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Sunday, 24 October:  We decided to enjoy a scenic drive to reach Mountain Home, Arkansas, our home for the next seven nights.  On Monday, we have a five-day trout fishing adventure with Forrest Smith, a guide we first met and enjoyed fishing with at  Martin Pescador Lodge in Chile.  Forrest now has his own outfitter/guide service (

We left Branson, Missouri (again via back roads to avoid the masses) and traveled southwest across the state.  In particular, we choose Route 125 so that we could take the Peel Ferry, a free ferry run by the State of Arkansas, which crosses Bull Shoals Lake.  We arrived at the ferry crossing and had only a very short wait before the ferry arrived.  The crossing itself only took about 10 minutes and then we were once again on paved country roads.

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The ferry is about to dock
We all drive aboard
A quick ride to the dock on
the opposite side of the river

[ T O P ]

We arrived at Mountain Home mid-afternoon.  We did some shopping, bought our fishing licenses (and required trout stamps) and then settled into our hotel room.  Then, we organized our gear and settled into the room knowing that our fly fishing adventure was about to begin.

Monday, 25 October:  Forrest arrived at our hotel at 7:30AM.  After some long overdue hugs (we hadn’t seen Forrest since we last fished with him at Martin Pescador Lodge in Chile in 2008), we took a quick ride to the base of the Norfolk Dam where we put in Forrest’s drift boat on the Norfolk River. 

While this was all new territory for Lindy, Ed used to fish both the Norfolk River and the White River in his canoe in the early ‘70’s.  Interestingly, for Ed, not too much had changed with regard to the appearance of the Norfolk since his earlier fishing days.  In fact, we passed the campground where Ed used to stay during his fishing expeditions (Lindy did note she was grateful we’re now staying in a hotel).

We then floated the river and had a great time catching numerous rainbow trout, brown trout and cutthroat trout.  Talk about a multi-species day!  We each had opportunities for some larger trout (i.e., 18 inch beauties) but didn’t get any landed.  Oh well, this was just our first day of fishing and there’s always a bit of a warm-up getting back into the routine. 

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One of Lindy's brown trout
A cutthroat caught by Ed
A close-up of the gills
which confirm this is a cutthroat
A double in the net  - a cutthroat
on the left; a rainbow on the right)
we released them quickly so that
were not harmed)
One of Ed's many rainbows

[ T O P ]

On an aside, late morning, the wind really kicked up so we did an early lunch.  Forrest pulled us into a small creek and we enjoyed fresh chicken on the barbie.  Yummy!  He also brought back some great memories since he served lunch on a table (with table cloth) and chairs streamside.  Talk about first class!

We returned to our hotel at 5:00PM after a wonderful day. 

Tuesday, 26 October:  We enjoyed breakfast with Forrest before beginning our second day of fishing together.  We then drove to the White River and put in immediately below the dam.

The weather was variable with one exception… the wind.  We had some sun, some clouds but always wind except when we could sometimes duck behind a bank.  The changing conditions resulted in us using a variety of fishing techniques.  We caught rainbows on streamers, nymphs and dry flies.  Early in the morning, within the first several casts, Lindy was able to land a 20 inch rainbow.  It was a beauty!  Then, we had spurts where we each were catching rainbows.  When the action slowed, we changed to a different technique and were able to consistently have fish on the line.  We finished with day with Ed catching a beautiful brown.  Interestingly, it was the only brown of the day.

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The White River Dam
We're just about ready to begin the drift
Lindy's 20 inch rainbow; a beauty!
Scenery along the float
Our sole brown trout, with one of
Ed's foam flies in its mouth
The sun sets on the river
after a full day of fishing

[ T O P ]

Wednesday, 27 October:  We once again headed to the White River but today we put in lower on the river at Wild Cat.  It was a semi-cloudy day and it was also a much cooler day.  Thankfully, there was none of the nasty wind we dealt with yesterday.

Today Ed started off with a bang.  We began with nymph fishing and he quickly landed both browns and rainbows.  Lindy got off to a slow start but then about an hour into the fishing she hooked and landed a beautiful 21 inch brown.  It was a real beauty!  Then, we both continued catching a mix on rainbows and browns.

Before lunch it turned mostly sunny so Forrest suggested we try our luck with foam grasshoppers.  The results….terrific!  We immediately got fish hitting the dry flies.  We stayed busy with either one or both of us having fish on the line.  When the wind picked up a bit, we took a break for lunch.  We enjoyed some great deli sandwiches (we’re talking huge!) and cookies we couldn’t resist.  Then, it was time to get back to work.

We continued using the grasshoppers until it turned cloudy.  Then Forrest suggested that we switch to streamers to see if we could find “some big guys.”  Sure enough, it happened.  Ed threw a huge streamer at the mouth of an incoming side stream and boom!  He hooked into a big brown and we all knew it!  After fighting the fellow until it was worn out, Forrest netted the beauty.  We beached the boat and then took a measurement of this guy (and it definitely was a male) and it was a whopping 24 inch brown!  It had both the length and girth not to mention beautiful colors.  We took multiple photographs as this truly was a beautiful fish.

After successfully releasing this beautiful brown back into the White River, we called it a day.  It was the perfect way to end a great day of fishing!  Forrest rowed us down to the take-out spot as we all savored a day with two big browns and too many other browns and rainbows to count. 

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Lindy's 21 inch brown trout
Ed with a typical brown
Ed's beautiful 24 inch brown trout;
a real trophy in these waters!
This giant is about to be released
A close-up of Ed's 24 inch brown trout

[ T O P ]

Thursday, 28 October:  This was the first morning it was truly chilly despite sunny skies.  We returned to the White River and put in at Rim Shoals.  We started fishing nymphs and began catching fish immediately.  We all had a good laugh when Lindy hooked two fish at once – a brown and a rainbow – on a two-rig fly.  That was definitely the first “double” of that type we had ever seen.

We switched to grasshoppers as the day warmed up and again we caught both browns and rainbows.  Lindy hooked into a 19 inch brown that turned out to be a real beauty.  We then switched to streamer flies and began pounding the banks.  After pausing to enjoy another great lunch, we continued our almost nine mile float.  In the afternoon, we continued using the streamers as they were very productive.  Then, we had another fun event.  Ed caught and landed a miniature large mouth bass. Amazing!  All in all, we caught so many fish that we lost count (always a great sign of a good day).

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Lindy and Forrest with her 21" brown
Ed's miniature bass

[ T O P ]

After fishing, we all went to a local sport’s bar (dressed in our fishing attire) to enjoy a cold beer and excellent pizza.  Then, it was time to call it a night in advance of our final day of fishing (at least for this trip).

Friday, 29 October:   For our final day of fishing, we returned to the Norfolk River.  The day was very cold (there was actually a freeze) but it was sunny and not a breath of wind so it felt warmer than it had been on the two previous days.  We put in directly below the Norfolk Dam and immediately Ed began catching rainbows and browns.  Lindy was a bit slower to get into the act but also began catching some beauties.  Then, we hit an area where we caught some beautiful cutthroat rainbows.  The stretch was so productive that Forrest actually rowed us back upstream (a pretty tough task) to have two shots at the area.

We fished the entire morning using nymphs.  It was so amazingly productive, we didn’t switch to any other type of fly.  We both hooked and landed so many, many fish.  When it was time for lunch, we were both ready for a break.  Forrest prepared another streamside luncheon, this time featuring grilled chicken with a caesar salad.  An amazing treat thanks to Chef Forrest.  Of course, we enjoyed every bit sitting at our table (with tablecloth) and comfy chairs.  Then, it was time to hit the Norfolk for our last afternoon of fishing.

The balance of the day was just as good as the morning had been.  We continued to catch tons of fish.  We didn’t hit a run that at least one of us didn’t have a fish on the line.  In fact, we had at least four doubles (that is, each of us with a fish on the line at the same time)!  As we finished the day, Forrest guessed that we had landed between 40-50 trout.  Now, that’s an amazing day! 

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The Norfolk River Dam on a cold morning
Ed and Forrest with a beautiful cutthroat
A close-up of the cuttie's markings
Lindy's small cutthroat
Chef Forrest
Enjoying a delicious shore lunch
The beautiful Fall setting
The Boys

When our fishing day ended, Forrest took us back to the hotel where we said our goodbyes (for now).  We’ll definitely be looking forward to more “Fishing with Forrest” (remember: in the near future!

[ T O P ]

If you're interested in exploring our other adventures in Arkansas with Forrest,
 just click on a link below to go to that year's trip.

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