The fever is infectious _ Pat with his first White River hopper brown
The Madness is upon us, its its highly contagious, totally addictive and ridiculously good fun. Its definitely hopper time on the White River.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many boats, both guides and private craft, on the White as I have seen in the past week, all drifting banks and pitching foam. The awesome thing is it doesn’t matter whether you are first in line or last on the hopper bite, every boat has been producing fish.
Chris Heppel and I were at least 4th or 5th boat down some banks yesterday and still whacked fish. With the style of fishing going on, you simply don’t hit every feeding line or spook every feeding fish. Quite honestly there are browns 15” to 19” aplenty right now eating terrestrials pretty readily.
The “traffic” takes some getting used to if you are a White River regular _ if you have fished the Big Horn in MT, the White would be considered lonely. All it takes is a little river etiquette particularly on banks where there is one fishable or hot line.
The trick is keeping enough separation between boats for everyone to have a good time, particularly if you are the one joining a line, where dropping behind one boat means you are cutting in on another. And 50 yards ahead of another boat isn’t far enough. Though having run down a few banks after being cut off, the demand for space isn’t as high as when you are tossing streamers.
Try and give any boat behind you double the distance you would want even if you have to give up some fishing time, or run a fishing line further off the bank.
After all we are all supposed to be having fun out there.
And now onto the rest of this week’s fly fishing report:
WHITE RIVER: Well the rain has stopped and its been deliciously cool for August at least, extremely pleasant out on the water. It will start warming over the weekend and back to the 90s by early next week.
Bull Shoals Lake continues to rise, with water being dumped from Table Rock Lake which received the worst of the flooding from Missouri. Dam authorities are holding back Bull flows so far, as the lower White remains in flood stages.
Bull is predicted to crest by August 25, so expect some higher flows towards the end of the month. Some higher flows and warmer conditions should bring the better quality fish back on the hopper bite.
The cloudy and rainy conditions had sustained an awesome big fish hopper bite, but they have become a little shy under the bright sun, but the numbers of smaller fish eating bugs along the banks has been incredible, particularly below Wildcat.
Pink was the hot color for weeks but we are seeing better returns now on black, tan and yellow hoppers and attractor terrestrials. Try some different patterns Orange or Yellow Chernobyls, Soup Sandwiches (formerly known as the Club Sandwich, MoshPit Hoppers, and Charlie Boys.
Subsurface you can do well with Whitetail Midges, Pheasant Tails, Wotton Sowbugs plus Copper Johns and Hare’s Ears.
NORFORK: Norfork Lake is projected to crest next week, about 7’ up into flood pool. Expect some higher flows here too, particularly if we get a blast of hot weather.
Norfork has been offering some fine wading. Midges are very popular right now, whitetails, Rainbow Warriors (now we have bright skies again) Whitetails and Super Midges, Ruby and Camel Midges plus the ubiquitous Trout Crack.
We have seen a rise in popularity in scuds on Norfork this season, and Hunchback Scuds in 16 or smaller are proving very effective. Tan, Tan Rainbow and Copper are most popular but the UV patterns are gaining strength.
Haven’t heard or too many people fishing on top, but using a small ant or beetle pattern to float your midge is a fun way to prospect the terrestrial bit.