Ahh winter in the Ozarks…not too bad a place to be. I just got back from a long drive out to Idaho Falls to buy a Clackacraft, and let me tell you folks, we’ve got it good down here on our winter tailwater. If you’re in Idaho right now and you’re going outside, you’re either crazy or going skiing, or likely both. We are truly blessed to have a year-round fishery right here in our backyard. Winter is a perfect time to fish the White too – crowds are thin, fish are hungry, and the winter landscape has a naked beauty all of its own. That’s right, I said naked beauty.
The weather forecast for Christmas week is looking balmy, highs in the 40s and 50s, scattered sunshine, little chance for winter storms. You couldn’t ask for better weather, unless, of course, your planning a Christmas visit to the subtropical Marshall Islands in search of bonefish, but I’ll brag more on that when I get back with some pictures to back it up. Typically Christmas week you can expect to find plenty of wadeable water, with power demand down a bit from workplaces shutting down, but then there’s usually a morning spike in flows that will satisfy those looking to throw streamers on big water. There’s no better place to fish Christmas week than the White (at least in this country).
Good numbers of rainbows and the occasional cutthroat or brown are being caught on low flows fishing various midge patterns, soft hackles, and very small streamers. Ruby, Root Beer, Zebra, and Wotton midge patterns are the standards. Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle and various other hackle patterns are great on the dead drift or the swing. Bead head olive, black, or brown Wooly Buggers as well as Slump Busters are perfect for small streamers. High flows can offer opportunities to trophy hunt with bigger streamers like Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Schmidt’s Double Deceiver, or Lynch’s DDs and DDDs.
During low flows, don’t be without small brown or black midge patterns like Root Beers, Camels, and Zebras, as well as small olive or tan scuds like Kaufmans or Hunchbacks. Small black Wooly Buggers or black/brown soft hackles are good on the swing. Weighted streamers like Galloup’s Dungeon or Boogieman, Zonkers, Cheech’s Leech, etc. can be good on high flows. Zoo Cougars are perfect fished on a sink tip line.