Monday, May 28, 2012
5/23 - 5/26 Beaver Lake...."Memorial Day Weekend Getaway"
The first big weekend of summer... for many Memorial Day is the first chance at a three day trip to the lake or river as can usually be evidenced by the full boat ramps and fishing accesses on my local waters. This year the wife had the week before the holiday off so we made plans to try and circumvent the madness by leaving town on Wednesday morning and then returning on Saturday just as the masses were arriving. After some deliberation we decided to head South to Beaver Lake where the plan was to spend our days fishing , hiking, swimming and sightseeing. Any remaining time was slated for kicking back around camp and just relaxing! We loaded up as planned Wednesday morning and hit the road just after 8:00 (that's an early start for my wife!) , the highways that would be packed with holiday weekend traffic just 72 hours from now only held a few late work stragglers heading in to the daily grind. We pulled into the campground shortly past noon, after an uneventful 4 hour drive, and ate a quick lunch before getting busy setting up camp. At first glance it appeared as though the ploy had paid off , our tent was the only one in the primitive camping area and we had most of the campground to ourselves. While several groups did move in on Friday night ,we never had any neighbors until that time and were able to enjoy some true peace and quiet around camp for the majority of the trip. The whole idea was to get in some R&R with no real agenda to speak of and we were able to manage that nicely. I got in several hours of fishing below the dam each morning and we spent most of our afternoon hours lounging around on the lake side staying cool. We bypassed the Eureka Springs tourist trap and chose to do our sightseeing by driving around the lake, taking in some lakeviews and hiking a couple of trails. Of course with all of the spare time spent just kicking back around camp we managed to throw together some pretty good grub for a meal or two as well. Seeing as this is a Flyfishing blog I guess I should write at least a few words discussing my forays chasing trout below the dam. The Beaver tailwaters aren't nearly as popular with the flyfishing scene as the more storied waters in the White River system like Bull Shoals , Taneycomo and the Norfork. Those rivers are all great fisheries no doubt, but that acclaim also brings with it overcrowding at times, which I've witnessed on all three of those waters. I know from personal experience that Taneycomo can look like an oversized trout park on a holiday weekend , forget your stream ettiquette here and just hope you can find a spot with at least a short roll-cast distance between you and the next guy. I don't enjoy that scene much anymore and try to find other options when possible , Beaver was that option this weekend. If the Beaver Tailwaters lack anything as a fishery when compared to those other places, it makes up for it in spades when it comes to sheer aesthetic value. Winding deep in the Ozark hills , the upper section is definitely a beautiful body of water. I managed to find the solitude I was looking for and a few hungry fish as well on this outing. I can't say that the fishing was excellent for me (I'm sure someone had em dialed in , just wasn't this guy!) but I enjoyed the challenge of a body of water I hadn't fished in several years and some picky midging fish. My most successful setup ended up being 7x flouro with a palsa indicator and a size #18 or #20 midge dropped off between 12 and 24 inches below. I can't really say that any one color variation worked best as I never really got on a streak , the standard black/silver zebra midge as well as the copperhead midge both produced as many strikes as anything though. The fish were all relatively small , don't think I landed anything over 13 or 14 inches , and a mixture of both browns and bows. I think my best morning produced a bakers dozen in several hours on the river , a far cry from the fish every cast I can often expect from a Taney trip, but the peace and solitude of the river were a good trade-off in my opinion. Give me a beautiful river , my dog and a few fish rising in the mist on the far bank and I'm a happy man. While this wasn't a true fishing trip by any stretch of the imagination it was nice to get out with the family and enjoy the weekend. With our busy schedules these days there's never enough time to get away from it all and spend some "quality time" together , this kind of trip is just what the doctor ordered....
Posted by HighPlainsFlyFisher