In these uncertain and worrisome times, nature goes about its business as usual: fish are doing fishy things, birds and bees are getting busy, grass is growing, trees are budding, flowers and mushrooms poke up through the forest floor. The changing displays of nature in springtime are a welcome distraction, and a helpful reminder of that original connection to nature that no civilization has yet severed – the connection to the cycle of growth and decay. Health, economics, fishing – none of these are in a fixed state; all are subject to growth and decay. Sometimes the most obvious wisdoms are the most easily overlooked. There is comfort in the simple knowledge that nothing is permanent, not good times, not bad times.
Water conditions on the White have been quite subject to change over the past week. Effort to mitigate flooding in the lower watershed translates to periods of low flow in the tailwater trout fishery, interrupted by intermittent pulses of high flow which meet electricity demands. Trouble is there’s not much of a pattern to the ups and downs right now, which makes it difficult to find consistent fishing. However, the fish still have to eat regardless of conditions, and with flexibility and determination they can be caught.
There have been some early caddis hatching during periods of low flow when the sun warms the river bottom, making caddis pupae a good fly choice right now (Dally’s Mother’s Day Caddis Jig, Nick’s Fat Cadass, Caddistrophic Pupa, among others). Midge hatches are also strong during low flow, and standards like DW Super and Whitetail midges, Root Beer midges, and Zebra midges are producing. During periods of high flow, get down and dirty with San Juan worms, AR Beadheads, and large rubberleg nymphs. Streamer fishing in high flow with heavy sink tips and favorites like Dally’s Twerking Minnow, CJ’s Sluggo is not a bad idea either, especially on cloudy/rainy days.
Norfork is actually the most predictable place around right now, flowing at a steady one unit during the day. Fishing is fair to excellent with worm patterns, Daphnia cluster flies, egg patterns, Hunchback scuds, and DW Whitetail midges.