Wednesday afternoon’s warm cloudy weather and relatively low flows sparked quite a sulfur hatch on the upper White. Any sensible guide would have been quick to try at least a Pheasant Tail nymph if not a Sulfur Parachute. But we guides are rarely accused of being sensible, and when its our turn on the water, we are usually avoiding the ordinary and conventional in favor of new flies and techniques, or the just plain silly. Which helps explain why, with trout rising to mayflies all around us, we threw hoppers with reckless abandon, and our friends in the other boat – Analoras and one Mr. Spaulding – tossed big streamers.
Both boats caught brown trout, though I think the streamer rods faired better once the rain set in and killed the sulfur hatch. Just goes to show how quickly things change on the White between weather, water, and bugs. It’s a uniquely puzzling yet rewarding fishery – never be afraid to try something out of the ordinary.
Flows have remained under the 10,000cfs mark over the past 24hrs, likely to allow this last bit of rain to flush down the system. I would expect higher flows to return soon and remain high until the reservoir is back within power pool. Boy oh boy all this water is good for our fish though. Trout are feeding happily on all manner of prey items, from sulfur nymphs to baby rainbows. The high flows are best fished with heavy sulfur nymphs and large midge pupae presented deep under an indicator. Try Flashback Pheasant Tails, Hunchback Sulfurs, and Micro Mayfly Nymphs. A large San Juan worm makes a good attractor to help the fish find your smaller flies, and a Wotton Whitetail Midge is irresistible to the trout most days. A large foam hopper fished along the bank might catch you a nice brown, and dropping a sulfur nymph under the hopper will surely keep you in the action. Another substantial rain event could cause the Corps to hold back the flows for a day, potentially creating a full bore low water sulfur hatch. Be ready for such an event with a selection of sulfur dries too.
A fairly steady one unit, or approximately 3,000cfs makes for wonderful drift fishing conditions from a boat, providing current and depth over normally super wary trout. A sulfur nymph or Pheasant Tail followed by a dark midge or scud is a solid choice to cover the buffet that is available to the fish right now. Hoppers can produce on the ‘Fork as well, and make a nice indicator for presenting a nymph in some of the shallower runs. Try Tan or Pink Western Ladies, or a Fat Albert in black, or try one of our new colors in light olive or bright green – different is fun!