Well the calendar says it’s still summer, but the weather we’re having definitely makes it feel more like early fall- 50’s at night already! How awesome is that! And it’s not just the weather that’s unique for this time of the year, the same holds true for the fishing. Short of having wadeable water, the list of fishing opportunities is about as diverse as you could get right now. Streamers, hoppers, and nymphing are all viable options for both the White and the Norfork.
This cooler weather is also making for some comfortable wading on Crooked Creek and the Buffalo. However, lower, clearer water makes for spookier fish. Being stealthy is key in these types of situations, so move slow and cast accurately. This will exponentially improve your odds of success.
On a more personal note, no matter what fishing situation you’re in, never feel intimidated to think “outside the box” in terms of what flies to throw. A mouse pattern on Crooked Creek or a Crayfish and/or Clouser pattern on the White. The point is being open minded about what you’re fishing with, and fishing for, can make for a more enjoyable time on the water.
With that let’s talk about what’s been working.
Hoppers are still grabbing the attention of some really nice browns, so keep 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), and Morrish Hoppers (pink or black). 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!
While the San Juan/egg combo is still a good option, devil jigs, prince nymphs, pheasant tails, and midges (root beer and ruby) are working well 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 continues to be strong in these higher flows, so try throwing: BFH Double Deceivers, Modern Deceivers, CJ’s Sluggos, Drunk & Disorderlies, and Dirty Hippies. Olive/Yellow & Olive/White in deceiver-style patterns are still a consistent performer right now.
They have been running in the neighborhood of 3,800 cfs throughout the day for the past week. Fishing is still primarily limited to 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.
Streamer choices include: Sluggo’s, Drunk & Disorderlies, Double Deceivers, Dirty Hippies, and Kraft’s Kreelex’s.
Warmwater (Crooked Creek & Buffalo River):
Both Crooked Creek and the Buffalo are still 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. And don’t forget those “outside the box” flies!