A transition period. That’s what September is. But then I guess every time of year is a transition into the next time of year. September connects Summer and Fall; it is being stretched and pulled in both directions. At times the fly fishing experience on the White River can feel that way too – weather leaning one way, water leaning another, and the fish caught somewhere in between. Hoppers or worms? Midges or scuds? Hot and humid or cool and dry? Minimum flow or eight units?
This morning we fished 5x tippet, a Sunday Special, a Ruby Midge, and a lightweight stick-on indicator in a half unit of water and had the best action of the day including a fat brown. This afternoon we fished hoppers on 2x tippet on rising water up to about 3-4units. We covered plenty of fishy areas and caught a single rainbow trout. Next we tried fishing San Juan Worms over flooded grass beds in about 6 units of water and caught nothing. The wind changed directions today, the sun shone at the same time that rain fell, and we nervously watched thunderheads rumble just outside of “oooh lets’ get out of here” distance.
The fly fishing experience that we love so well takes place in the chaos of nature where the only thing you can count on is that tomorrow will be different than today. Whether or not your fishing experience pleases you depends on an inconceivable equation involving skill, luck, and more importantly, perception. Skill will help you fish well and adapt to the chaos – the ever changing conditions of water and weather. Luck will help you only if you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. Perception…….can spread out equally the joy of fishing amongst the skilled and unskilled, the lucky and the unlucky. Perception is the most important part of the equation.
USACE real time flow chart is currently down, so up to the hour accurate water release information is missing for now, but based on what we’ve seen this week, weekend anglers can expect baseline flows of 35mwh or a half unit until noon, then a steady stairstep up to anywhere between 6 and 8 units. The half unit flows are fishing very well with indicator-nymph-midge rigs, hopper-dropper rigs, and small streamers. Try Sunday Specials, Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails, Ruby Midges, Redneck Midges, Whitetail Midges, Juicy Bugs, Western Ladies, Wooly Buggers in Bead Head, Cone Head, and Rubberlegged varieties. High water has given up some big time brown trout on both hoppers and 6-8” streamers.
Minimum flow for half the day provides excellent wade fishing. Ruby Midges, Root Beer Midges, Sunday Specials, Hunchback Scuds, and various soft hackles are all fishing extremely well. Foam ants can make a fun and effective indicator for suspending a little midge or scud. High water in the afternoons is best fished with San Juan Worms or Egg patterns for an attractor, trailed by a larger midge such as a Wotton Super Midge. Cone Head Sparkle Minnows are a great choice for searching the deeper runs and pools on high water.