The weather is getting hot finally – nearing ninety degrees today and tomorrow – thus begins the transition from spring into summer. Over the next month we will see major changes in our trout tailwater fishery as the caddis hatch nears its end and the summer bugs begin. Next up is sulfur mayflies if we’re lucky – that hatch is quite sporadic and unpredictable, but fun when it happens. And following that it’s terrestrial time.
In the meantime however, the caddis hatch, while waning, shows no signs of stopping. Trout are growing full and happy eating those wonderful little green bugs every day for weeks on end. It has been at least six or seven good weeks of caddis fishing so far since the end of March/beginning of April. Perhaps we’ll get eight or nine weeks out of the caddis hatch this year – that’s amazing productivity.
Warmwater action is heating up on Crooked Creek and Buffalo River as runoff from recent rains recedes and the creeks are finally clearing nicely. Smallmouth will hit Hada’s Creek Crawler and Craft Fur Clouser, and so will other inhabitants of the tributaries of the White, including largemouth, Ozark bass, and green sunfish. Wet wading in the 62 degree water of Crooked Creek while catching multiple native species on a fly rod is a fun way to stay cool as the weather heats up.
Read on for specifics on flows and flies.
Flows have been fluctuating between 2,000 and 7,000cfs, and around 3,000 or 4,000cfs seems to be the most common and frequent volume. These flows are all just fine for drifting caddis pupae just off the bottom, and targeting rising trout on the shallow flats and in the current seams. The main obstacle is all the clumps of green algae drifting throughout the water column, sticking to the flies and gumming up an otherwise good presentation of caddis or midges. The amount of drifting algae in the water is worst while the water is rising, so avoiding rising water until the algae clears up is a smart move. Finding the clearest water you can with the least amount of drifting algae is basically the name of the game. Green Devil Jigs, Dally’s Tailwater Jigs, Peeping Caddis, Jigged Prince Nymphs are all performing well and useful for getting to the bottom quickly along with a trailing DW Whitetail midge in red or silver. DW Hare’s Ear Caddis Emerger is a killer, and EZ Caddis parachute style dries are good on risers.
Mornings are good for wading on minimum flow and catching fish in the shoals and transitions from shallow to deep. Try Bird’s Nests, Hare’s Ear and Pheasant Tail nymphs – just vague enough to cover the bases wether the fish are taking caddis or mayflies or crane flies. Trail your nymph with a Root Beer or Camel midge. Also try Hunchback scuds and small natural San Juan worms. A small parachute Adams, EZ Caddis, or Griffith’s Gnat will take fish on top. Watch out for rapidly rising water around 2pm. Evening fishing from a boat can catch a whopper on big red or pink San Juan worms, or Canon’s worm.