Summer’s far from over, but today really did feel like the first day of September – the humidity finally broke! What a relief it is to breathe some air that’s not saturated with water. There is positively a huge difference between a wet 85 degrees and a dry 85 degrees. I much prefer the dry, and though the jungle heat will be back a couple times before autumn arrives, I for one am ready and waiting with giddy anticipation for the wonderfully cool mornings we are about to experience on the river.
Fishing has been outstanding through the end of August with both numbers and quality showing up with regularity. The terrestrial bite on the White has produced a couple truly big browns recently in addition to a fairly consistent supply of nice sized catch and release rainbows. The Norfork is fishing well also, giving up some 18-20” rainbows, browns, and cutthroats on a variety of techniques and water levels. It is amazing that the fishing can be this good on a river system with huge amounts of fishing pressure and tiny amounts of catch and release regulation. One can only wonder what would be possible here with a stronger interest in special regulation water.
Wade fishing opportunities are still abundant with minimum flow every morning until at least noon. Low water favorites right now include Ruby and Redneck midges, Rainbow Warriors, Purple midges, Anna Ks, Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle, small hoppers and ants, and the ol’ 56er. A hopper-dropper set up is wicked fun in the shoals right now too. Choose a high floater like a Western Lady or Fat Albert, and drop a bead head Pheasant Tail, Copper John, Hare’s Ear, or Micro Mayfly Nymph. High water afternoons and evenings can be fished from a boat with either big hoppers like a #6 Wiley’s Ant or a big streamer like Schmidt’s BFH Double Deceiver on a sinking line.
Minimum flow is fishing well in the mornings with Hunchback Scuds, Sunday Specials, Root Beer midges, and Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle. Once the water is turned on in the afternoon, it’s best to wait for the debris to clear, then use large, heavily weighted Globalls and San Juan worms to get down and get noticed, and trail these with more subtle Sunday Specials, Super or Whitetail Midges, and large Hunchback Scuds.