Winter has arrived!! It is 30 degrees at noon in Heber Springs and the wind is blowing, so it’s cold. I had my best trip as far as big browns yesterday. My clients landed 4 browns, 20 in or better with the largest at 22 inches. The browns have just appeared on the shoals in numbers with a few redds being seen. The redds seem to be newly formed and have just appeared in the last couple of days. The last week has been good for browns with the larger fish arriving yesterday. I have only caught 2 female brown trout in the last couple of days that have already spawned, so all indications are that the spawn has just begun. Please be careful while wading to avoid the redds. Also try not to harass the trout while they are on the redds. There are plenty of fish to be caught other than those occupying the redds and spawning. (A redd is a noticeably clean spot on the gravel bottom where the trout deposits the eggs during the spawn. They will vary in size according to the number of fish using the area.)
The overcast weather has helped in recent days since the water is so low and clear. This type water makes stealth wading a must since the fish are very spooky in the shallow water. The fish are stopping in certain areas of the shoals to feed as they move into position to spawn. Watching the behavior of the fish will help you recognize these areas. The fish will be holding and flashing in these areas while feeding. Others will just be moving thru the shallow areas at a faster pace sometimes with their backs out of the water. These don’t usually take a fly; just moving up the shoal.
Rainbows are also biting well and are also trying to spawn on some of the shoals. I have caught several rainbows with the dark spawning colors and the males producing milt. Rainbows, along with browns, will also be holding behind the redds eating the eggs that wash off the redd.
Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving!