Headed out at 5:45 AM, hoping to beat the expected 108 degree temperatures.
We are fishing the Norfork River, a small but storied tailwater beginning at the base of the Norfork Dam and ending four and one half miles later at the confluence with the White at the little town of Norfork, Arkansas. The dam’s two generators are shut down, and the river is extremely low, gin clear but cool. These conditions require a specialized floatation tool, the Wavewalk, very thin tippets, and long casts with pinhead size flies, size 18 and 20.
The fish are easily spooked, and getting to them requires traversing eight shoal areas, that dissect the stream and limit access. Without a craft capable of moving well through skinny water, light enough to be manhandled, and tough enough to be dragged through rocky terrain, one simply fishes the public areas, does a lot of wading on slippery rocks, or fishes somewhere else.
My “Personal Trout Assault Vehicle” allowed such a trip and it paid off handsomely with many fine rainbow, aggressive browns, and resplendent cutthroat trout being brought to hand during our six hour day.
My paddling skills are improving, and my ability to read the fast water allowed me to have to exit the vessel less frequently, remembering that I test the recommended single occupancy of our vessel. My much lighter companion rarely if ever had to push off, but did manage to nail a large rock in a swift shoal and stick. He jumped out, the boat eased off, and he reentered, hardly deterred.
This fishing kayak gives me access to water that before would have not been available to me. That’s why I fish in a kayak, my trout assault vehicle.