Huckin’ Meat

For a lot of years I held onto the notion that the overstuffed brown trout in Arkansas’ White River were only catchable with wispy 14-foot leaders and flies too small for those with sausage fingers and failing eyesight. Enter Steve Dally, the Tasmanian transplant guide and fly shop owner who is promoting an entirely different theory.

A few years ago, Steve’s guide crew began toying with the idea that brown trout might be hungry when they finish their fall/winter spawn. Instead of tiny nymphs on 6x during low water times, they started targeting the high water days when the big browns tuck in tight to the banks and use structure to ambush actual food. When he pointed me toward his website and showed me the browns they were catching on stout leaders and six-inch baitfish patterns, I got all fidgety.

Last week, I arrived at Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher with three fellow Texans. Adorning the walls of the shop were framed prints of all the 10-plus browns that they’ve caught during “streamer season”. We didn’t catch a brown worthy of Steve’s hall of honor, but we caught a few good ones, and after three days of pounding the White River banks with 8-weights and flies with appendages, I now fully appreciate the challenge involved in that pursuit. Steve told us going in that it’s not a big numbers game. Go at it hard and you might catch a lifetime fish. I’m not sure if that was the one that freight-trained my fly and wrapped me around a boulder, but I was happy to have briefly tangled with him.

Thanks to Steve and his lovely wife Bec for their great hospitality, and to guides Chad Johnson and Ben Levin for continually rowing upcurrent to retrieve our mis-thrown flies.

Click here to see the entire shoot.

Foggy start on the White River

Steve Dally on the sticks

This thing eats sow bugs like m&m’s

Tantalizing and scintillating

Hooked up

Aggressive youth

Small hen on a flooded bank

Big buck on a flooded bank

Worth every cast

Ozark authenticity

The banjo player was on break

Beats watching Idol

 

11 Responses to “Huckin’ Meat”

  1. Spencer Turner says:

    Great photos guys…what camera are you using for the underwater photographs. Send the information to my email.

    Thanks,

    Spence, aka the old rotund trout biologist.

  2. Ed says:

    Oh my! Tosh, these are FANTASTIC! I love the one with the oar, the aggressive youth, and that fireside shot at the end. Wonderful, unique images, well done!

  3. Phil Lilley says:

    Some of the best underwater pics I’ve ever seen. Like you were in the water with ’em. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I’m looking for a couple of White river guides to promote on my site. I would like to talk to you about promoting you as one of the many river guides, and also would like to use a few of your pics in the promo. Let me know what you think!
    Thanks Derwyn Hinton

  5. Julien says:

    Nice set of shots, always looking forward to see your new pics as they’re always original and let us feel the atmosphere like any other I’ve seen!
    I posted a link to your website on my blog.
    Thnaks for sharing this with us

    Julien

  6. WindKnot says:

    “Beats watching Idol.” — well said… and I’ll drink to that.

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