Time: 10:00AM – 4:30PM
Location: Texas Creek and braided area above Pinnacle Rock
Fish Landed: 13
Reports on the Arkansas River looked promising as the low level snow melt was over and water clarity improved. Wednesday’s high was supposed to be mid-70’s, and then four days of cool and possibly damp weather after Wednesday convinced me to make the trip.
I arrived at the Arkansas River above Pinnacle Rock and began fishing at around 10AM. The sun was out and the sky was blue but wind was an issue. I hiked up the road and spotted two fishermen in a spot where the braids merged. I went further up the highway and then dropped to the river and crossed two channels and cut through the willows to a spot on the north braid. I was only 20 yards or so above the other fishermen, but they couldn’t see me.
I tied on a Chernobyl ant and dangled a bright green caddis pupa, but this wasn’t drawing any interest. I switched out the Chernobyl for a yellow Letort hopper on top, and still no interest. There were thousands of caddis on the willows along the stream, and they occasionally fluttered and dipped on the water. It was obvious that the caddis had already emerged in this stretch.
I decided to go deep with a split shot and strike indicator so I could generate more movement on the flies subsurface. I tied on a beadhead prince nymph as the top fly and added a beadhead bright green caddis pupa on the point. This proved to be the ticket and five browns grabbed the prince as I prospected up the north braid. After covering a small amount of water, the two fishermen rounded the corner and asked if I planned to fish upstream. I nodded emphatically, and then they asked where I’d begun. I informed them, and they jumped in below my starting point.
I continued quite a bit upstream and near the point where I stopped for lunch, had a sharp strike on the first cast into a nice little pocket above a split in the current. I set the hook and the line flew back to a bush. When I retrieved the line, I realized I’d snapped off the fly in the fish’s mouth.
I hiked back to the car and decided to drive upstream to Texas Creek to hopefully get to a point where the caddis were about to emerge. I parked in the lot across the bridge and immediately scrambled to the river and shook some willows. Very few caddis flitted from the branches.
I ate my lunch then hiked down the bank along the river further than I’d ever gone before to some nice water where the river widened out. I stayed with the nymphing set up but went back to the bright green caddis and a gray wet fly. I was assuming I was fishing water where the trout would be focused on emerging caddis. I got snagged several times and ripped off quite a few flies before finally catching a decent brown on the bright green caddis pupa. During this time, the wind began to gust so strong that I turned my back and held my hat in place. The sky clouded up for periods and the caddis on the willows began to swarm and dap the surface. Apparently I was wrong, and the caddis had already emerged in this stretch as well. I decided to go back to the prince nymph, and this proved to be a great decision. During the afternoon I picked up another eight brown trout, several quite nice in the 13-14 inch range.
The fish were in the deeper pockets and runs just off faster currents. When I reached the island near the confluence with Texas Creek, I fished along the south side of the island to the top of the island. There was another fisherman at the top so I circled back to the bottom and fished up the right channel. The same fisherman was at the top of the run waving at me as I approached. I finally figured out that he was telling me in sign language that his hat had blown off and was floating down the river toward me. I scanned the water but didn’t see anything.
It was now around 4:30, so I decided to call it a day and head home.