Hey guys, Hope the holiday season treated you all well. I missed many of you guys this last year while guiding a season in Missoula, MT. I have just wrapped up a great Mule deer and duck season up in Big Sky Country, and will be heading back down south to Arkansas permanently. This looks to be a very promising season in Arkansas. I have been watching the water temperatures/elevation on the lake side, and it looks to be one of the best shad kill years to date starting February 1. If you haven't experienced the shad kill on the White River, let me paint a picture many of you can grasp. Imagine, hitting peak salmon flies on the Big Hole. Big fish getting gready up top to a dead threadfin shad (thermal kill from very cold water) that are sucked through the dam. Most of the guides like to nymph "white junk", but why look at a bobber, when half the fish will eat a white thingamabobber, much less a shad pattern, all day long. With two solid years of consistantly high flows, the White and Norfork have had a healthy and sustained flush of the substrate, which should lead to a resurgence of the big hatches we saw in the early 2000's. The caddis hatch should be kicking off like clockworth by the end of the third week in March and going into the second week of April. We're talking mother's day caddis...big suckers. At the end of the second week in April the caddis size will shrink with some good rises in the evenings to ovapositers and spents in the "spots". Depending on the weather, we could see Sulphurs early and sporadic at the end of the month, but the big push should start the last week of May and go into June. May can also be exciting streamer action on the first 80 degree sustained spell with the emergence of crawdads. If, it is some shade of brown and wiggles, the brown trout will eat it. Mid May is also the time for top secret terrestrial fishing. Mum's the word. Summer fishing is as simple as: Shorts and sandals, early morning streamer bites, typical tailwater nymphing tactics, night fishing success, and terrestrials galore. This is an easy time to get the family and kids out. The sleeper during this time, is not in the trout game, but the smallmouth. When the warm water rivers are too low for the party barge floaters on the warm water rivers, I start getting the twitch. That means the raft comes out and we start throwing big nasty top water flies to a fish with a street fighter's mentality. I'm not going to even push the fall time. White River from the end of September-December has been all over ESPN outdoors, fishing shows, and every fishing magazine known to man. All I reccomend is book early. I will say this is the best time to night fish. Forrest- "Nice 26"er, okay work that same seam again." fisherman "should we take a picture of this one." Forrest- "eh...i guess". Many of you that have been to Arkansas have enquired about full service packages. This year I have finally put one together: airport shuttles, lodging, meals, and of course the fishing. Overnight smallie trips on the Buffalo (the first Wild and Scenic river in the US) will also be on the menu. Spring and fall is also a good time to pop creek "x" for some very large smallmouth. Again, I'm excited to get back to Arkansas this year. Hope you all have a great 2010! Looking forward to hearing from you. Tightlines, Forrest Smith
Forrest is a fourth generation Northwest Arkansas native and attended the University of Arkansas.
Although Forrest began his guide career over nine years ago for trout on the Whiter River System and smallies in the creeks, he currently guides over 200 days per year including Chile, Alaska, and here in Northern Arkansas. This includes five summers in Alaska, one summer on the Kanektok River in a tent camp, four at Bristol Bay Lodge, three seasons in Chile, one season in Charleston chasing red fish, and one season in southwest Montana.
Forrest's approach to fishing the White River system is quite unique which makes him a great fit to our team. He can fish the water from dead low to flood gates open and knows the intricacies of the dry fly game all year round (which most don't think exist). He loves slinging big uglies at the banks with the big sticks and is also one of the very few fly fishing guides that knows the ins and outs of the big brown night game with the moon and seasonal phases.