If you tie flies of the streamer kind most likely you know about this little shindig that happens once a year down in the Ozarks called the Streamer Lovefest. It’s become a small festival filled with characters from all walks of life and from what I can tell, gets bigger every year. I’ve wanted to get down there the past few happenings and it just never came together for me. Last summer I received a message from Jeff Trigg with an invitation to come down and fish with him. Jeff owns Ozark Sweetwater Fly Fishing and guides on a lot of the water in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. We worked some logistics out and a plan of sorts started forming. During this time I mentioned heading to the White to fish with Jeff to my friend Robert Hawkins. Robert is the proprietor of Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop and a former movie star. He’s an interesting dude who’s done quite a bit of cool things in his life so I was happy as hell when he said he got everything sorted and was able to make the trip. My buddy Scott Gobel, a local Indiana guide, mentioned wanting to check out Streamer Lovefest so we planned it out and headed south to Arkansas on the 29th.
Everyone rolled in at night and after a Wallyworld run for food and beer, we crashed hard. The next morning we hit a breakfast joint where we were treated to the ramblings of a crazy man who lives in a van by the river. It was awesome in a seek help kind of way. Curmudgeons make the world go round.
After stuffing ourselves, the 28 1/2 is the bomb if ever you find yourself there, we wadered up and hit the White. When folks talk about the massive browns in the White river they also talk about big water and the flows. It’d been warm before we got there and they weren’t generating so we were stuck fishing minimum flows where the fish spread out and you’re almost blind casting hoping to find that one fish that’s dumb enough to eat.
We fished damned hard but it just wasn’t in the cards to find a buttery brown donkeytron trout. We saw some. Holy shit did we see some monster fish. They also saw us so we saw them moving away as quickly as you move away from the guy licking pennies in the back booth at Ihop around 2am on a Tuesday morning. There are huge fish in that river and in minimum flows they sit in some odd areas. I’m sure it makes sense to them but we couldn’t figure it out.
We gave it what we had and called it a day around dusk. The prospect of beer soaked brats on a grill was sounding better and better. Maybe they’d be generating the next day, at least that was the hope. That’s the thing about hope, it floats. Reality is down below.
Check back on Thursday morning for part two and pictures from Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher’s Streamer Lovefest 2015