July 18 Report

At 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, we launched at Bertrand and began trolling upstream.  Since the folks on board today wanted to be selective in their “keepers’” we kept two larger fish and threw back a small one to give it some more time to grow.   This guide’s favorite spot for anchoring upstream was a let down today with no action at all.  Yesterday’s hot spot, however, helped us complete the day’s catch. Overall, the bite was slow and sporadic, whether we used paste, power balls, or wax worms.  Comments from fisher-people in other boats on the river were “no fish, not even a strike.”  The experienced fisherman on our boat shared his best fishing advice with us. “It’s patience!”

July 16

Today’s trip began a bit later than usual, 8:30 from Bertrand.   A group of friends piled onto the boat and we worked our way upstream, trolling along the way.  Since that resulted in no fish, we anchored at a couple of previously productive spots only to find that was not to be the case today.  Moving back downstream we again anchored in a spot where it is usually easy to limit out, but not today.  The fishermen on board used wax worms, power balls, and paste bait to no avail. After a bit, we moved even further downstream and finally found the fish.  It took pink and orange power bait paste to get their attention.  Everyone on board caught fish in this spot, but all too soon, it was time to motor back to the launch ramp.  The day was declared to be a Grand Time Fishing and an OK Time Catching.  Hope to see you on the river.


July 8

Our boat left Bertrand about 7 a.m. this morning with mom and son on board.  We trolled upstream as we have the past few trips, and oh, what a difference a day makes.  Especially when the day brought an overnight storm and an inch of rain.  Water was muddy from just below Bertand to as far as we went upstream, and the bite was extremely slow.  We did catch fish today, both trolling and while anchored in a few spots, but when things are slow, it is painful throw back the ones which fall in the slot.  Each anchorage resulted in only 1-2 fish today, at least for this impatient guide.  The good news is that when they did bite, it didn’t seem to matter what the bait.  Adding a power ball to the hook seemed to make setting the hook a little easier.  Our clients enjoyed the beautiful day, but were ready to hit the cleaning station as the temperatures climbed.  See you on the river!


July 6

Today’s fishing report will sound familiar since the story is nearly identical to our last report.  We launched at Bertrand at 7:30 and headed upstream while trolling with a floating lure.  Our first catch of the day occurred just 20 yards from the launch ramp. This was the first trout ever for the young man on board, so we were cheering for him. We hooked two more beauties while trolling but just didn’t manage to boat them.

We stopped at a favorite spot to anchor for a time. Using power bait paste and power eggs, we caught several more trout.  Today we had success with various colors, but red did not work well for us.   As happened yesterday, we did have a few problems with our lines hanging up on rocks and such.  Our time was coming to an end, so we trolled our way back to the launch ramp and caught another for the live well.  Now, if we were using “Pond Rules” where every catch counts, we caught our limit, including both fishermen and the guide.  By Game and Fish rules, the three of us were 2 short.


Hope to see you on the river!


July 4

As has been the case lately, fishing today was great.  We launched at Bertrand at 6:30 this morning and immediately began trolling upstream with floating lures.  We caught several this way and decided to anchor for a time. 

Anchoring at this first spot led to frustration with the catching part of fishing.  We got hung up on rocks and lost our rigs, while attempting to get some good-sized trout into the boat.   Finally, we declared enough and moved upstream farther to anchor again.  Things went better here and we finished our limit in spite of getting lines tangled in the prop and even having a snap swivel break.  It is hard to judge size of a fish in the water, but some of these had to be over 16 inches long. I know, I know, it is always the big ones that got away :).

At anchor, we fished primarily with yellow and multi-colored paste bait and power balls.  Everything we tried today caught something.  Since the people on board needed to get back to their hotel for check-out time, we trolled back to Bertrand and caught one final trout. 

Today’s clients relayed the story of their last fishing trip on another waterway in our area. It seemed they were surrounded by trout who just smiled and swam away from their bait.  The lady on board even met her goal for the day, which was to catch her very first trout.  Undoubtedly, they say thanks to the White River!  



July 1 Report

This fishing guide wrapped up June with a trip to Florida that included, of course, fishing! Son-in-law Raul Urgelles arranged a guided trip in the large estuary near Ft. Myers. No rainbow trout or walleye there; instead, we had a blast reeling in redfish, stingrays, and even a bull shark. The ones that got away seemed to be snook. Redfish are good eating, but the ones we caught were over the size limit according FL regulations, so were tossed back after the photo shoot. When we weren't catching fish, we enjoyed watching the manatees swim around us. That sure doesn't happen on the White River. But you know, a day on the water is a delight in FL just as it is in Arkansas.

June 21 Fishing Report

We launched at 10:00 a.m. at Bertrand Launch ramp, a bit later than usual.  We trolled upstream, but surprisingly did not get even a strike.  Since trolling was not productive, we anchored at an area I had fished a lot in previous years and put a few in the live well.  The bite seemed slow, but considering the other boat and the bank fishermen caught nothing, our guests did great.  We proceeded further upstream to anchor again.  After some trial-and-error we honed in on a specific area and a specific bait.  Using a multicolored paste and matching solid colors, as well as power eggs, did the trick.   Our guests caught some really nice rainbows.  Sadly, the catch of the day that put such a big smile on the young lady in the photo was too nice to be legal, so we returned it to its watery home.   The weather and the water are beautiful.  See you on the river!

June 11

We launched from Bertrand at 7 a.m. on Saturday for what became one of those absolutely perfect days for fishing.    First of all, the lady on board today was both client and friend, so the company was great.  Second, the weather was beautiful, with no wind and calm waters.  Third, the fish were biting, at least for us.  We headed upstream and started catching with the first cast.  From then on, it didn’t stop.  We used  wax worms and PowerBait eggs and paste of various colors and none stood out over the others.   After fishing in one spot until we felt like moving, we trolled back toward the launch ramp and caught several more, including a nice slot that we had to release.  It didn’t hurt too much since all the fish we caught today were good-sized.  While cleaning, we noticed that nearly all seemed to be river fish, nicely colored that deep pink color like salmon rather than the white meat we sometimes see.   There were just a few other boats out, but plenty of kayaks and bank fishermen.  More rain is predicted later this week, so get out and fish now.

June 4 Fishing Report

We managed to hit the river just right this weekend for some fishing, and some catching, in between the storms.  Our morning began about 7 with a launch at Bertrand.  Our first spot downstream proved only slightly productive so the rest of the morning we concentrated on the upstream portion of the river, but below the trophy area.  Since the lakes are still up 10 feet over full pool, the river is up, too, and has yet to become as clear as we normally see around here.  Our first attempts, with waxworms and power bait eggs, got us nowhere.  We switched to power bait paste and using yellow, rainbow, orange, salmon peach, and chunky cheese, managed to catch enough fish to put a smile on the face of the young man in the boat.  Should be some great fishing in the days ahead.  Hope to see you on the river.

May 20 Fishing Report


Today’s launch was from Houseman about 9 a.m.  Just as we were loading up, we heard the whistle at Beaver Dam blowing.  Unbeknownst to us, the flood gates were being opened a foot.

We headed upstream, intent on fishing between Spider Creek and the dam. The current was already significant enough that we found a sheltered place to tie up for some fishing, without a lot of luck.  Since several of today’s clients were first time fishermen, we spent the time teaching casting.  

Moving downstream to another anchorage out of the current, we caught several trout.  Finding and catching some trout did amaze us, since we had about 2 inches of rain overnight, the flood gates were open, the rains had washed plenty of food into river, and the river level is still so high from previous rains that fish are really spread out.

When the bite seemed to stop, we weighed anchor further downstream to check out one more spot, but again without any luck.  Today we fished using power balls and power bait in combination with wax worms.

This was a beautiful day on the river with a lovely family.  The rains gave us several areas of water falls to enjoy.  Back at the shop, the young people in the group enjoyed hot chocolate while the fish cleaning was completed.  Be safe out there.


May 7 Fishing Report

One week later, here are today’s photos from the launch ramps at Houseman and Bertrand.  The level of the river has decreased noticeably.  You can launch a boat on either side at at Houseman, but the circle drive is still underwater.  Since Houseman is out of the current, this would be a pretty safe launch.  Bertrand’s metal walk ramp is now out of the water and a couple of bank fishermen were trying their luck today.  Beaver Dam has closed all the flood gates and continues to generate 56 megawatts, 24/7, with the one generator that is in working order.  This means that 28,798 gallons of water per second are running from Beaver Lake into the river.  The picture of the chart shows the current level of Table Rock Lake.  As water flows downstream from Beaver to Table Rock to other dams on the White River on to the Mississippi, things get backed up.  Gradually, fishermen and women are beginning to head back out on the water.  The only real catching going on this week is spoonbills near the dam.  Gar and carp are coming upriver for spawning, also.  Obviously, things will continue to change as water level drops.  When the river is so wide and deep, the fish fill a much larger area so concentrated pockets, “hot spots,” are hard to find.   We will be in and out of town for the rest of this month attending family graduations in different parts of the country.  Hoping that when we return we can settle into a fine summer of fishing.  See you on the river!

April 24 Fishing Report

We were excited to launch at Houseman about 7 a.m. on Sunday since our trip had been postponed from Friday due to rain and lightning.  And what a treat to see the river fully passable after our drought experiences of recent months.  Our trip today began with motoring downstream several hundred yards, then turning and trolling upstream.  We did mark plenty of fish along the way, but spent more time than we wanted reeling in to clean off our lures.  The water was covered with debris from the heavy rains of the previous two days.  Whatever the reason, we had no bites while trolling.

We decided to change to bait and try out some of the areas of the river that have been inaccessible by boat for a time.  We anchored and immediately caught a couple of trout.  Using the 5-minute-rule, meaning that we move if we have not had a bite in 5 min., we moved often.  Before we knew it, we had worked our way upriver of Spider Creek Island.  The bite picked up, but it was time for these fishing people to head home.  This nice couple had previously only caught fish at Lake Pomme de Terre, so taking home a dinner-size mess of fish made the trip a happy one for them.


April 12

The good news is that there is enough water after our period of drought that the dam has been generating for a few days.  The bad news is that it has made it difficult to pick the best time for fishing.  I fished at Bertrand, Houseman, and near the dam over the past couple of days and found the bite to be quite slow.  When I did get a bite at Bertrand, it was on power bait, especially chunky cheese and rainbow.  At Houseman, the bite was on power balls.  Using an ultralite rig during generation doesn’t work well at all.  Trolling is the way to go, unless you can find a pool outside the current.  My best advice is to check the generation schedule before you head to the river.  One humorous note, a fellow fisherman asked to take my picture when I pulled in one of the trout below.  He wanted to prove to his buddy that there was just one trout left in the river and I just caught it.  Guess other fishermen were having slow days also.  Perhaps we should take a tip from the osprey (sometimes knows as a river eagle). I witnessed flying over the river and making the dive to come up with a fish.  What a sight!  The weather over the weekend is forecast to be beautiful.  Maybe you can hit the river and enjoy springtime in the Ozarks.

March 30 Report

This isn’t really a fishing report, but a water report.  If you have read any of our posts in the past few months, you have read about how low the water has been in the White River.  We are happy to report that our recent rains have had a good effect on the river.  The photos below were taken from each side of the White River Bridge on Highway 62 near us.   That rocky bank is still awfully wide, but we can no longer walk across the width of the river.  Who knows what this spring will bring, but this is exciting for fishermen!  The chart shows water levels in Table Rock Lake for 2015, 2016, and 2017 to date.  We have a way to go, but like that sharp blue spike!


March 26 Fishing Report

Saturday’s launch was from Houseman, at a time much later than usual, 2 p.m.  We held off until the rain had stopped, or nearly so.  We went downstream to the first “sweet spot” which turned out to be not so sweet today.  We went further downstream and anchored, hoping for better luck.  Gave up on that and headed down to a third spot that has been productive in the past.  We did get some strikes at this spot, but no fish made it into the boat.  The rain began to pick up so we turned upstream in case we needed to make a fast exit.  Our attention was diverted by a colorful item on our port side that seemed to be caught up on the bank.  Perhaps the low water made some “lost” items more visible so we could do a little salvage work.  At least we didn’t go home empty handed.  As the mist got heavier and our passengers were close to freezing, we motored on back to the launch ramp and called it a day.  We are so grateful for the abundant rain that fell in the past couple of days, but the fishing is often most difficult when the river is muddy and full of run-off from the banks.  A couple of other fishermen were out, but told us they had no bites.  Our best wishes to this young couple who enjoyed the river and their time together on this chilly spring day.  And what a good sport this young Birthday Girl was when our guide showed her a photo of a bear taken on nearby property, not knowing her feelings toward the subject.  


March 18 Fishing Report

While other fisher-people cancelled their plans this week due to the extreme cold weather, this tough group from Texas forged on!  And look at the result!  These five young ‘uns and their moms spent a productive morning on the river.  We launched two boats at Houseman and proceeded downstream to anchor.  We moved twice more and threw power balls, paste, and waxworms.  There were lots more bites than there were catches, except for the “honey hole” as one of the boys named it.  The kids on board today are well on their way to becoming outstanding fisher-people.  Despite the freezing temperatures, they listened to the guides and were responsive to the suggestions.  What a great morning and what fine kids!


March 13 Fishing Report


It has been a couple of days now, but we launched at Houseman and went upstream to fish.There were places where the water was less than 1 foot deep and we had to pull the motor up for clearance.  We headed for a favorite spot hoping that the area had not been fished much lately.  Sure enough, we anchored and managed to land several.  After a time I asked if one member of the group was interested in trying some different bait.  His humorous response was, “Let’s see.  I am catching fish.  This is working.  Why would I change now?”  Obviously he is of the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school.   When the waiting time between bites seemed to slow further, we moved backdownstream and finished our limits.  We caught fish both on paste bait and power balls, but the bite was slow across the entire river, perhaps due to the front moving through.  Or maybe it just seemed slow because we were so cold.  The fish were warmer than we were this day!  One advantage to a slow bite is more time for conversation. These outdoorsmen had plenty to discuss, lake fishing, striper guides, and elk hunting in AR among them.  All in all, another enjoyable day in good company.


Feb. 25 Fishing Report

   We made plans to do some bank fishing today, so we waited until afternoon to throw some lines at Bertrand.  The goal was to try out some new hooks.  The hooks seemed ok, but the bite was slow and the cold was soon unbearable.  We put a couple of trout on the stringer, then called it a day.  What a contrast to the fly fishing we did on Wednesday.
   We had a glorious afternoon on the river Wednesday in the excellent company of two fly fishermen. After launching at Bertrand, we made our way downstream with an eye out for surface activity. We took a turn around the pool in front of Spider Creek where the fishermen began plying their arts.  We threw everything at them but the kitchen sink (and we considered that!) with spotty results. The midge hatch seemed to be going full bore and we spotted just a few mayflies. Summer here?  After a time we moved upstream and repeated our efforts. Again, lots of surface activity was apparent, but not so many midges this time. We had noticed several bank fishermen who also had only spotty luck at best. So, we gave up on catching but thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of fellowship among the beauties of nature.


Feb. 22 Fishing Report

Despite the continuing dry weather and lack of water in the White River near Beaver Dam, we decided to try our luck.  Happy to say that the trout were responsive.  We launched two boats at Houseman and headed downstream.  Our first stop proved productive and we stayed quite a while.  When the trout seemed to stop biting, we tried some reverse psychology and threatened to leave.  They must have heard us because the bite picked up for some time.  Eventually we moved on to another spot where the fish finder recorded some fish.  They were hungry, too, and even seemed larger that those in the first hole.  Berkley paste worked well today, but the Berkley eggs worked even better.  On occasion, we even turned to wax worms and those got the bite also.  We all got our limits today, including the guide.  The surprise of the day was the presence of some perch, which are not often seen around this part of the river.  Two of them made it into our boat.

Jan 30, 2017

As I wrote yesterday, I wanted to fish again on Sunday to continue mixing up some bait and hook combinations.  The air temperature was cold and the wind was blowing and it was even colder.  The bite was disappointing compared to Wednesday, about half as often, but there was a bite. The ultra light tackle was abused by the wind making it more difficult. Strangely, each nibble seemed to make a rat-a-tat-tat feel on the hook.  Perhaps that was wind-related, too.  I tried a new hook geometry and although it worked, it but was a little larger than what I usually like for trout.  I used different baits, color and consistency, and included wax worms in the mix.  So far, I haven't hit on any combination that beats prior methods and gear.