Sean and I made plans last month to fish three days together for white bass in April. The weather was ideal with the streams down a little due to lack of rain. Bull Shoals has dropped seven feet from two weeks ago and now at 655 ft, ideal for wading. Our first evening of fishing took place below power site dam in the Pot Hole.
Wednesday April 11, 2012: The highlight was catching seven species of fish; a few walleye, small white bass, a couple largemouth bass, a number of crappie, a hand full of bluegill, two perch and a 24-inch drum. The white bass were small; the crappie may have been legal but without a tape measure to confirm the length decided to release them back to the lake. It was after 8 PM; the sun was down with Venus bright in the evening sky. The belt of Orin was in the western sky. At 8:15 PM, the first walleye was caught; it was small, probably near 15-inches and was released. The next cast took a larger walleye that was measured later that night to be 20-inches. Sean had on a large fish and we finally figured it out when we turned on a flashlight to ID the drum. We called it a night of fishing at 9 PM.
Thursday April 12, 2012: We had a short day to fish. I had to be back in Springfield before 5 PM. So we drove north to the Little Sac River near Morrisville. We parked at Taylor Bridge and took a canoe upstream to the power line hole. I fished below the power line hole with six fishermen above me fishing the S-curve; all catching white bass. We fished until 3 PM and caught just short a limit.
Friday April 13, 2012: The day was wet with thunderstorms in the surrounding area. The rain was light for most the day but the passing storms did provide some lightning. The white bass were not interested in our flies during the heavy rain and storm activity. After the second storm passed, the white bass calmed down and took our flies. Sean and I had a good afternoon of catching white bass with only a few other fishermen in the area. At 4:30 PM, I took Sean back to Taylor Bridge; he was to return to St. Louis.
Rod came in at 4:30 PM and we went back to fish earlier. There were several fishermen in the hole, but we found other places to catch a few more white bass. Rod released a 16-inch walleye, since it was after 6 PM. It was about this time we could hear thunder off in the distance and it was rumbling and we knew in a short time another storm would be over us. We moved downstream at sunset, and made our way back to Taylor Bridge after 8 PM. The thunderstorm was over us with intense lightning and thunder. Several ground to cloud lightning hit near us and we rowed our way downstream. As we lift the canoe to the rack on my truck, all HAIL broke loose with pea size hailstones, heavy rain and lightning. I made it home for a sandwich and cleaned fish until 11 PM. Saturday the stream came up and foot and Sunday the data indicated the stream rose five feet. Fishing will be good next week with a new run of fish moving up during this high water.
Wednesday April 18, 2012: I met Rod on the Little Sac River, we planned to meet at Taylor Bridge but I was late getting there after a drive from Bennett Spring State Park getting ready for the MTFA State Derby. Rod had walked upstream an hour later, I found him near a feeder creek. He loaded his gear into the canoe and we continued up stream. Days earlier the Little Sac was up five feet and it dropped as fast. The level was at 3.5 ft with a good flow. There were many local fishermen near Taylor Bridge with no one up stream in the power lone hole. We found a few white bass along the banks with Rod catching and releasing a channel catfish. The catching was better after sunset, one could see moving fish in the shallow waters. We managed to put a limit in a cooler.
Saturday April 21, 2012: I received a call from Rod at noon, he and Keith fished Friday night in the Pothole and did well catching many species of fish, including a number of 17-inch white bass, a few walleye with one over 22-inches. That was all the information I needed. That evening I returned to the Pothole before 6 PM. I caught a few small crappies on a smaller fly. It was nearly 7:30 PM and I put on a large streamer tied for walleye. I managed three for the evening with the largest measured 21-inches. The cold front moved in during the day and the night was cool, there was forecast of local freezing. Now it is beginning got feel like spring.
Sunday April 22, 2012: Rod and I decided to return to Bull Shoals. I decided to check out a spot Paul and I would visit in the spring for white bass. There was a good flow from Taneycomo and a current in Bull shoals all the way to Swan Creek. We fished above Swan Creek and managed a few large white bass, one measured over 17-inches. We moved at 7 PM to fish the Pothole at sunset. There were only a few people fishing the banks, the two boats left when we arrived. Rod found his spot and caught several species of fish; a smallmouth over 18-inches, four white bass over 16-inches, three short walleye, and a few small large-mouth bass. I caught a few small white bass before 8 PM and picked up two walleye after 8:30 PM, one was 20.5 inches. The night was pleasant with a thin crescent moon following the sun into the western sky. Rod and I called it a night of fishing at 9:30 PM.