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Breaking News: Prayers for the Ozarks

leah kirk

by Trent Fleming, field editor

Southern Trout Ozark Edition

Persistent, heavy rains in Arkansas and Missouri over the last week or so have resulted in catastrophic flooding throughout the White River region.  In order to manage the record rainfall, the Corps of Engineers are releasing significant amounts of water through the various dams in the region, raising river levels and impacting surrounding areas.  The Corps recently reported inflows to Bull Shoals Lake that were comparable to flows in the Mississippi River at flood stage near St. Louis . . . on the order of 700,000 CFS at one point.  So lots of water coming down.

I did see reports later in the week of good fish being taken in the Bull Shoals tailwater, from those who are floating the river, but conditions dictate extreme care in those situations.

Flash flooding is also affecting free flowing streams, including the North Fork of the White River in Missouri, where record flooding was seen near Tecumseh, and our friends at River of Life Farms experienced significant flood damage.  The Spring River at Mammoth Spring saw extremely high flood levels, as did the Black River in Arkansas, where a levee was breeched, resulting in significant flooding in and around Pocahontas, Arkansas.  Early beans and other crops have likely been affected by the floodwaters.

For now, remember those who have lost homes and businesses in the flood waters, seek to help where you can, and call ahead if you have trips planned in order to evaluate travel routes and whether your outfitter can still accommodate you.   In the coming weeks I hope to visit several of the tailwaters, and will provide some updates.   These large releases of water almost always change up the submerged terrain, so we get to learn the wading areas of the river over again.