“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”
-General George S. Patton
This is a quote we should all live by, but it seems especially appropriate for White River streamer fishermen. Current water conditions have been a challenge, but even with our lack of sustainable high flows, our guides have prevailed and put their clients on some freaking nice fish!
It sounds kind of funny to say that 6,000 cfs is a lot of water during this time of the year, but it is. This time last year, they were pumping out nearly 30,000 cfs. Although 6,000 cfs may be a lot to a wade fisherman, in a boat it’s just enough to get away with chunking a ‘full-sized’ streamer.
The reason streamer fishing is normally so productive this time of year, is because high flows draw fish to the banks. Large browns will hang in the shallows, ready to ambush prey. That’s why we cast large articulating streamers against the banks, hoping it lands in front of one of these behemoths.
With that, let’s talk about what’s been working.
Due to the continued lack of precipitation and fairly warm temperatures, flows for the most part have continued to be low. We’ve still seen a lot of wadeable water at or a little above minimum flow (between 700- 1400 cfs), with short bursts of higher flows between 1,500 and 8,000 cfs.
With the warmer weather, we have had reports of a few caddis coming off in the lower sections of the White, so having some caddis in your fly box would be a really good idea. Any of the flies talked about in last week’s article will work great if you start to see a hatch.
Fishing a prince nymph (size 14-18) in front of a midge (size 18), has been highly productive, especially on lower flows.
Wade fisherman can continue to expect to do well with both nymphs and small streamers with the minimum flows we have been seeing.
Midges (ruby, rootbeer, & diamond in size 18), pheasant tails (in sizes 14, 16, & 18), devil jigs (red and copper in sizes 14 & 16).
Also, try throwing a Strollis Quill Body Jig (size 14) by itself or in combination with a colorful attractor fly such as a Y2K or Keller’s Hot Worm.
Highly productive streamers include CJ’s Sluggo (in both olive and yellow), Dally’s Twerkin Minnow, Schmidt’s Double Deceiver, Galloup’s Dungeon, and Lynch’s D&D.
Streamer fishermen should also try throwing sculpin imitations such as large olive woolly buggers, FS Bunny Sculpins, and Conrad Sculpins.
During those times when wadeable water is available, nymph fisherman can expect to do well with Garrett’s Purple Death (size 18), Clint’s Sunday Special (sizes 16 and 18), midges (root beer and black & purple zebra in sizes 16 & 18), pheasant tails (size 16 & 18), hunchback scuds (size 16 & 18), and tailwater sowbugs (sizes 16 and 18).
Small sculpin patterns like FS Bunny Sculpins, Slump Busters, and Cone Head Woolies, are also productive when stripped slowly over the bottom. Other effective streamers are Bennett’s Lunch $, Jake’s CDC Squirrel Leech, and Craven’s Baby Gonga.