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Ronan's report

Tuesday 10th, 2009

Another week gone by, fishing has been awesome. From cold wintry wet windy days we are back in the 60 to 70f days, perfect conditions to be out there on the river. It’s like spring again, but not for long, winter is well on the way.

My river the White here in Arkansas is a tail water system. That is a river dependant on released water from the dam, Bull Shoals. This dam can release water at very low cfs (50) rates to unreal high, something in the region of 26,000 cfs, which means a rise of water as much as 12ft and a speed in the region of 10 to 12 miles per hour. At which time the river can become dangerous if you do not know how to navigate and deal with water such as this. Aside from that if you know how to deal with it the fishing can still be pretty dam good. Its simply a question of adapting the techniques used which can be working into shorelines with streamers and large dries, deep water dead drift nymph fishing and a few other options.

What also is of concern here is wade fishing can spell disaster when water rises, and it may well do in a hurry depending on how much water has been released. You do not want to find yourself in a midstream position or one that will not allow for you to return from whence you came. Worse you find yourself stranded on a gravel bar that in a very short time may well be 6ft under water. Sadly over the years this river has claimed many lives, l am given to understand in the region of 200 since the dam was built in the early 1950:s.

Wildlife at times is also caught out when water rises, many of which can swim to shore such as the case with this unfortunate squirrel. Many of my customers see happenings that the odds are they would not normally. The sight of this squirrel trying to make its way across the torrent of water certainly gave the guys that day some amusement.

Ok, l says l will go net the tree rat and run it to shore. This squirrel wanted none of that, 4 times l got it in the net and as soon as l did it decided to go airborne and take its chances.

l have never seen a monster Brown nail a squirrel but l have seen them nail all manner of other victims over the years. No question of doubt a 25lb Brown could easily deal with a squirrel, fortunately this victim made it to shore.

My two Jack Russell’s have a very different view. They love to hunt and whatever they get hold of stands little chance be it mice, rats, possums, and all else that wanders into the yard and my fields. Recently we have been inundated with squirrels, for some reason there are years that see a population explosion and this is one of them. The dogs act as a team and as you can see here, Sian waits at the base of the tree while Weeny the climber sets about the task of trying to get the tree rat grounded for Sian, after which a very short takes place before the victim is killed. It’s a great game for the dogs and fun to watch them.

When l lived in the UK pet tortoises were common many years back, and then the import of them was banned, l am given to understand that they are a valuable animal to day. Not so here in my State. Each year l see many of these in my yard, crossing the roads. Got to thinking about an export business, not an option at the end of the day. But they do make neat pets for the kids.

Same also for fish species particularly carp. Now we have carp here that are way above 40 and will exceed 50 and may be 60 lbs. By and large carp being a introduced species to North America are considered by many to be a trash fish and not worth fishing for, in fact here in AR bow fishing is popular, for the best part the fish is thrown back dead.

No doubt this invasive species does create problems in waterways for other species, given that Carp are omnivorous and more or less will eat anything. l have seen them eating fish guts at the boat ramps, destroy the vegetation in ponds reducing them to mud holes, with the consequential loss of habitat for the indigenous species.

Aside from this Fly Fishing for Carp is becoming popular here in the US, and they are a worthy fish species to pursue, no doubt at that. They can be very difficult at times to catch and they do fight like the devil when you hook one. I have myself nailed a number over 20lbs as yet not over 30, but there is a lake very close to my home that holds many well in excess of this weight.

Typical fly patterns that work are those that imitate crayfish and any bottom dwelling larvae such as caddis or scuds. I have caught many smaller fish fishing dries and nymphs.

If any of you guys have an interest to visit here and fish for carp let me know, there are of course many other FF options for both cold and warm water species, in fact there is something in the region of more than 30 species in the region l live.

I cannot locate it at this time as l do have in my picture files showing a hoard of huge number of big carp surrounding one of the boat docks we have here on the lake. l know many of the guys in EU that like to pursue carp would go nuts to have a crack at those guys. It will cost but a few dollars to do so.

Catfish which we also have a abundance of are also a fun fish to fly fish for, and a species that is pretty good to eat at the end of the day. They are not a good fighting species; nevertheless well worth casting and fishing for.

It is for me at least this time of the year the trout that are of major interest, for the other species it is more so a summer warm water and weather pastime, all be it some species can be fished for during the winter periods if water temps are above the 45f mark.

Have a great week all.


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