Safety on the Water

As in most outdoor sports, safety is an issue. Fly Fishing is no different. Whether you are fishing from a boat or wading, water flow is probably the most important piece of information you will need to make your fishing experience safe and more enjoyable.  There are several ways to find out how much water is being released from the dams. You can call the local water levels information line at 870-431-5311 and get a recorded message telling you how much water is being released at the time of your call, but this recording will not tell you what they are going to release later in the day. In order to get future release information you can go to any one of several web sites to get release information for the day. My advice would be to call one of the local fly shops or resorts that are located on the river and ask about water flows for the day so you can make an informed decision about where you can fish safely.  

When you have made your choice about where to fish, there are a few other safety guidelines you will need to follow. 

As a beginner you shouldn’t wade in more than knee deep water with a smooth gravel bottom. It’s not necessary to wade in waist deep water to catch fish. I have caught many very nice fish in water that no more than a foot deep.  

When you enter the water apply the $100.00 bill rule. Just place the bill on a rock and look at the rock occasionally. If the bill is floating then you exit the water! That’s a tired old joke, but really, keep an eye on it!  Actually just pick out an object at the waters edge and keep an eye on it. If the object begins to disappear then exit the water.  Purchase a collapsible wading staff which comes with a scabbard that you attach to your wader belt.  These few safety tips are not meant to frighten you away from fly fishing, but simply to make you more comfortable and help you enjoy your fly fishing experience even more.

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