Fly Fishing for Trophy Trout on the White River Arkansas

Big White River Brown Trout Caught by Leo Vensel

My anxiety heightened when I felt the mass of this beast – approximately 10 pounds, and exactly 28 ½ inches long.

Yes there are unicorns!

Just returned from my hunt for trophy brown trout on the White River in Arkansas. The White River normally flows around 5,000 – 15,000 CFS during the winter months. But this year was different. Arkansas received a lot of rain and as a result the flows were much higher. Much higher – 30,000 CFS. The water was at flood stages. It pushed well over the banks and changed the fishing dramatically. This does not mean fishing is not good, in fact I have written about this before. Tight bank casts are typically required in many places on the White but due to high flows it was exponentially multiplied. I have casting skills but this situation tested me to the brink. The combination of 300 grain weighted fly line, 8 inch flies, and tight casts made for very challenging, but fun, casting situations. Throw in some 20 MPH wind and you have situation for real mayhem. “Your casts are sloppy, come on Leo you can do better than that”, buzzed in my head time after time. “Get it to the bank” was another repeated mumble. My understanding of the White, and my casting skills improved as the days ticked off. I only wish I could have spent more time down there; but isn’t that always the truth.

I put together four days and my casting hand is swollen, sore and skin cracking. Dang I love this stuff.

The White River fly fishing guides are outstanding. They work their butts off. Their knowledge of this river made an extremely challenging situation realistic. In fact if it were not for them I could have never pulled off catching the trout of my dreams. Brock Dixon worked with me the day I caught the epic brown trout.

Leo_vensel_brown_trout_white River_AR

We had just slipped downriver from a wall and begun to work a weed line. There was a nice drop-off about six feet out from the bank into a deep hole. As the fly sunk deeper and out of sight bang my line when tight! There he was, game on, and zip straight into the air. Yeah that’s right, White River brown trout jump. Crap now that I saw the size of this giant I got real nervous, and before I could soak it in, the big boy took me downstream below the boat. Strip strip “come on baby” I thought as I wrangled this gargantuan in closer. But this bull had different ideas and wham there he went taking out line again. So I worked him back in one more time. Then before he tried any more funny business, I muscled him closer and lifted him gently up to the net, as you know lifting is always sketchy enough but when I felt the full mass of this beast – approximately 10 pounds, and exactly 28 ½ inches my anxiety heightened. Now with fish landed the cheers and high fives ensued. Heck I even gave Mr. Brown trout a kiss. What a great moment. Someone speculated that it will be one of the top 10 brown trout caught on the White this year. It is speculated the he is approximately 12 years old. What a beautiful specimen of White River Brown trout.

I will be talking with Head Guide, Chad Johnson soon to discuss more about the White River so stay tuned.

Finally, I am humbled by this blessing and owe it to my Savior Lord Jesus.

2 thoughts on “Fly Fishing for Trophy Trout on the White River Arkansas”

  1. Leo,

    Thank you for recounting your trip.

    I’m very glad you were able to go – it definitely sounds like a dream of a fishing trip and your writing made me feel like I was right there with you. I really enjoyed the article and look forward to the next.

    Good show and God Bless!

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