There have been a couple tough days over the last week, so the inconsistencies of fishing are certainly real, but overall fishing on the White is still producing plenty of fish and some good quality trout as well. When the bite gets slow, sometimes the best tool you have is patience – perhaps the fish aren’t very willing at the moment, but they will bite at some point during the day. Other times, simple adjustments can make an immediate impact on your fishing. Try fishing a little deeper, backing off of bank structure a bit to focus on deeper current seams and dropoffs. Also, rotate colors a little more often in your fly choice – try silver beaded nymphs instead of copper, or a natural worm pattern instead of pink.
Terrestrial dry fly action will continue to improve as summer wears on. Right now Evan’s Baby Foam, Wiley’s Ant, and Western Ladies are taking some fish early in the morning and late in the evening. Girdle Bugs and Rubberleg Jigs are probably the most consistent catcher of big fish currently, and this is a fly that can be fished effectively at a variety of depths and over a variety of structure, so play with your depth and weight with these bugs. Mayfly nymphs like Tactical Hot Spot, Craven’s Two Bit, Wiese’s Lucent Prince, and Newbury’s Alt Rkr are good producers, especially when sulfur mayflies are visible on the water. Wotton’s Super midges, Super Whitetail midges and Dally’s Tailwater Jigs are usually productive, and a great dropper off your Girdle Bug or San Juan worm even when insect activity isn’t visible.
When it gets steamy hot mid afternoon and the sun is high and bright, look for shady pockets around overhanging trees. The hotter the day, the more likely it is that fish will take refuge along shady banks. The shady spots around trees and large rocks often have complicated current seams and eddies, making these difficult spots to perform dead drifts with an indicator. Consider twitching/stripping flies on a tight line through these eddies rather than trying to drift them. Thread head Rubberleg nymphs are great for twitching high in the water column over the likely snags and limbs. Rubberleg Wooly Buggers and Mini Dungeons were designed for this kind of fishing – fling them into the heavy structure and swirly currents and twitch them out.
Crooked Creek is the place for wade fishermen all summer, especially during a high water summer like this one where there is very little wading opportunity for trout. There are plenty of public Arkansas Game and Fish Access points, and the water is flowing low and clear, perfect for wet wading to stay cool in the summer heat. #8 Boogle Bugs are literally all you need for endless fun with plucky little sunfish and bass, but some Hada’s Creek Crawlers or thread head Rubberleg nymphs might catch you a bigger bass or carp.