The Sculpin

This morning I find myself daydreaming about the monster trout of the White and Norfork rivers in Arkansas. What allows these trout to grow so big is such an amazing food chain. One link of this chain has been on my mind ever since my last trip to fish these waters, the sculpin.

White River, sculpin, Norfork River

During my last trip to the Norfork my daughter and I found a sculpin that was freshly deceased. It gave me the opportunity to explain to her how some of the trout grow so big in these waters. Ever since that day, that sculpin has been stuck in my head.

white river sculpin, Norfork river sculpin, trout fishing, arkansas,

Sculpin of the Ozarks

Sculpin, white river brown trout, flyfishing,

On my next visit to the area I am going to be prepared with a box of big meaty streamers so I can target some of the carnivorous trout. Maybe I’ll get lucky and one of the 30″+ fish will be hungry that day! Until then I’ll keep tying and dreaming.

Galloup's Sex Dungeon

Big trout streamer

8wt fly rod tested

Over this past weekend I received an email from Braden about the 8wt rod I built for him. It seems that he’s giving it a good test on the steelhead running the creeks and rivers of western New York.

steelhead flyfishing

trout, steelhead, great lakes, flyfishing

flyfishing NY trout

NY steelhead fishing

His description of the rod action was “It’s got the right whip and supple enough to drop the small nymphs in where I want them. And it slows down the big boys.”

I’m glad to see he’s back out catching them after his loss with the fire. Keep it up!

If anyone is interested in one of these rods email me at donbowley@gmail.com.

Family Fishing in the Ozarks

So this past weekend my daughter and I did some fishing while we were at the Sowbug Roundup in Mountain Home Arkansas. When we arrived both the White river and the Norfork were releasing water so both rivers were high and not very wadeable. It was looking like that was going to be the case for the entire weekend.

I decided that I would take Callie to Dry Run Creek to catch her first trout on a fly. Dry Run Creek is a creek fed by the outflow of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery.

Norfork fish hatchery

Outflow from the hatchery


It’s nutrient rich waters allow the trout to grow large. It is a catch and release area only fishable by kids under 16 and the disabled, so the fishing is good. It makes me wish I was 15 again!

With such a great fishery it didn’t take long and she was catching fish.

Dry Run Creek rainbow

Callie’s first trout on a fly.

Dry Run Creek

She was having a great time!

We caught a few dead drifting a sow bug pattern, but most of them would hit it at the end of the drift when it would start swinging up.

Dry run creek rainbow trout

This one hit on the swing and almost blew the rod out of her hands!

She was ready for a bigger fish so we moved further upstream and found a good size trout for her to cast to. It took a few tries to get a good drift, but she finally hooked him. She was excited but did well fighting it.

He's been eating well!

He’s been eating well!

After a few more smaller fish she decided that was enough and we headed out so I could do some fishing. We stopped by the hatchery on the way out so she could see where the fish she was catching come from. I also gave her my opinion on wild vs hatchery fish, but well keep that between us.

Norfork Hatchery

Feeding them pellets!

We headed over to the Norfork river because there was no generation in the afternoon so it would be wadeable.

Norfork River

It was busy too!

I observed from a deck above the river for a short time and I could see some fish moving around but no one was catching anything. I had to give it a try anyways. After about an hour of trying everything I could think of I gave up and headed out fishless.

She was gloating on who caught fish today.

She was gloating on who caught fish today.

I got up early sunday morning and just had to give the fishing one more try. I was in luck and the White river had dropped overnight. I didn’t have much time so I decided to fish near Cotter access.

white river trout fishing

Cotter Access on the White River.

It was cold out and the fishing was slow, but as soon as the sun hit the water I started seeing some activity. The first fish was a little brown on a swung Tailwater soft hackle fly.

White River brown trout

White River brown trout

It wasn’t the fish I was hoping for but it’s better than nothing. I was able to catch a couple more rainbows before it was time to go home.

white river arkansas trout

Not the monster I was hoping for but still fun!

Overall it was a great weekend and I really enjoyed seeing my girl catch those fish! She is growing up fast and I hope she keeps on learning to fish and loving the outdoors!

Sowbug Roundup 2014 Recap

The 2014 Sowbug Roundup is a fly tying show put on every year by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers. This year is the first time I was able to attend this event. My daughter (Callie) and I drove down to Arkansas Thursday evening after work, so we could attend on Friday and Saturday.

Upon arriving the first thing we noticed was an aquarium trailer loaded with large trout outside of the exhibition hall. I was able to show Callie the different species of trout and how to tell the apart.

The sun was in her eyes

The sun was in her eyes

The show had some local vendors around the outside of the room and groups of tiers at tables in the center of the room. One of the first tables we came across was the Friends of the Norfork Fish Hatchery. The Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery is a nonprofit group that supports and promotes the hatchery. They also told us that the fish in the display came from Dry Run Creek at the Hatchery (more on Dry Run Creek later).

So we walked around and watched some people tie different flies. There were people tying everything from poppers to midges to salmon flies. There were different seminars through out the day. The first one we went to was by John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service on where and how to fish the White and Norfork Rivers. He had some good info for anyone new to these tailwaters.

Later in the day Steve Dally from Dallys Ozark Fly Fisher had a great seminar on dry fly fishing in high flow conditions. With the rain that the area had received recently both dams were releasing water, so his seminar was full of people.

Steve Dally and I

Steve Dally and I

Chad Johnson, who is Dally’s head guide, was tying some streamers at the Dally’s booth and gave me some tips on improving my deceiver flies.

Chad Johnson also won the tying contest this year at the Roundup.

Chad Johnson also won the tying contest this year at the Roundup.

Another great couple of people that were at the show was Dave and Emily Whitlock.
20140322_111701
Dave had some amazing art and was very busy all weekend. They gave Callie a signature card with a Bluegill on it (her favorite fish).
20140321_215103

Another great artist and fly tier that was there was Duane Hada. Duane is the creator of one of my favorite flies the Creek Crawler. He also had some great art work on display.

Duane Hada's Creek Crawler tied by me.

Duane Hada’s Creek Crawler tied by me.

What really makes this event great is the guest tiers from all over the country. One person that I learned from is Stack Scoville from Nashville TN.
Sowbug 2014 042
He was tying some great looking salmon flies and I just had to learn his technique on married wing flies. It was a long process but well worth the wait, as he tied a Grouse and Green pattern from a Pryce-Tannatt book which he gave to me when finished.

A beautiful fly I will never fish.

A beautiful fly I will never fish.

My daughter found out that a woman from Texas was tying a butterfly pattern so we had to go check it out. Sorry but I don’t remember her name, but she does great work.
Sowbug 2014 037

And the busiest person of the show had to be Mike George. His deer hair flies are some amazing pieces of art and you can fish them too.

Mike Georges display of spun deer hair flies.

Mike Georges display of spun deer hair flies.Yes that’s Nemo in the lower corner

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On the last day of the show there was a raffle for some great prizes (that I didn’t win). And the people from Sage/Redington were giving away fly starter kits to kids.

Redington Fly kit

Redington Fly kit

Overall it was a great show. I learned so much from so many great tiers and fisherman/women. I am looking forward to next years event already!

8wt Fly Rod Build

Earlier this week Morgan from TLTFF put up a tweet about a fellow fly fisherman who lost his stuff to a house fire, when I read about it I was just starting a build on a 9ft 8wt rod.

I can't imagine going through this

I can’t imagine going through this

I figured that if anyone could use it Braden could. So I finished it out and its one the way to him now. I hope it catchs him alot of fish in the future!

8wt fly rod

8wt fly rod

8wt fly rod

8wt fly rod

8wt fly rod

8wt fly rod

Sowbug Roundup 2014 coming soon

The 2014 Sowbug Roundup put on by the North Arkansas Flyfishers is coming up March 20-22. 9am to 4pm at the Baxter County Fairgrounds.

This fly tying show is in Mountain Home Arkansas, situated between the White River and the Norfork River in north central Arkansas. It gives me the opportunity to learn from some great fly tyers and fish an amazing tailwater all in the same weekend.

Check it out if you have the chance! Sowbug Roundup 2014

bug

6WT Smallmouth Fly Rod Build

I decided that I wanted a 6wt rod for fishing for smallmouth on the windy days here in Kansas. I did some looking around and found a blue fast action rod blank from Hook and Hackle.

It turned out to be a wonderful rod to cast. Matched with a 6wt Orvis Hyros Bass line it will blast out 60 ft of line like its nothing.

custom rod building, fishing rod, kansas

Black and blue went very well togeather.


Kansas custom fly rod

The stripping guide with blue insert


custom fly rod

Black reel seat to go with black guides


fly rod

Black winding check with blue wraps holding the hook keeper

Spinning rod builds

Everyone needs a heavy rod for the ocassional trip to salt water so here is an 8ft spinning rod I built.

saltwater fishing, cobia

Saltwater spinning rod


custom spinning rod

silver and blue guide wraps


saltwater spinning rod

Surf style cork tape handle

I also built a medium action split grip spinning rod that I gave away on Twitter .

custom spinning rod

Split grip spinning rod in black and gold

If your in need of a new rod drop me an email or tweet and I can work with you to get you just what you need.