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Arkansas Fishing Report

Lakes & Reservoirs

North Fork River Sponsored by
Date 28-Jul-16
Water Condition
Water Temperature  

Conditions : North Fork River: rry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake fell 0.1 feet to rest at 3.1 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet and 27.3 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had reliable, wade-able water every morning when it was a bit cooler. The Norfork has fished better on the lower water this week. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Nutt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise No. 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite fly has been the Green Butt.

Dry Run Creek has fished well. Berry said he has been guiding on Dry Run Creek for over 25 years, starting when my daughter was 12, and she is now 39. Over the years, Berry said, he made a number of observations. One thing he noted is that 90 percent, of the fish caught are landed by 10 percent of the anglers. There are a lot of big fish there, but proximity does not always guarantee success. It should be noted that this is a Catch and Release stream set aside for children under 16 years of age and mobility impaired adults. Every time Berry goes there he sees some dad fishing the stream while his child is chasing a butterfly nearby. This is not why the creek was developed. Dry Run Creek is for children. That means they must cast, set the hook and fight the fish. You can rig their rod and net fish, but that is all. Mobility impaired adults must have a mobility impaired permit from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in order to fish there. Bait, of any kind, is strictly prohibited. Berry said he saw someone fishing there with corn on Monday. Berry explained to him that what he was doing was illegal and he quit. You must use a fly or artificial lure with a single barbless hook point. This method does little harm to the trout.

|Berry’s first recommendation is that you hire a guide. He admits this may sound a bit self-serving as both Berry and his wife, Lori, are guides who frequently work on Dry Run Creek. The fact is a guide can furnish all the gear that you need, is aware of the rules and can make it easier for you or your child to catch fish. They know what flies to use and where to concentrate your efforts. They can even furnish lunch and take pictures of trophy trout. Have your kids wear waders. There are plenty of places where you can fish from the bank, but a pair of waders can put you in some spots that hold plenty of trout but get less pressure than the spots that are easier to fish. A set of waders for yourself will help you get out from the bank, to net the big brown, that doesn’t want to come in. Move around from time to time. Berry said he notices that a lot of anglers congregate on the boardwalk. This area was designed for mobility impaired anglers. The big flat spaces are wheelchair platforms. It is difficult to land fish here. You must get into the water to net fish here unless you have a net with a very long handle (8 feet or more). Mobility impaired anglers are limited to fishing from the boardwalk. Carry the biggest net that you can lay your hands on. A long handle helps a lot. Berry said he has seen many big fish lost at the net. You can buy an inexpensive large net. Don’t try to net the fish too soon. Wait until it is at the top of the water column. The worst thing that you can do is to bump your kid’s trophy trout off. Also, use big tippet. Berry uses 4X fluorocarbon. If they hook a big one, you want them to have a chance to land it. Have them take their time when landing the fish. A big one will take several runs. If the child is gripping the line or the reel handle, the fish will break the line. This will happen unless the trout can pull line out. Adjust the reel drag to put as much pressure on the fish as possible, without breaking the tippet. Concentrate your efforts on faster deeper water. Berry keeps his fly selection to a minimum, using San Juan worms (worm brown, cerise and red) eggs (peach or orange) and sowbugs. His top producer for the last few weeks has been the worm brown San Juan worm. If your kid loses interest, it is time to move on. This is supposed to be fun.

Reported by: Arkansas F&G

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About: - Tailwaters of Lake Norfork Dam, the North Fork meanders for a mere 5-miles before joining the White River. Expert anglers and inexperienced fishermen alike enjoy exciting, year-round fishing adventures on this perfect cool water trout stream. Cool waters from the Norfork Dam flow into this picturesque five-mile long mountain river creating a perfect world-class trout stream. The North Fork River remains at 47 to 58 degrees during all seasons providing an ideal year-round habitat for Rainbow, Cutthroat, German Brown and Brook. (map and more on the North Fork River)
  • Rainbow
  • Cutthroat
  • German Brown
  • Brook

Misc Info: - North Fork River, from 100 yards below Norfork Dam to White River: Open to fishing with rod or pole only. Anglers may use no more than one fishing rod or pole and must attend it at all times. A trout permit is required. Chains or other objects capable of destroying aquatic vegetation may not be dragged.

Norfork River Flow

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