Brian Googins with a thick White River brown trout with Gabe
Anglers familiar and unfamiliar with the White River system often plan a fishing trip here in the fall. Brothers Barry and Emil Turner have fished with Dally’s guides countless times, and enjoyed a solid day on the Norfork with Ben Levin, landing plenty of quality rainbows and a couple of hefty browns. Bryan Googins made his inaugural trip to the White River from Florida, learned to throw streamers with Gabe Levin, and was rewarded with his biggest brown trout to date.
It’s a beautiful time of year with the turning of the leaves and the mild, pleasant weather, rivaled in scenery and comfort only by the vibrant spring months. The autumn brown trout spawn is also an exciting event to witness, and more and more anglers are showing their love for wild fish by leaving these precious trout unmolested during their reproductive phase. The high flows that will likely continue into November may reduce the amount of ideal spawning habitat, but will in turn offer better protection from excessive angling pressure. When the flows return to their normal fluctuations later in the fall, expect to see a large population of fat, healthy trout well conditioned from months of high water and abundant food.
Barry Turner with Ben Levin
Catching numbers of fish is best accomplished with an egg or a worm combined with a heavy nymph or midge, fished 8-9ft under an indicator. Orange eggs are my first choice, but peach or pink works too. I like red or pink worms as well, but natural colored worms are an often-overlooked producer. Pheasant tails or Hare’s Ears are prime nymph choices, and Micro Mayfly nymphs and Copper Johns should not be forgotten. A large midge is preferable in high flows, such as a #14-16 Super or Whitetail midge, and ye olde Zebra midge. Hoppers are still performing in the early mornings and late evenings fished close to the bank with a few pops and twitches. Black or tan are good color choices, and downsizing to a #8 or #10 as the terrestrial bite wanes is not a bad idea. Streamer fishing has been inconsistent, but still yielding the odd trophy here and there. Smaller, more modest varieties seem to be outperforming our typical mega articulated flies at the moment, though Barry Analora’s monster trout of late came on a mega fly. I have been finding some success on white Zonkers, Sparkle Minnows, and Galloup’s Barely Legal. You will notice these are all smaller, heavily weighted baitfish imitations.
Fishing has been outstanding, though heavily pressured. An orange or peach egg trailed by a Copper John, Micro Mayfly nymph, or Root Beer midge has been deadly. Small streamers like Cone Headed Wooly Buggers, Sparkle Minnows, and Zoo Cougars are effective for a shot at a bigger more aggressive fish. With the added pressure of the Fly Fishing Fair this weekend, please be kind and courteous to each other, and pay attention to the effects of your boat wake.