Arkansas Notes: Wading the mighty White

Big rivers have no regard for fishermen and will kill them given the opportunity. They should be approached with a heavy dose of respect.

Even when it is in a passive state; when the Corps of Engineers have quieted Bull Shoals Dam to a trickle, the White River remains formidable, powerful and restless.

That was the White’s condition Wednesday; accessible to wading, but barely so.IMG_2919

At the downstream end of the Gaston’s property the White at low flow splinters and swirls and sluices into a football size patch of nervous water. The two guys down stream from where I was working a piece of promising water with a fly rod  were plucking trout from the river with regularity. When I recognized my fellow anglers – Jeff Samsel and his son Nathaniel (pictured) – I became a bit dismayed.  Not because I was sharing the river with the Samsels; I treasure fishing with Jeff and Nathaniel any time, any place. But Jeff is an excellent angler and Nathaniel is quickly becoming one. Fishing behind the Samsel men is not a good idea.

Still, I waded carefully, caught a few, missed as many and only suffered a minor sunburn. A pretty good afternoon.