Brothers Melvin and Phil enlisted my services to capture the fat hungry trout of the Norfork Tailwater on Wednesday. Fishy local gents who spend a good deal of their leisure in pursuit of reservoir crappies and Wildcat brown trout, the pair were excited to get out in the boat on some relatively unfamiliar water. At first the long, heavy drift rigs were cumbersome to cast, mend, and set, but a willingness to learn and a mild competitive exchange spurred the brothers to step up their game. Tangles soon turned into clean drifts, and missed strikes soon turned into hookups. By lunch we needed the break from fighting strong fish in fast current, and by late afternoon we were plain tired, though reluctant to leave, with fish on the line until the very end. Thanks for the fun day fellas, let’s go again soon!
Hungry browns and rainbows can be caught on terrestrials early and late in the day. Black foam patterns like Fat Alberts, Jake’s Trigger Belly, Morrish Hoppers, and Wiley’s Ant are performing strong, but so are tan variations of Fat Alberts, Western Ladies, and many others. Location is more important than pattern, it seems, and getting really close to the bank helps with catch rate. As for catching numbers of fish, deep nymphing with Pheasant Tails, Micro Mayfly Nymphs, Copper Johns, and large midge patterns will provide steady action in slower areas with good depth and structure. Large San Juans and egg patterns made good attractors, and may be necessary in faster water where fish have less time to find your flies.
Flows are steady at a unit and a half, which is too much to wade but makes for excellent drift fishing conditions. Egg patterns deep and heavy are steady, and deadly when trailed by a dark midge pattern of some sort. Try Camel midges, black Zebra midges, Super midges, or Root Beer midges. Small streamers fished on short sink tips near drop offs and grass beds will pull some nice fish too. Try Galloup’s Barely Legal, Mike’s Pec’s, Kraft’s Kreelex, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, and Jakes’s CDC Squirrel Leech.