Warm weather and low water is turning the White River into a springtime paradise for fly fishermen. Caddis activity is peaking, midge activity is steady, and the flows are as low and clear as we’ve seen in months. Minimum flow is projected for tomorrow, May 6, and will likely continue into the weekend. Wade fishermen, dust off those boots and get in the water – there won’t be a better time all year to stand in the river and swing a soft hackle.
Boaters, be extra cautious in minimum flow – most shoals are rocky and tricky to navigate even with jet motors. Wade fishermen may well be standing in the middle of the river. Keep in mind that shoals will “bottleneck” all boat traffic into areas that are also popular to wade. As long as everyone brings patience and gratitude to the river, a good time will be shared by all.
A variety of flies and presentations will catch plenty of trout. A standard nymph – midge rig under an indicator is murderously good. A bead head Caddis Pupae, Prince Nymph, or Copper John trailed by a Ruby, Root Beer, or Redneck Midge is perfect. As long as flows stay low, clear, and not choked with drifting algae, swinging a soft hackle or small Wooly Bugger is deadly as well. Try Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle in Caddis Green, or a #14-16 Flashabou Beadhead Wooly Bugger. Dry fly opportunities are present wherever you see rising fish, and most can be fooled with either an E/C, Hi-Tie, or Lawson Caddis dry #14-18
One unit has flowed steady over the past 24hours and is projected all day tomorrow. Normally the Norfork is the wade fisherman’s sanctuary, but the situation is reversed now with the White down to minimum while the Norfork flows. One unit will provide a safer place to run prop motors, especially for visitors not familiar with the river bottom. Fish deep nymph rigs with San Juan Worms, Prince Nymphs, Copper Johns, and Sunday Specials trailed by Wotton Super Midges and Whitetail Midges. A sculpin pattern or larger Beadhead Wooly Bugger stripped through deeper holes can produce a larger fish.