Editor’s Note: Special thanks to long-time Frontiers clients, Bill and Craig (Winifred) S., from Lake Charles, LA for sharing this fishing report about the White River Inn.
Craig and I drove out of the driveway at 6:15 am on Sunday, April 12, 2015 on our way to the White River Inn in Cotter, Arkansas. Joining us on the trip were our son, Steve, and Frank W., and D.C. and Jane F. They were flying to southern Missouri and renting a car there to drive to Cotter. The entirety of their luggage was loaded in our SUV, as they were to change planes in Dallas and then board a small commuter plane. At 5 pm we arrived at the front door of the beautiful White River Inn, which sits on the edge of a 300 foot bluff overlooking the White River.
We were warmly greeted by hosts, Moose and Tina Watson. Steve, Frank, D.C. and Jane had already arrived, so the luggage was quickly unloaded and taken to our respective rooms, which were very large and comfortable. After a tasty dinner prepared by Moose and Tina, we slept until 6:00 am when Moose knocked on our door to say coffee was ready. After breakfast Chad Johnson (whose nickname is Mini Guide because of his small size) met us. Soon, Brock came to the lodge to guide D.C. and Jane, and Gary Levin arrived to guide Steve and Frank. Unfortunately wind and rain were predicted to arrive early that afternoon. It was a short drive to the place where the boats would be launched and soon we were all fishing for trout in the White River. The area around the river is comprised of hills and high bluffs and looks much like western Montana. Bald eagles and some ospreys can be seen along the river, together with many great blue herons. The eagles build their nests close to those of the herons. Some of the heron babies may end up as food for the eagle chicks.
The trees had just sprouted new, green leaves, and the dogwood and rosebuds were in full bloom. The scenery is beautiful and soon we all began catching and releasing rainbow trout with a few large brown trout being caught and released. It was the middle of the time for the caddis hatch, but since cold weather had moved in the hatch stopped and we caught our fish on midge and caddis nymphs instead of dry flies we hoped to fish with. It was still fun and exciting, especially when the larger brown trout were hooked. We all met around noon and ate our lunches on the shore of the river.
All of us had caught at least 30 trout by 2 pm when the wind and rain arrived. Steve’s rain gear leaked like a sieve and he was soaking wet and had to go back to the lodge to change clothes. He went to Daly’s Fly Shop in Cotter and bought some good Simms rain gear for both of us. Steve never got wet or cold again even though it rained parts of the rest of our trip.
D.C. had brought some wonderful wine on the trip and we all enjoyed it along with dinner. That night, Tina had cooked a beef pot roast for dinner. The other guests were grandpa Art, father Jason, and 13 year old Benjamin, who had just had his Bar Mitzvah. Benjamin thought the roast was terrific. We enjoyed it too, but D.C.’s wine was the hit of the night for us.
The next day it drizzled all day, but we had no wind and the fish were biting. D.C. caught two 21” brown trout, and a 23” rainbow and Jane caught one about 18 inches. D.C. made a technically legal catch of a rainbow trout that measured 30 inches and weighed about 20 pounds. He caught it on the tiny midge fly which is attached to the line using 5X tippet. This tippet has a breaking strength of only about five pounds. He brought the trout to boat side several times and got part of the leader inside the tip of the fly rod. This makes it a legal catch, per IGFA rules.
Steve, Frank, Craig and I each caught numerous rainbow trout and a few small brown trout. We all got back at the lodge about 5 pm and had drinks and opened wine. This was steak night and Moose grilled some huge steaks to perfection. Some of us wanted the steaks cooked a little more than medium rare and less than medium, which we call medium rare plus. Moose says he doesn’t do minus or plus, just medium or medium rare. The steaks were great whatever they were called D.C. had brought a killer red wine to go with them.
Wednesday, April 15th was our last day, and the weather was great so we got an early start and all put in at Bull Shoals landing and fished close to the dam and down river from there. This is where the previous day D.C. caught all the big fish. It was slow all morning but after lunch our luck changed. We were fishing the slower water near shore and Craig hooked a large brown trout that jumped several times. What a thrill. We knew it was a very large trout and after landing it and taking a photo or two Chad measured it at exactly 21 ½ inches. D. C. said Craig’s brown beat his largest brown by 1/16th of an inch! That sounds like a tie to us.
The rain and wind started up again so we went to the lodge and packed up most of our belongings before dinner and put those bags outside our room. We had another great dinner. Steve then showed Tina how to cook Chocolate Soufflés. Moose had gone to Mountain View to buy some little bowls in which to bake the soufflés. They were perfectly cooked and rose nicely. Steve made a sauce from fresh raspberries, which was enjoyed by all. We celebrated the good times we had together and the fine fishing.
Early the next morning we finished packing and all of us loaded our car. At 7 am we headed home and we arrived home at 5:30 pm. It was a fun trip!
By Frontiers Client: Bill S.