After over 10 days of high flows, Bull Shoals Dam stopped generation last night at midnight. I made numerous trips down to the campground to check the water level, seeking that magical drop in flow so I could wade-fish. By the time the water was right, humidity draped the shoreline like a heavy woolen blanket; so I planned on late afternoon fishing. Finally at 4:45, I strapped on all my gear and headed to my favorite spot downriver on our 4-wheeler. Like a small child turned loose in the candy store, I could barely contain my thumping heart. It has been almost a month since circumstances allowed me to wade.
Fitting my Albright 4 wt. rod together and attaching my Galvin reel, I was soon ready after threading on my favorite fly: Mike's White River Angel. Within 5 minutes, I landed a small Rainbow. After light takes which never produced another fish, I changed flies several more times with no results. The afternoon humidity continued to wear on me and I decided it would be healthier to seek some shadier spots. I walked several hundred yards upriver near a neighbor's boat ramp and tied on a tan Scud with no takes. There was a hatch on. The twirling cavorting insects looked like a Parachute Adams, often touted by my friend George Peters. Now, I've never been successful with dry flies. I can never seem to get the drift just right. But I kept repeating to myself what the experts always tell us: “Match the hatch.” I tied on a Parachute Adams, squirted it with dry fly “dressing” to keep it from sinking and began to cast. I decided to allot myself 5 attempts before I switched to something else. On the 4th cast, I allowed the fly to drift way below me and gave it a couple of twitches and then began to strip it in. When I stopped, my attention was momentarily diverted by Canadian Geese and their new brood of goslings as they paddled beside the far shoreline; but I quickly focused when my fly was attacked by a healthy Rainbow. He skipped across the water determined to shake loose the hook; but I kept the pressure on the line and steered him carefully into shallower water where I scooped him into my net, admired him for a few seconds and gently released him. I had successfully captured my first trout on a dry fly. George would be proud!