It’s been another fun run in Arkansas this winter but it is finally wrapping up. This year saw plenty of high water but it held cold most of the year which made fishing tougher than usual. It’s always a gamble on a tail water this size, it can be cold water, wind, low flows or a number of other factors that put it off. When water temps are low fish tend to stay in deeper water and not push banks. They can feed enough in deep water with their slower metabolism to survive, as water temps increase they need more food and will move to the edge where food is more readily available. It is also important to remember that trout in cold water prefer “jigging” type flies. Weight on the head of a fly in these situations will turn follows into bites. The majority of fish this year were caught on fish skull deceivers in deep water.

Chewy with a nice one

The minimum size increase to 24 inches has has been evident this year. The state raised it to 24 inches on brown trout 4 years ago. The number of 22 to 24 inch fish has drastically increased since this change, and with it, more 25 inch and larger fish are in the river. The shear volume of 17 to 21 inch fish is amazing on the White but what draws anglers from around the country are the 5 pound plus browns that are rare to find in good numbers anywhere in North America.

Jeff with a dandy

Next year is starting to fill but I do have some days open, now would be a good time to lock in dates if you are thinking about the trip in 2020. If you are a single angler looking to come down, get in touch and we can see if you will fit into one of the groups we put together each year. It allows for a single angler to split the boat and lodging costs with other fishermen to keep the price down. These groups are hard core streamer fishermen.

Herm and JC with a nice brown trout

Next up is April and May in Michigan. Look for high, dirty and cold water for awhile.I’m guessing our dry fly season will be a late one on the upper Au Sable but there will be plenty of good streamer days between now and then. I’ll be working with Gates again this spring doing casting classes and 2 hour classes on the water. These are great for all levels of experience because there is a lot of one-on-one time as classes are limited to 4 people. Dates have not been finalized but check as Josh will have them posted soon.

Dave with a healthy White River brown

Hopefully by mid-April the bass fishing will get going on some of the inland lakes in Michigan. There is still a lot of ice, from what I hear, but as the days lengthen it’s only a matter of time before there is open water to fish. Early season is typically better with small jigs in the cold clear water. The fly bite starts picking up at the 48 degree mark but it can be a grind until temps are up into the mid 50’s. The pike fishing will start going from ice out on, both flies and gear will put fish in the boat.

I have a bunch of days open from mid April through May if you happen to get the urge to get out after the long winter. I’m guessing it’ll be streamer fishing until the first full week of May when hennies will start in the big water. There should also be some limited dry fly opportunity from Mid April on, not enough to focus a trip on but enough to bring the dry rod every day.

For what is currently happening, check out @alflyfishing on instagram