Fishing for Gold on Crooked Creek
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Fishing for Gold on Crooked Creek

With all the spring rains, comes an overwhelming urge to get out on the Arkansas creeks and fly-fish for our native species.  I had an opportunity to book a guide trip with Ben and Gabe Levin on Crooked Creek for three days and I took it. Ben and Gabe have been coming into The Woodsman Company since they were 14 years old, tutoring under Duane Hada in all things fly-fishing.  Today, Ben and Gabe are two of the best guides on the White River system and they have become the area’s gurus of fly-fishing for smallmouth. The first day of fishing it was overcast and the water levels were perfect. It was exciting to be on Crooked Creek.  It reminded me of my youth fly-fishing up and down the creeks of Arkansas.  After meeting up with the guides, we arrived at the put-in and unloaded our gear.  My rod of choice was a 9 ft. 6wt. rod, with a floating line.  We dropped in the canoe and paddled half a mile or so before fishing. I started with Ben’s specialty minnow pattern and had success immediately.  I love fishing for smallmouth because not only are they a beautiful, tiger stripped fish, but also they are a ferocious fighting fish. Later we fished a crawfish pattern by attaching a 10ft. sinking head to get the fly down to the rocks.  Fishing a crawfish pattern is a slower method, but very successful.  You’re dead drifting thru the current and watching your fly line to make any unique movement and when you see that, set the hook.  Sometimes it’s a rock and sometimes it’s a smallmouth. We also fished clouser minnow made of craft fur.  We cast it out, and stripped it back, imitating the natural minnows in the creek.  This was a pattern we fished in a lot of different types of water.  Over the three-day period, we caught smallmouth, largemouth, Ozark bass, bluegill, long-ear, rainbow trout, and carp. Ben and Gabe had grown in their knowledge of fly-fishing with creative fly designs and innovative fishing techniques.  It made me proud to see the transition from beginner fly fisher to experts in their field.  Every day fishing with them exceeded my expectations.  It was the most outstanding creek fishing I’ve experienced.

-Bryan

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