The White River fished exceptionally well over the past week, producing easy fish for kids and beginners as well as quality trout for more experienced anglers to pursue. The dry fly bite has been getting better as well, and a big brown on a big dry should satisfy even the most well traveled, pickiest of anglers. Throw in a smorgasbord of trout species possible to catch: rainbows, golden rainbows, browns, brooks, tiger trout, finespot cutthroats, Bonneville cutthroats, Yellowstone cutthroats, and you truly have something for everyone living in the White River fishery.
Yes the July sun can create the feeling that you are fishing in an oven, but with proper sun protection and hydration, it’s well worth sweating for the best trout fishing you’ve ever experienced. The morning fog is beautiful and comfortable to fish in, usually burning off by mid morning, but quickly re-forming on the water whenever rain clouds are in the area. The chatter of cicadas and other summer insects intermingles with the hum of outboard motors and the exclamations of folks holding bent rods, forming an interesting auditory backdrop to this unique Ozark angling experience.
The dry fly bite is best early or late in the day, but it can work even in the middle of the day, especially if you find yourself on an un-crowded section of river or if skies are overcast. Wiley’s Ant, Evan’s Baby Foam, Chubby Chernobyl, Fat Albert, Western Lady, and Psycho Ant are all potential stars. Certainly the most consistent fishing remains sub-surface however, either with large rubberleg nymphs like Girdle Bug and Rubberleg Jig, or mayfly and midge patterns like Tailwater Jigs, Devil Jigs, Super Sinkers, DW Super Midge, Rainbow Warrior Jig, or a combination of both the big rubberleg fly and the small nymph. Of course, in high water conditions, large San Juan worms, Prism and Dynamite worms, and large egg patterns are always effective, especially dredged deep. Twitching Cone Head Rubberleg Wooly Buggers around bank structure is also fun for those who insist on fishing a tight line rather than a slack drift.
Wet wading the Arkansas Game and Fish public access points on Crooked Creek is a good way to stay cool in the summer heat, and tossing small poppers in the shade is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.