It seems most times the number and size of the fish we caught are the first thing we talk about after a day on the water. But it’s the other things that we see and hear when we’re out that often times are the most memorable.
Recently, a late afternoon trip to the Narrows proved to be uneventful (as far as the fishing went), but was changed by the several waves of Canadian Geese flying low overhead. It’s the eagles, otters, and deer that we encounter while we’re fishing, that make those times spent on the water so memorable.
Last week a customer came in shop after a day spent with our longtime guide, Ben Levin, and as expected, he was excited to talk about what they had caught. However, it wasn’t so much the trout he was excited about, as it was the “lobster-sized” long-pincered crayfish that took a size 18 Wotton Midge!
While catching fish is undoubtedly the goal of anyone going fishing, don’t base the size and number of fish on how successful the day was.
With that, let’s talk about what’s been working.
At this point, nymphing is the go to method on the White. With flows ranging from minimum to three units, fishing midges, jig patterns, and eggs under an indicator is accounting for the most success. Rootbeer and Ruby midges, pheasant tails, and a variety of jigs including Devil Jigs, Hare’s Ear, and for those willing to tie their own, Steve’s Tailwater Jig (on YouTube).
Until flows increase to more than 7,000 cfs, the streamer game will not be at its full potential. However, once the flows increase to that optimal level, start throwing streamers like CJ’s Sluggo, Double Deceivers, and other various sculpin patterns.
The Norfork continues to be off color due to all the organic matter that ended up in the lake this past April. In addition to its stained appearance there is a slight sulfur odor due to the lake’s Fall “turn-over”. Low dissolved oxygen levels are at least partially to blame for the lower catch rates that we’re currently seeing. With that said, there’s still good numbers of fish to be caught. If you head that way, run bright colors under an indicator, either egg patterns or San Juan Worms ahead of a scud or sowbug pattern. Also, don’t rule out a Ruby or Rootbeer midge as well as a Tailwater Jig.
Warmwater (Crooked Creek & Buffalo River):
Both Crooked Creek and the Buffalo remain wadeable. Floating (kayak/canoe) on some sections of Crooked is still doable but be mindful that there’s definitely some skinny water in certain sections. Smallies and Ozark Bass are going to be on the shy side, so be stealthy when you wade or float.
Continue to use crayfish patterns like Hada’s Creek Crawler & Whitlock’s Near Nuff Crayfish. Baitfish/Clouser patterns such as Hada’s Craft Fur Clouser, and topwater patterns including Boogle Bugs, Fat Albert’s, & Morrish Hoppers are still productive.
For sunfish including longear and green try throwing: Boogle Amnesia Bugs, Rubber Legs, and small Fat Albert’s.