Every week more and more brown trout are leaving their spawning habitat to return to their favorite feeding lies. Many will continue spawning activity well into the new year, but each week the number of big fish actively hunting increases, which increases the chances of connecting with a legendary White River brute. Right now there are die hard streamer addicts all over the country hunched over their vices creating meaty goodness in preparation for the madness of the White River winter mecca. But for the next 2-3 weeks, prior to the arrival of the drift boat hoardes, the river is uniquely empty and waiting for savvy locals armed with 8wts and 8 inch flies. So get out there and stake your claim on one of the greatest trophy trout rivers in the world.
On a side note, there have been a few confirmed captures of Bonneville Cutthroat trout in the Rim Shoals area recently. The little gems are about 10 inches or less, but the simple fact that they are alive confirms the success of local Trout Unlimited chapter’s efforts in introducing the sub-species to our river. Nice job guys! Hopefully these little guys can evade the hungry browns, survive to adulthood, and reproduce. Here’s a photo to help you identify – please release unharmed anything you catch that looks like this. Bill Thorne will produce a more detailed report on Bonneville status soon.
Low flows from minimum up to a unit or so are fishing very well with egg patterns, Wotton midges, Ruby and Root Beer midges, various dark bodied nymphs, and olive Wooly Buggers. If you can get in a boat and get on the high flows when available, streamer fishing for bigger browns is well worth the effort. Schmidt’s Double Deceiver and weighted sculpin-esque patterns like Circus Peanuts are good choices.
The usual midge and scud patterns are producing on low flows in the slow water – try Root Beer midges, Camel midges, Madallion midges, olive or tan Hunchback scuds. Egg patterns with split shot are effective in the shoals. Higher flows are worth fishing with smaller streamers like Zoo Cougars and Zonkers.