Fly Fishing Adventures

White River Arkansas Fly Fishing with Gaston's Resort

White River Arkansas Fly Fishing with Gaston's Resort
Rainbow Trout, White River

Rainbow Trout, White River


Two weeks ago, one of my clients called and asked if I could attend and present at a meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Normally this type of request is almost silly, I’m a neurotic calendar planner and book my travel 3-4 months in advance.  Fortunately, I just had a set of meetings cancel and I was open.  I quickly booked the meetings, and started looking for a fishing window.  That window opened up on a Wednesday, and I was stoked to find out that one of my childhood trout fishing locations could be revisited.  One day of PTO logged, I’m in!  My dad used to take me to the White River in Gaston's Resort Arkansas when I was a kid.  I’m guessing that its been between thirty and thirty five years since I’ve been here.  We used to fly down, my dad owned a little private plane and land on a tiny little landing strip.  We always stayed at Gaston’s Resort.  I looked this place up, booked a room, booked a fishing guide, and am SUPER happy I did.  I’ve sent him pictures of the landing strip he used to land on, and I guarantee he’s happier than I am right now!  On to the fishing!



 When I book a fishing trip, I generally ask to speak with my guide in advance.  On this trip, Gaston’s had my guide Frank call me the week prior.  I wanted to know river conditions and get a feel for him as a guide.  He instantly made me feel confident of his River knowledge and that we would have a good connection.  I’ve fished with a lot of guides , and Frank was a pro, I could tell right away on the phone.  He did warn me up front that the water was challenging.  They are running a ton of water out of Bull Shoals dam for power and the river is WAY UP.  



The White River is known for its giant brown trout, and this was a perfect opportunity to test out our new Econ 101 906-7/8 Rods.  These rods are 6 sections, super easy to travel with, and are PERFECT for throwing giant streamers.  Frank hooked be up with an amazing articulated streamer, and was a little nerevous as he said this one cost him $10!  Thankfully I know what I’m doing and didn’t put it in a tree.  This one looks just like a baby rainbow trout, the diet of choice in the White River for monster browns. 



We hit the bank hard for 4 hours straight in the morning, and only had one follow.  My mind started playing tricks on me as I kept imagining a monster brown coming out of the depths, but no luck.  This is one of the best places on earth to land a giant brown on the fly, and if you want a chance, you got to put in the work.  The work was there, but there was no reward today.  Next time I come back, I hope to have 2-3 days to spend more time casting for these giants.  


Good looking set up!!!

Good looking set up!!!


We broke for lunch and began to build our afternoon plan.  Next, we were going right up next to the dam and would fish a deep indicator rig, with essentially a white jig as our fly.  We were probably 10 feed deep, and needed a bit of weight to get the fly down.  The white jig imitates shad that come through the bottom of the the dam generators.  They are dead, so this reminds me a bit of flesh fly patterns you see used up in Alaska.  



The very first cast up by the dam...BOOM.  We hooked into a solid fish.  This fish tested the ECON 101 906-5/6 rod and reel, the drag and it preformed perfectly.  This fish was thick, and I was thrilled to land one of my largest rainbow trout in the lower 48.  We measured this one out at 23.5 inches.  I’m sad to report that I did break one off that was much larger than this one...the one that got away!  Frank said I screwed it up, and he was probably right.  



We fished a number of quick drifts, hooking up about every other drift.  There were a handful of boats out there making similar runs, most of them spin fishing.  I don’t think I saw them with a fish, but I honestly wasn’t paying that close attention.



Frank is a veteran guide on The White River.  He’s been guiding here around 28 years, and has been guiding at Gaston’s White River Resort for over 20 years.  It takes a lot of skill to position a boat perfectly when there’s that much water moving out of the dam, and we had ZERO issues the entire day.  Frank was impressed by the rods, and loved the fact that they are packable and hold up well to thick fish in FAST moving water.  The price is pretty tough to beat too!

We had an epic day on the White River, this is must fish water if you are anywhere close.  I would also highly recommend this as a destination to book a fly fishing trip.



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