With several days in a row of bright blue skies over the past week, the bite has been a bit slow at times for early season streamer fishermen dedicated to swimming big flies. Those willing to dredge an egg pattern have had more consistent success for finicky, pressured brown trout under high skies. All that is about to change starting today, however, as a massive system of clouds and rain is now creeping over the Ozarks. Most streamer fishermen will agree that overcast skies are preferable, and that the best bite occurs just before a big cold front, which is exactly the scenario we are now confronted with.
The cold front appears to be hitting late Saturday, so today, Friday, and Saturday should provide good opportunities to catch a big brown on a streamer. Those getting out there this weekend to hunt the brown of a lifetime will need to come prepared with good rain gear. It’s gonna get nasty out there for sure, but so often that’s when the big ones are willing to chase their food. If you need an upgrade on your wet weather gear, stop by Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher and check out the deals on 2019 Simms Challenger Bibs and Jackets currently on clearance. This gear was designed for fishing scenarios like this weekend. Remember, success happens when preparation meets opportunity. This weekend is a serious opportunity. You wouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight – don’t bring crappy rain gear to a White River trophy brown hunt.
The White has been flowing pretty stable at about 11,000cfs for a few days now, and will likely stay there until the cold front hits late Saturday. It would be a reasonable guess that we could see some morning spikes in flow after the cold front, so look for potentially more water beginning Sunday or Monday. Regardless of whether it goes up or down, there is plenty of flow right now for swimming big flies. For great swimming action high in the water column try Dally’s Lap Dancer and Tiny Dancer or CJ’s Sluggo. For mid column action stock up on standards like Schmidt’s Double Deceiver and Dally’s Twerking Minnow. To get down close to the bottom in heavy current go to Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin or weighted versions of Double Deceivers and Twerking Minnows. Bigger is not always better however. If there is a reduction in flow or if you feel the urge to downsize for whatever reason, check out the new mini Sex Dungeons they are sexy indeed. Not a streamer fisherman? Lots of great fish are being caught by dredging egg and worm patterns over gravel bars and grass beds. AAA split shot, 3x fluorocarbon tippet, and large Thingamabobbers will come in handy for dredging efforts.
Norfork has been running two units briefly in the mornings and then shut off at about 9am, allowing for great wade fishing conditions for most of the day. Wade fishermen should focus their efforts here until the flow schedule changes – watch for a potential change after this coming cold front. Effective flies are egg patterns, pink and orange scuds, DW Whitetail midges, Root Beer midges. Stripping small streamers like Mike’s Pec, Slump Buster, and various Wooly Buggers around logs and ledges is a good idea also.