Sunday, March 4, 2012

The River White ~ Reviewed

The River White  A Confluence of Brush and Quill

You know Oh Shenandoah - you know Across The Wide Missouri - you know Old Man River - but you may not know The White River of the Ozarks.  

The River White - A Confluence of Brush and Quill will allow for you to  experience a guided float trip upon the White River - the visuals accompanied by lyrics will be there comfortably resting in your lap.  As you travel down river with Duane Hada's  watercolor views and Ken Hada's lyrical poetry,  it is only for you to add the symphonic sounds of heron squawks, riffles, water falls and the ever present caws from crows as they cross the river from pasture to pasture.

A river begins
and we will follow,
we will marvel together -
the birds and I, 
broken limbs, 
fallen leaves -
hands of God 
And will you travel
with us too
You can - if you
learn to see, if you
listen to see, if
you listen and 
promise to leave
her unblemished.

The River White melds the brother's images - images formed from the Ozarks' unique history, images from kids walking miles of river banks in muddy tennis shoes, images of the seasons on the White,  images of a brown trout sliding sideways to capture a sowbug,  

Feeding Brown

I came to the White River late in life, uneducated of its past.  I came as a new fly fisherman.  The river captured me and became my home waters. Claiming the White my  home river allows me to tell other visiting pilgrims which flies to use - sometimes they work.  

To the Hadas the river has been a  mother's hand and a father's instruction of  woods and water.  Together they are giving back. The River White, with every page, expresses their affection so clearly.  The watercolors place your eyes in the bow of a river boat and lyrical poetry is your guide's voice as your travel through the cliffs of the Ozarks to the flatlands of the delta where the Mississippi River welcomes the White.  I am particularly fond of the stretch of river with its special seams between the Bull Shoals damn and the quaint town of Cotter, the Trout Capital, USA.

Historic Cotter Bridge

I have friends who will appreciate the beauty and the trout takes on their favorite stretch from Shipps Ferry through Rim Shoals.  Duane and Ken have captured the flow well.  Downriver from Rim the fishing pressure abates somewhat but the beauty grows and the confluence of brush and quill continue to deliver the reader to undercut banks and overhanging Sycamore trees.There is not a fly fisherman in the area that does not love the additional fishing that the Norfork  River provides as it flows to the White.

Accompanying the Hada's interpretations is Gregg Patterson's excellent historical perspective on the White River. His narrative begins at the origin of the White River, and then glides over the nation's oldest mountain range, the Ozark Mountains to share the steps of growth - the good, the bad. He chronicles  the additions of the dams that created the famous trout tailwaters that we cherish and band together to protect.  The River White will aid in that protective adoration.

         See the fisherman
         lining the ripples
         mending to a spot
         they see, a spot
         that allures them,
         holds them entranced
         beneath the seraphic sky,
         the voltaries flush
         with line and fly,
         shriveled in attention.

Duane Hada is an artist who guides or maybe that is reversed - ask him and you will either be double hauling or buying a book or painting - he is that engaging. Duane is the owner and can be reached at the Rivertown Gallery in Mountain Home, Arkansas.  For those ready to own The River White this is the link to visit.

For more about Ken Hada visit The Writer's Almanac 

Walk like a Heron

Walk like a Heron
my brother tells me
as we sneak into
flat water to cast
a green soft hackle
without a ripple.

Walk like a Heron
fish like a Heron-
live like a king.

The River White is now in the Turnip Truck Library. I recommend it for your collection.  For my RVing friends, even though you may not fly fish, I urge you to pinpoint the Ozarks, especially Cotter, on your map. One of the best RV parks, Denton Ferry RV Park and Resort , you'll ever find is on the banks of the White River. Here you will see the beauty penned in The River White.  

If you fly fish, sooner or later you will visit the White River - the experience is a must for any fishing bucket list.  By reading and enjoying the The River White your desire to make it sooner  will prevail. This wonderful book as published  evolved from forty five original watercolors that are now in a private collection.  The works are stunning and you may view them on  display at Dally's Ozark Angler in Cotter, Ar.  For newcomers to the area planning to attend the Sowbug Roundup on March 22, 23, and 24, 2012,  visit the fly shop to view Duane Hada's originals for the White River, plus you will find the timing perfect to fish a spring caddis hatch and visit with and observe some of the best fly tyers in the country.

At the Sowbug Roundup I will be Tying The Jackson on Thursday morning and volunteering at the booth of Friends Of The Norfork National Fish Hatchery in the afternoon. Please stop by and say hello.  I'm always looking for suggested locations  for the next Turnip Truck trip.

The First Edition, 2011, The River White by Duane Hada and Ken Hada is copyrighted and no part of this review may be reproduced, performed, recorded, or otherwise transmitted without the written consent of the reviewer, the authors, and the permission of the publisher.


  1. Great review. Looks like a neat book, the White River on my target list. Some day...


    1. Be sure to bring Little Chick (or is she rejecting that moniker now?) to fish Dry Run Creek for under 16 and Disabled only.