"Everything starts with our customer service and the atmosphere Blue Ribbon founder Dale Fulton created in the shop. We will go out of our way to make the customer service experience something to be remembered."

- Bob & Debi Cooke, Owners



We are starting to see sulphurs and a few caddis stragglers are still present.  Our guides are also reporting a little action on hoppers and streamers so right now a smorgasbord of flies that are working!  

  If you would like to have your pictures posted on our website, please send them to blueribbonflyfish@hotmail.comThis is a sure sign that Winter is here and trophy brown trout fishing is in full swing. With temperatures dropping every day and lunkers emerging from the depths there is no better season to fish our waters here in Arkansas! Fishing Report - By John Berry,Blue Ribbon Staff Guide, updated every Thursday. Blue Ribbon Fly Shop, in the world of fly fishing and fly shops, there are very few truly unique and friendly establishments.  From the second you walk through the doors of either the shop itself or the delectable Anglers Coffee Café, you will know that you have found something special with friendly folks that will always strive to ensure that all visitors have the most productive and enjoyable experience as possible. 

The fly shop itself is fully loaded with everything that one could possibly need for a fun and successful day on the water, and it is also stocked a wide range of inventory of specialty items for raw beginners to seasoned anglers and everyone in between. There are many fly shops around the country that have the reputation for being tight-lipped or for brushing off those who are relatively new to the sport. Our philosophy is to treat every customer with the utmost of respect, regardless of their desire for local knowledge or their skill level; this is why Blue Ribbon is gaining the reputation as one of the best fly shops around. Beginners will always be treated with patience as they seek out critical advice regarding what they need and where they should fish in order to realize that initial level of success that will encourage them to fall in love with the sport, and advanced fly fishermen who make it a habit to check in before hitting the water will not be disappointed by a staff that is eager to share ‘insider information’, hot spots and the areas where the most big fish are being caught by both the guides and other fishermen.  

One of the best ways to get a feel for the uniqueness of the White and Norfork is to spend a day with a seasoned and insured guide – this guarantees that anglers will be able to fish all day long without worrying about fluctuating water levels, and it is also the most efficient way to learn what to look for in terms of what types of water and which areas are typically the most productive. Ozark fly fishing culture is unique in the respect that most of the area guides operate as independent entities with no affiliation to an outfitter. This is a result of lax oversight of guiding operations in the state of Arkansas, and the current system can be both positive and negative; especially when it comes to insurance and your safety. Blue Ribbon works with the best guides that you will find anywhere, and they are all extremely patient and passionate about the rivers, conservation and fly fishing in general. When the water is low, most will use boats to find secluded wading water by getting away from the often crowded walk-in sections. Also, having a vessel handy allows them to be prepared to keep on fishing if the river levels do rise at some point during the day. Our guides use both traditional motorized riverboats that are indigenous to the Ozarks and Western style drift boats. The Blue Ribbon staff will work with you in order to best cater the trip to your specific desires, so please do not hesitate to let us know what type of experience you are seeking during the booking process so that we can match you up with the perfect guide. 

Attached to the hip of the fly shop is the Anglers Coffee Café. This fly fishing hang out prides itself on serving the finest of everything, and the atmosphere is most inviting. There you'll find a custom fly tying table where you can whip up a few patterns before hitting the water, and the rustic style layout is perfect for relaxing while watching a fly fishing DVD on the flat screen television or for just putting your feet up while resting on a comfortable couch after a great day on the water. For those that want everything taken care of during their fly fishing trip, which is especially important for group outings, the Anglers Coffee Café even offers all-inclusive catering services that provide three meals a day so that you can focus on what’s really important: how the fish are biting. Blue Ribbon Fly Shop is extremely proud to be able to offer such high quality and interesting cuisine, and whether you just want a great cup of java and some authentic, freshly made, New Orleans style beignets to start your morning or a tasty lunch that will satisfy those with the most discriminating taste, be sure to give Anglers Coffee Café a try the next time you are in the White River and Norfork area. There is really no place like it. 

Besides offering everything you could possibly need for an unforgettable outing on the premiere year-round trout fisheries in the country either at the fly shop or the café, Blue Ribbon will be offering on-site lodging that offers the best in value, convenience and style in the region. We have enlisted the help of Jack London to design and build four exquisite log cabins for our guests, the Blue Ribbon ANGLER SERIES, and each unit is specifically designed with an angler’s needs in mind. Now, it is possible to have every aspect of your fly fishing adventure taken care of by Blue Ribbon. Rest assured that these cabins offer up the most comfortable layouts to be found anywhere, and located adjacent to the fly shop and Anglers Coffee Café, in a section of the property we refer to as Anglers Village. All three entities are smack dab in the heart of the Ozark's best fly fishing areas. Norfork Dam is just ten minutes away, Rim Shoals is fifteen minutes from the cabins and Bull Shoals Dam, where the most well-known stretch of the White River begins, is a mere twenty-five minutes from the Blue Ribbon complex. Plus, there are many other wonderful areas within a short drive. Having a central location is critical on fluctuating tailwaters such as the White and Norfork because we never know what the water conditions are going to be like on any given day; this saves time and minimizes frustration. When you start your day at Blue Ribbon, the best stretches of river are never more than 25 minutes away, and if you are fishing on your own, we will be more than happy to help you come up with a game plan that will maximize your fishing time based on the water conditions at hand.



During the past week, we have had several rain events (for a combined total of less than an inch here in Cotter), warmer temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose two tenths of a foot to rest at two tenths of a foot above seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is thirty five and eight tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose six tenths of a foot to rest at six tenths of a foot above seasonal power pool and fifteen and four tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose nine tenths of a foot to rest at one and four tenths of a foot above seasonal power pool or eight and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had no wadable water. Norfork Lake remained steady at one tenth of a foot below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and twenty six and three tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had no wadable water.

The water level for the top of power pool has been reset lower for some of the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are at or near power pool.

The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam was closed from November 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park was seasonal Catch and Release for the same period. There are numerous redds around the area. Please use care, when wading, to avoid disturbing them.

On the White, the hot spot was Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers, Y2Ks, prince nymphs, zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead), pheasant tails, ruby midges, pink and cerise San Juan worms, and sowbugs. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (try a cerise or pink San Juan worm with a midge pattern (ruby midge) suspended below it).

The Corps of Engineers have been running much more water and that has been an advantage to streamer fishermen. To do this you need at least an eight weight fly rod, a heavy sink tip fly line and large articulated streamers. The idea is to bang the bank and strip the fly back to the boat. This is heavy work and requires advanced casting skills. Some effective patterns are sex dungeons and circus peanuts.

We have had numerous reports of caddis hatches. Though sparse, the trout did not key in on them mostly due to the high volume of water. It is a harbinger of spring and a promise of what is to come. This is our best hatch of the year. Before the hatch, fish green caddis pupa size fourteen. You will often get more strikes at the end of the drift as the fly rises. When the move to the surface and begin keying in on emergers switch over to a green butt soft hackle size fifteen. When they start taking adult insects off the water’s surface, you should switch to a green elk hair caddis pattern size fourteen.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable and clear. With the cool temperatures, the smallmouth are still inactive. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

There Norfork has not fished well of late. This is possibly due to cold water temperatures on the lake. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles like the green butt. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). There have been reliable hatches of small midges and very small caddis (try a size 24 Adams parachute).The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday. Some anglers have been fishing heavy articulated streamers on sink tip lines on the higher flows.

With Spring Break, there has been a lot of action on Dry Run Creek. Now would be a great time to fish it. The weather has warmed substantially and it is more comfortable for young anglers. The hot flies have been sowbugs, Y2Ks and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise). While you are there be sure and take a tour of the adjacent Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure to remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.

The water level on the Spring River is wadable and clearer. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash, cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and Y2Ks.

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

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JULY ... LOW WADE-ABLE WATER IS HERE! - - - .......Blue Ribbon Guide Service 870-425-0447 or blueribbonflyfish@hotmail.com! John Berry , Dennis Schule, Lori Sloas,

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