During the summer months, trout rely heavily upon terrestrial insects as a primary source of food. Grasshoppers, cicadas, ants and a variety of beetles all become fair game as they fall or fly into the water. Grasshoppers though, are undoubtedly the primary terrestrial food source for trout (and other gamefish) as they are attracted to the fertile grass that grow especially well along the banks of rivers. Many times hoppers will congregate in larger numbers in these grassy areas as farmers cut hay in nearby fields. Ultimately many end up in the water, where trout take advantage of an easy floating meal.
Now that we’re further into summer and the hoppers have grown larger, so should the size of your hopper imitations. “Leggy”, well proportioned flies that say ‘come on up here and eat me’ when they ‘splat’, are key to drawing fish up to the surface.
With that, let’s talk about what else has been working.
Now that the hoppers are starting to grab the attention of some really nice browns, try throwing Western Lady’s (pink or tan), Evan’s Baby Foam Hopper (purple), Willy’s Ant (black/purple), Fat Albert’s (black or pink), Jake’s Trigger Belly (lavender or black), Morrish Hoppers (pink or black), and Gas Bag Chernobyls as well. To appease those fish that might not quite be willing to come to the surface, try dropping a Rubber Legs pattern under a hopper/indicator and hold on tight!
The San Juan/egg combo is still a good option, but also mix or match devil jigs, prince nymphs, pheasant tails, and midges (root beer and ruby) when nymphing under an indicator.
Also, continue to fish McLellan’s Hunchback scuds in dark grey, tan, rainbow, and orange. Wotton’s Whitetail Super Midges are still a great choice as well.
The streamer bite will continue to be strong in those flows exceeding 2 units. Try throwing: BFH Double Deceivers, Modern Deceivers, CJ’s Sluggos, Drunk & Disorderlies, and Dally’s Twerkin Minnows. Olive/Yellow & Olive/White in deceiver-style patterns are still consistent performer right now.
With the consistent 1 to 2 unit flows we have seen this past week on the Norfork, fishing is limited to primarily boat fishing.
Mayfly style patterns include: Real Meal Nymphs, Mercer’s Micro Mayflies, and Tactical Hare’s Ear Jigs, have been doing great. It’s also essential to have some Ruby and Rootbeer Midges, Olive Woolly Buggers, and McLellan’s UV Scuds in your fly box as well.
During those times of generation, streamer choices include: Twerkin Minnows, Sluggo’s, Drunk & Disorderlies, and Double Deceivers.
Warmwater (Crooked Creek & Buffalo River):
Both Crooked Creek and the Buffalo are at optimal wading levels, and floating (kayak/canoe) on most sections is great as well (getting a little skinny is some sections of Crooked). Smallies and Ozark Bass continue to hit crayfish patterns (Hada’s Creek Crawler & Whitlock’s Near Nuff Crayfish), baitfish patterns (Hada’s Craft Fur Clouser & standard Clouser Minnows), and topwater patterns (Boogle Bugs, Fat Albert’s, & Morrish Hoppers). For sunfish including longear and green try throwing: Boogle Amnesia Bugs, Rubber Legs, and small Fat Albert’s.
**Cover Photo: Beautiful White River brown caught by Matthew Colavito from Atlanta, GA. Photo courtesy of Joe Colavito. Guide: Larry McNair.