Fishing Report 3-1-12

Elizabeth tearing them up on caddis pupa

THOSE with a romantic heart always seem to have the most to lose, and there is no bigger romantic optimist than a fly fisher.

Sir Isaac Newton would have understood the gloominess counter balancing our good fortune this winter. This Indian winter we have rolled through seemed all to good to be true, most of us on the river were expecting winter to kick back with a vengeance, a blizzard, white out or ice storm of enormous proportions.

But with daytime temperature of over 70 today and spring caddis taking flight on some pretty low flows its hard to imagine anything other than spring has sprung and it’s a good time to be fishing. Norfork will be off all day today, and the White is settling into a rhythm of gentle flows, ideal for for the awesome dry fly action to come.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s article the getting to be part of Tiff’s return to the White  was a lot of fun Monday, so I couldn’t help but add another unused picture, but so was the caddis action.

Caddis are one of my, and I’d suggest most of our guide team’s favorite times of year. For a start there is the escape from the strenuous nature of winter fishing.  No more heavy winter clothing, nor ice in the guides. You can drop back from the heavy rods of streamer fishing, or the deep nymphing rigs of the higher flows.

The fish are eager and seemingly a little less educated than the smart fish of high summer on low flows, and perhaps they are a little goofy with the new season as well. Caddis feeders also seem to fight harder and more crazily when they are on the spring caddis than any other time of year.

It may be a total flight of fancy, from an over active imagination so close and yet so far from the butt end of the rod, amidst hectic action, but the big caddis seem to be like catnip for fish _ TroutNip!

Read on for the water by water reports.

WHITE RIVER: IT’S hard to not get excited sitting here, on the cusp of another great spring caddis hatch. And its not just me that’s been sitting at the vise tying our favorite caddis pupa and dry patterns, all the while itching to cast to some rising trout.

Over the past 2 years the caddis hatch has been as good as anything I’ve seen anywhere, and the dry fly fishing can be awesome. If your are a dry fly addict you owe it to yourself to fish this hatch. And these low flows are really nice to fish from a boat, even if you are a committed wader.

You are using pretty much the same rigs as the wader, but are able to reach way more fish, than you can off the bank. Renting a boat allows you to reach islands and shoals you can wade, but there is plenty of opportunity in the flats as well. If you aren’t confident running in relatively shallow water, or just want to fish without the distraction of controlling the boat, hook up with one of our guide team, who will enjoy the opportunity to introduce you to this hatch.

Right now we have been seeing some dribbles of caddis coming off during late morning but there are plenty of caddis in the drift subsurface.

A Tungsten Prince in a 12 or 14 is a great start at this time of year in light flows as a “disguised split shot” taking your more imitative pupa to the right depth face. Choosing your trailer can be more subjective, a Graphic Caddis, Pulsating Caddis, Hot Wire Prince or even a Tailwater Soft Hackle. And you really need some of Davy’s BH Translucent Caddis.

Up by the Dam we were still hearing surface Shad flies, like a Wiggle Minnow or gurgler are still working, but I’d also be carrying some Whitetail Midges and Davy’s Sowbug. Stay tuned tonight after 4.30 pm for the weekend’s water schedule

NORFORK:  The morning generation flows are still bringing through shad, fish them on the surface or below.

But when the water drops out we have been hearing of some killer midge hatches and even some nice mid-teens browns eating caddis dries late in the day. But pack some Parachute Adams as well if you are keen to fish on top.

But if you prefer to nymph make sure you pack some Tungsten Ruby Midges _ we are now well stocked again after a care package from originator David Knowles _ I get a little twitchy heading to Norfork without some Ruby Midges, just as I do heading onto the White in generation without a decent stash of Davy’s Whitetails. Both will get you out of trouble most days.

But there are other reliable producers on the ‘fork, like our Camel Midge, Zebras, Tungsten WD40s and in bright sun Rainbow Warriors. You would also be nuts to head down 5 South without a good stock of soft hackles, like our Anna Ks and Tailwater Soft Hackles.

Sowbugs are also a must so grab some of Davy’s Sowbugs, McLellan’s Woven V-Rib Sowbugs and some of the Nicklo HMG Sowbugs