Caddis Report


Hello, I am Bo’s Yellow Labrador Retriever, Caddis

Hello, I am Bo’s yellow Labrador Retriever, Caddis. Bo named me for that wonderful aquatic insect that Arkansas trout just love to eat and yes Bo has tied some caddis fly patterns from my yellow coat.

Because I don’t have to guide, or fly fish, I have a lot of time in the boat to observe the river and the fish so I will try to give you regular updates on water conditions, fishing reports, photos of our anglers and of course the latest information on the Caddis hatch.

If you have any questions just e-mail me for the latest “Caddis Reports.”

 

Wildflowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right now the wildflowers on the Little Red River are absolutely beautiful.  As my good friend, Paul Broddick, can attest, the Brown Trout are also sporting their fall colors.  

We have pretty much spent the entire summer on a fly fishing tour out west in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.  In late July we got back to Arkansas but by late August we were back in Montana and stayed until the first snow.  Therefore, we have obviously have not been guiding here at home so there have not been many posts to the website.  Over the next couple of weeks we will add some additional posts to chronicle the western fly fishing tour and by the first part of November we should be back to doing some guide trips here in Arkansas so just give us a call if you want to enjoy some beautiful fall fly fishing.

There are already a bunch of photos from this summers trip posted in the “Gallery” section of the website so take a look.  The week long float trip on the Smith River in Montana was really special and provided lots of great photos.

“Life is Good on the Fly!”

CADDIS

Father and Son Trip

Somehow father and son fly fishing trips are always fun.  We had a great time yesterday with Briant and his son, Jack, from Little Rock, Arkansas, on a really hot summer day on the Little Red River.  Due to the heat we got an early start and made a foggy run up river.  The fishing started really slow and we did not touch a fish for the first thirty minutes.  We changed depths on our nymph rigs and just as we were about to make a fly change, BOOM, Jack hooked up on a feisty little Rainbow.  From that point on the fishing was pretty much red hot, like the temperature.  Bo had two fish in the net at the same time on multiple occasions.

We actually saw a few Hexagenas come off and one of our Pheasant Tail patterns made a super emerger.  The guys also took fish on #14 Born’s Hairy Legged Sowbug, RG/PT Cruisers, #14 Swiss Straw Sowbug.

It is just a joy watching a father and son fish together.

“Life is Good on the Fly!”

CADDIS 

Western Fly Fishing Road Trip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have not posted anything thing to the website for quite some time because we have spent almost two months this summer traveling and fly fishing our way through Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.   Since our home town is Fort Smith, Arkansas, thought it appropriate to start this years western fly fishing tour on the Bighorn River in Fort Smith, Montana.  This Fort Smith is actually on The Crow Indian Reservation and sports an official population of seventy residents.  The small town consists of three fly shops, a convenience store, gas station, post office, church and one taco stand.  Regardless, there are several lodges, bed & breakfast inns and numerous houses for rent all very near the Bighorn River.

The Bighorn River is a tailwater fishery that is noted for it’s wonderful dry fly fishing; but due to large winter snow pack in the mountains the reservoir above the river was being evacuated so the river was running quite high and a bit off color.  We pulled out the streamer rods and made a twenty-two mile float and caught several nice Brown Trout all in the low twenty inch category.  It is a beautiful river and because we only had one day to fish it we will definitely be back to check out the dry fly fishing on lower water levels.  Next stop, the Smith River and a six day, seventy mile float trip!

“Life is Good on the Fly!” 

CADDIS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Streamer Weather

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is hard to believe that the last time Bo and his son, Trent, fished together was September of 2016 on a trip to the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers in Montana.  The last trip Trent made to the Empty Creel Lodge on the Little Red River was over a year ago in March of 2016.  That is way too long!

Last Friday it was cloudy, cool, raining and fairly high water.  Perfect streamer weather!  As you can see the boys caught some nice fish on several different streamer patterns.  The two most effective patterns were the ACC Streamer and The Bald Eagle.  After lunch the water began to fall out and some small Caddis began to appear so the guys switched to some Caddis emerger patterns and the RG/PT Cruiser and caught several more really nice fat Rainbows.  It was a great father-son day on the water!!

The next day we all enjoyed an event at the Ozark Angler Fly shop in Heber Springs, Ar.  Chicken was kindly provided by  O.K. Foods, Inc., of Fort Smith, Ar.,  and Trent brought up his big smoker and he and Bo cooked up yard bird and smoked bologna for about one hundred hungry fly fishers.  It was a fun afternoon with a bunch of good friends.

“Life is Good on the Fly!”

CADDIS

Old Friend and Young Friend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday was really a special day.  We got to fish with an old friend, Chuck Farneth, and a relatively new and young friend, Andrew Priester.  Although Chuck is certainly not old, he and Bo have been friends for a number of years.  Chuck won the first ESPN Great Outdoors Games Fly Fishing Competition some years ago and is most certainly an expert fly fisher. He is also a certified master fly caster and world class fly fishing guide.  He also represented the United States in the World Master Fly Fishing Competition in Chile a few years ago.

Andrew Priester is a young friend that is a wonderful and extremely talented young man. He is an outdoorsman in the truest sense of the word.  Andrew guides duck and goose hunts in Canada as well as Arkansas and is a top notch turkey and deer hunter.  He also guides fly fishers on all three of our north central Arkansas trout rivers.  

We all got a rare chance to streamer fishing together and as you can see we had a very productive session.  With high water and overcast skies we had near perfect conditions and all three anglers hooked up on some really nice Brown Trout on a variety of streamer patterns.  Every fly fishing guide has some different techniques and they all work.  Do not pass up an opportunity to take a guide trip with either one of these wonderful guides.  You will definitely have a good day and wonderful learning experience.

Oh yeah, if you cannot get hooked up with Chuck, or Andrew, just give Bo at call at Empty Creel Fly Fishing Guides and Outfitter, LLC., he is not too shabby either!

“Life is Good on the Fly!”

CADDIS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good News, Bad News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday morning I received the photo above from Donald, who is a long time client.  He caught this magnificent female Brown Trout that morning in The Park below Greers Ferry Dam on The Little Red River.  That is the Good News!

The Bad News is that he had a guide trip scheduled with us for the very next day.  He even sent along a little note that said he hoped to catch an ever bigger fish during our trip the following day.  I doubt that this has happened to very many guides during their careers and it is definitely a hard act to follow.  Needless to say Bo did not get a great nights sleep before the trip.  We knew Donald was only joking and that he realized he had the great fortune to catch the fish of a lifetime.  His main purpose for the guide trip was to introduce his girl friend, Katie, to fly fishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It proved to be a difficult day for a beginning fly fisher as the water was quite high and the wind was really howling.  Regardless Katie worked hard on her casting and setting up good drifts and eventually was rewarded with her first on a fly.  Meanwhile, Donald stuck to his guns and stayed with the streamer rod all day long looking for another big  fish.  Although he did not a catch a Brown Trout that was anywhere close to his fish the previous day he did land perhaps the largest Pickrell  we have seen on this river.  All in all it was a very nice day spent with two very wonderful people.

“Life is Good on the Fly!”

CADDIS 

 

 

 

Raining March Browns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A light rain in the morning proved to make Sunday an epic day of dry fly fishing on The Little Red River.  Our clients booked for the day decided that they just did not want to fish in the rain.  So what do you do?  Go fly fishing of course.

We launched the drift boat about 9:00AM, and with the cloudy and rainy conditions Bo pulls out the streamer rod and spent about two hours pounding the banks with a variety of streamer patterns.  He managed to bring a few decent fish to the boat but nothing really special.  We switched to a nymph rig with a March Brown emerger pattern but it got no interest.  The RG/PT Cruiser however brought several nice fish including a dandy Brown Trout to the net. 

Just after noon the light drizzle stopped and then everything started.  The March Browns started to pop and the fish went on the feed.  A size #10 March Brown dry fly with a #14 soft hackle emerger pattern as a dropper were a perfect match for the hatch.  For about three and half hours we took some really amazing fish.  We did not get photos of the two largest Brown Trout that Bo caught as we really needed another angler in the boat to help with photography.  On one cast to a rising fish a real March Brown Mayfly landed a foot in front of Bo’s fly and we just knew the big Brown was going to eat the real thing; but just as the fish nosed up the real Mayfly flew off the water we watched the Brown eat our fly!  It was really cool to watch.  Don’t let a little foul weather deter you; this was the second best dry fly day we have ever had on The Little Red River.

Oh yeah, our clients were sick when we sent the photos!!

“Life is Good on the Fly!”

CADDIS

Friends

 

Last weekend we had the opportunity to take one of Bo’s oldest and dearest friends fly fishing.  No one could ask for a more loyal friend than Philip Merry, Jr.  Bo and Philip met during their college days and have not only been great friends ever since they have also done a lot of business together for all these years.

We had wonderful February weather with temperatures in the sixties and seventies; although the winds were very strong both of the days of our trips.  On Saturday we took the drift boat on a long float on the lower river and both Philip and his friend and business partner, John Cobb, struggled a bit with their casting in the wind which easily gusted to twenty-five mils per hour.  Regardless, both anglers caught good numbers of Rainbow Trout and each angler landed a couple of nice Brown Trout.  Although there was very little insect activity the trout in the lower river are definitely keying on March Brown Emerger patterns. 

At noon we anchored the drift boat on a gravel bar and pull out the ole grill for some chicken cordon bleu sandwiches.  During the afternoon float the fishing remained strong and we got to see a beautiful Bald Eagle and a few adult beverages were enjoyed.

On Sunday we launched the jet boat a bit further up river  and fished a couple of different sections of the Little Red River.  Again with very strong winds there was virtually no visible insect activity.  Nevertheless less a variety of Sowbug and Pheasant Tail patterns kept both anglers on fish and actually produced a little better numbers than the day before.  All in all it was a great fly fishing weekend and wonderful time spent with dear friends!

“Life is Good on the Fly!”

CADDIS

 

Nasty Creature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lamprey Eels are nasty creatures that can swim at incredible speeds.  Commonly called an eel, a Lamprey is actually a jawless fish.  Once they latch their round mouth, that is full of teeth, onto a fish they can literally suck the life out of a fish in pretty short order.

Usually when you catch a fish with a Lamprey attached it quickly lets go of the fish soon as the fish comes out of the water or is raised from the water in a net. In this instance Bo netted the fish and was able to quickly scoop the fish and the Lamprey into the boat where the Lamprey immediately released it’s grip on the fish and ended up on the bottom of the boat.  The Lamprey was inhumanely dispatched and this Rainbow Trout now swims again to fight another day.  There is always something interesting on the river.

Fishing continues to be quite good and we are beginning to see a few March Browns on the lower river.  March Brown emerger fly patterns have been very successful as it seems the fish are definitely looking for them  Greers Ferry Lake is current well below the conservation pool and the generation has been reduced to power demand so there are long periods of low water particularly on the weekends.  We could really use a good general rain to get the lake level back up before the summer season.  

“Life is Good on the Fly!”

CADDIS

Froggy Weathter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is what we call “Froggy Weather,” it was cold, foggy and a steady drizzle.  Perfect fly fishing weather!  If we has just a little more water the streamer fishing would have really been on.  Nevertheless, my good friend, George Born, caught a nice Brown Trout on one of his white streamer patterns right off the bat and that really got us excited.  Unfortunately our excitement was short lived; at least as far as streamers for this day.

We quickly switched to some to some nymph rigs and had just a wonderful day of fly fishing.  The RG/PT Cruiser was the best pattern and it did not seen to matter if it was dead drifted, twitched or even slowly stripped the fish jumped all over it.  The post spawn Brown Trout are starting to move around a bit and if we can get some good rain this weekend and some higher flows the streamer bite should turn on.  If not, we can just stick with what we did today.  Either way…..

“Life is Good on the Fly!”

CADDIS