Day 1 on the White

A cloudless sky, temperatures approach 70 degrees and the river at a very comfortable level thanks to three generators operating at Bull Shoals Dam.

Less than optimal fishing conditions, according to guide Frank Saksa. But pretty good none the less.

“It’s really better with some clouds or even a little rain, like we’re supposed to get tonight,” said Saksa.

Nobody was complaining after a morning spent within sight of the massive Bull Shoals Dam, the water released from which controls the level of the river. The White – a cold water tailwater – is loaded with trout.

Saksa was essentially fishing the shad kill – where shad are flushed from Bull Shoals Lake through the dam and into the river, setting up a smorgasbord for the waiting trout – with white, 1/32-ounce jigs fished under strike indicators. It a high-water fly fishing rig common on the White.

Ben Post and Dick Kaukas handled most of the morning’s fishing duties. I was self-regulated to photo chores, although I did get my hands on a rod long enough to miss a couple of strikes.

Kaukas hauled in this healthy rainbow (pictured), which had a yellow spot on its belly. Sakas, a 17-year guide at Gaston’s Resort, had never seen a trout so marked, and neither had anyone else in the boat.

If someone can explain the dime-size yellow spot on this trout’s belly Sakas, Post, Kaukas and I would like to hear from you.