of Crooked Creek between the Hwy 62 (Pyatt) and Snow accesses before the Crawfish Boil. We will pick up trash, and stop along the way while Ben talks about the ecology/health/history/management of Crooked Creek. Participants bring their own canoes or kayaks. The float tour will be limited to 30 participants. There is no charge to participate in the clean-up.

6:00 p.m.   Fred Berry Nature Center Pavilion
Dinner Reservations: $30 per person

There will be an authentic Louisiana style crawfish boil after the float at Kelley’s Slab access in Yellville. Dinner includes corn on the cob, potatoes, sausage and beverage. David Lemoine is our chef.  Carnes and the Heaters, a great blues band will provide live entertainment during the evening. If you really don’t care to eat crawfish, consider coming for the music and fellowship ($10 per person)

Participants may choose to do the float, the boil, or both. Space for the canoe float is limited, so let us know soon if you’d like to participate! There will be room for many at the pavilion. This is a fund-raising event for Friends of the North Fork and White River. Funds are used for programs, education and organizational outreach.

Another Way to Support Friends of the Rivers

Duane Hada has graciously promised to produce a Plein Air watercolor of Crooked Creek in support of our  fund-raiser. Your $20 donation to Friends earns you a chance to make it yours. No more than 100 chances for this drawing will be sold.

CLICK TO REGISTER ONLINE or sign up at Rivertown Gallery, Dally’s Fly Shop/Cotter, or Blue Ribbon Fly Shop/Mountain Home

Crooked Creek has received national acclaim as one of the top smallmouth bass streams anywhere, and its reputation is well deserved. Ideal habitat and an abundance of crayfish, hellgrammites and other smallmouth bass foods combine to produce large numbers of quality fish. Two- to three-pounders are fairly common, and four- to six-pound smallmouth bass are not unusual. However, the state of Arkansas added “Crooked Creek” to its “impaired streams” list in 2005 because of high water temperature related to gravel mining.

<end article>

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Posted in Nature | Leave a comment