Photograph of Jim Brentlinger

JIM BRENTLINGER

P.O. BOX 364

NORFORK, AR 72658

 

870-499-5185 HOME (after 5 p.m.)

417-839-0556  CELL

(7 a.m. to 5 p.m. 7 days per week)

Welcome To Linger's Guide Service and Fishing Lodge!

Photograph of Jim Brentlinger on his back veranda.

Jim Brentlinger watches another day end from his porch high above the White River. Brentlinger owns a large log home on the river.

  • Fishing On The White River - Educational

    STEVE BRIGMAN FOR THE NEWS-LEADER

     

    Article of Sishing On The White River for the News-Leader newspaper.From high on a bluff that forced the river to alter its course, "Linger" leaned over the porch rail and pondered the next day's fishing. Far below, barely visible through a gathering fog, the White River stretched into the dark, distant hills. Jim Brentlinger has one of those places you stare up at from the water in awe. But the view from the porch of his massive log home, which doubles as a bed-and-breakfast and fishing lodge, is far more expansive than the boater in the distance below might imagine.

     

     

    Inside, the few walls that don't offer magnificent views through huge windows hold moose, pronghorn, caribou, deer and fish mounts of all flavors. Linger is glad to supply an explanation of how each critter found its way onto his walls over your favorite beverage.

     

    Yes sir, this was my kind of place.

     

    Linger and I had begun conversing earlier in the year when I was working on a venomous snake story; conveniently, he had recently had a dispute with a timber rattlesnake that landed him in the hospital for a few days. All along we had talked about getting together for a little White River trout-fishing expedition. The cool waters of the White sounded like a good place to spend a couple of August days, so I paid "Lingerdom" a visit last week.

     

    Linger and I had begun conversing earlier in the year when I was working on a venomous snake story; conveniently, he had recently had a dispute with a timber rattlesnake that landed him in the hospital for a few days. All along we had talked about getting together for a little White River trout-fishing expedition. The cool waters of the White sounded like a good place to spend a couple of August days, so I paid "Lingerdom" a visit last week.

     

    The plan was to fish for trout and smallmouths. As we watched the blanket of fog tuck the river in for the night, Linger explained that what we fished for depended on the amount of water we were fishing.

     

    Water generated through the Bull Shoals dam takes 14 hours to reach his place, and the North Fork River, just below the Norfork Lake dam, empties into the White just upstream. A fishing strategy is devised after calls made to determine when, and how much, water is being released from the respective dams.

     

  • Linger Lands 18 Inch Brown

    As we moved back inside to catch the final innings of the Cardinal game, Linger explained that the water would be low the next morning, and we would be fishing mainly for trout.

     

    The fog was chilly as we buzzed downstream the next morning. It was a relief to get the boat stopped and start casting. It wasn't long until a smallish rainbow hit my gold Rapala and the catching was on.

     

    Water levels sort of dictated that it would be a trout thing at first and we were able to catch our share — all rainbows. But after awhile, Linger pulled the boat to within casting distance of a rocky shoreline and we switched to spinnerbaits and tubes. He was able to catch a smallie on his spinnerbait, but the bass wanted no part of my plastic.

     

    Since the smallmouths weren't really doing it, we went back to catching trout. We put away 10 rainbows for a shore lunch before we started throwing fish back.

     

    Linger has the shore lunch thing down. He has access to a piece of property where he has erected a shelter over a large picnic table and sort of a field kitchen. After an appetizer of boiled shrimp, we had fried fish, cole slaw and hush puppies. It could have very easily been nap time after that.

     

    We weren't back on the water long before Linger got a puzzled look on his face, took out his phone and made a call. They had two generators on at the Norfork dam.

     

    Soon we were slowly making our way against the torrent that was the North Fork River. It just didn't seem possible to fish this water.

     

    Linger said the brown trout hug the bank in such water conditions and he soon had me chunking a big silver Rogue at the bank.

     

    He was the first to hook up with a fat brown trout that went about 18 inches. Linger predicted we would get only a few bites, but they would be larger browns. He was dead on. After about an hour, when we tired of fighting the current, we called it a day. We had six bites and caught four browns in the fast water, all of which were larger than the rainbows we had caught earlier in the day.

  • End of Day

    That afternoon, a tremendous storm blew in. It was one of those storms that you don't want to watch too close to a window; something might come flying through it. But it went as fast as it came and the sun soon peeked out from beneath the clouds.

     

    With but a brief amount of daylight left, we hopped on Linger's Mule (the off-road mechanical kind) and he piloted us a short distance onto a cliff with a view that has to rank among the Ozarks' best. Below, the White River took a wide bend and melted into the distant mountains. In the other direction, the river stretched for miles past the lights at the town of Norfork, Ark. We stood on a house-size rock in a slight drizzle, taking in the magnificent scene bathed in the magenta light of a dying day.

     

    Back at the ranch, Linger called to learn we would be fishing eight generators worth of water from Bull Shoals. He also anticipated plenty of water from the Buffalo River from the prior afternoon's deluge.

     

    The river was high and muddy. I know a lot of guys who wouldn't have thought of fishing, but Linger was encouraged and we took the same approach as the day before on the North Fork.

     

    I quickly caught a nice brown, which relieved my doubts about fishing the White River when it was muddy. The fish we caught were hanging right against the bank, especially in areas with broken current. We boated about 20 brown and about half that many rainbows before the real world called, and we both had to go accomplish other things.

     

    As we bid farewell, I promised Linger I would take him up on his invitation to come back soon. Seems like the least I could do.

Welcome To Linger's Guide Service and Fishing Lodge!

Photograph of Jim Brentlinger

JIM BRENTLINGER

P.O. BOX 364

NORFORK, AR 72658

 

870-499-5185 HOME (after 5 p.m.)

417-839-0556  CELL

(7 a.m. to 5 p.m. 7 days per week)

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