I wish I could have been there to see the look on Mick’s face when he netted this brown for his son, Zach. A laid back flatbrimmer type, Zach no doubt kept his cool through the event, but I’m certain Mick had to be approaching hyperventilation. Check out Mick’s blog post for the full story on the 12 year old’s 24″ capture – I believe a sticker is due.
If you haven’t noticed, there are ALOT of people out there throwing hoppers down the banks of the White River right now – to the extent that the browns are probably starting to whisper to each other, “Hey, buddy, don’t eat that piece of foam with rubber legs, it’s not worth it.” Yeah, it’s our own fault for advertising the hell out of it, but business is business and fishing is fishing – you got to make hay while the sun shines ya know? Obviously there are still some pigs out there willing to eat if you’re in the right place at the right time, the proof’s in the pictures, but this weekend there are going to be fishermen in every place all the time. I’m not being cynical or whiny, just pointing out that pressure is a real factor when targeting big, smart fish, so be kind to other fishermen, patient with the fish, and enjoy yourselves. Happy hunting y’all.
In flows up to 5 or 6,000 cubic feet per second, the hopper-dropper setup seems to work best. You want about 9-10ft overall leader length, and you want your dropper approximately 3-4ft under your hopper, depending on the depths you’re fishing. The easiest way to set this up is to buy some shorter, 6 or 7.5ft leaders, on the end of which you can attach your hopper, effectively leaving yourself 3-4ft available for your tippet and dropper. Try an assortment of Western Ladies and Fat Alberts for your hopper, and Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, Sunday Specials, and large midge patterns for droppers. When the flows exceed 6,000 cubic feet per second, it’s probably time to ditch the dropper and get your hopper in close to the bank, or switch to an indicator-nymph setup rigged 5-8 ft deep, again, depending on the depth you’re fishing.
On the low flows during the a.m. hours, it will be extra crowded the next few days, but if that doesn’t bother you than there are plenty of fish to go around. Small dark midges like the Root Beer or black Zebra are producing very well fished 2-3ft under a the smallest indicator you can get away with. The same goes for a little tan or olive scud. Small black woolies and Anna K soft hackles on the swing are also effective. Those with personal watercraft would do well to access the water between the access points, and waders would do well to hike away from the crowds a little bit, just be sure to check the generation schedule so you have an idea of when to head for high ground.