Opening of the spillway gates at Bull Shoals Dam is not a problem at the White Hole Resort.
The Corps of Engineers has announced plans to open 4 spillway gates 1 foot each on Saturday, January 16th. Four more gates will be opened 1 foot each on Sunday, January 17th. Along with the 8 generators that are running, this is expected to give a total flow of about 30,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) which is nearly equivalent to 10 generators of water.
Opening the spillway gates to relieve excessive water from Bull Shoals Lake has been a rare occasion since the dam was built in 1950. To keep this in perspective, in May of 2011, the Corps of Engineers opened all 17 spillway gates to release a record amount of 60,000 cfs after very heavy rains. In the spring of 2008, they had also opened all 17 gates to release 35,500 cfs. During both of these previous times, the spillway gates were only open about a week until the water flowing into the lake could be controlled by normal production through the generators.
So what does this mean to fishing on the river? First, yes 30,000 cfs is a lot of water and the flow is fast, but it will not be over our banks except across the lower driveway to the public access ramp. As happened with the previous spillway releases, the trout will probably be very active with the higher influx of food brought into the river. Take a look at our new river cam to see how high the river is. (Please understand, it only operates during daylight hours.)
This will be a great opportunity to throw larger lures to attract bigger fish. We recommend Marabou jigs up to ¼ ounce, Rapalas up to a size of CD11, SR9, and XR10, Worden Flat Fish, even heavy spoons such as Krocodiles or Johnson Minnow Spins. Top-water lures are another option for an exciting big hit. Worms or PowerBait fished on a river rig with sinkers up to ¼ ounce should be fine, too. Most of these are available here in our bait shop. We’ll know more as our guides get to work on this high water.
Here at the White Hole Resort, we will be allowing those with experience in operating river boats to rent boats. However, this must come with the understanding that the motor operator needs to concentrate on operating the boat while others in the boat fish. These policies may change if the river levels increase.
Using one of our professional guides is highly recommended and greatly beneficial for a terrific day of fishing. The guides are experienced with handling the boats on higher water and will allow you the best fishing opportunity. During the winter months, we always offer a 10% discount on guided fishing services. Because we want to ensure you have the best and safest fishing trip possible, we will continue this discount as long as the spillway gates are open.
We have experienced much high water in recent years, but this is just a little higher than usual and not a significant problem here at White Hole Resort. Thus far, we have had a mild winter season and have as well seen some very good catches. One group just this last week reported catching a 22 inch Brown Trout on a fly in the White Hole area. Spawning season is coming to an end and the fish are active and hungry. Give us a call to book your trip to the White Hole Resort soon.