You’ll hear a lot of theoretical talk around the shop about “streamer season” being January through March, which is normally the best time to target aggressive, post-spawn browns on big streamers. But in reality, tossing the big meat is a great way to target big browns any time you have consistently high water, like now, or any other time of year. Corey’s two-footer pictured here was certainly hungry, and we’re hoping that more fish of this caliber will go on the hunt as SWPA continues to send excess water rushing deep and fast down the Baxter and Marion County banks.
Spring rain is still coursing out of the hills and hollers, keeping the smallmouth and white bass creeks a little cold, but every day the sun shines brings us a little closer to what’s considered good fishing conditions. Soon you’ll have to decide whether you want to chase the caddis hatch, the white bass run, or the smallmouth bite. Crooked Creek is clearing up quickly, and in the meantime, some tiny creeks that shall remain nameless here do clear up faster and can scratch the itch in a pinch.
Consistent high flows may spark a good early spring streamer bite. Target banks and structure just like you would in February, and fish heavy sink tip lines with Double Deceivers, DDDs, Fatheads, and other large articulated flies in olive, tan, or white. It would not be surprising to continue to see periods of good shad fishing in the upper river accompanying the consistently high, cold flows. Nymphing with various Prince Nymphs and Caddis Pupa will also continue to catch fish while we wait for lower water and the chance to fish more caddis dry flies.
Spring spawning rainbows have sparked a decent egg bite on the Norfork, as flows hover around 3,000cfs. Try running a peach or orange colored Glo Ball or Y2K with a Hunchback Scud, Prince Nymph, or Whitetail Midge as a dropper. If the trout don’t eat the Glo Ball, which they probably will, it will do nicely as an attractor, helping them find the smaller fly trailing behind. As usual one unit on the Norfork also fishes well with small streamers or cone head woolies – try black and olive. When we finally get some low water again, be ready for heavy midge activity and possibly some caddis.