Cool, fall-like weather and a few big fish were the highlights of another beautiful week of fishing on the White River. The river is flowing high, stable, and clear, between 14,000 and 15,500cfs. The fishing is a bit streaky, the bite comes and goes, but plenty of fish are getting caught, and some big ones are showing up here and there.
The weather forecast shows clear skies and increasing temperatures into the upper eighties for the weekend. Another cool front and a drizzle of rain will follow close behind on Sunday night into Monday. This time of year it’s necessary to wear a light jacket for the morning boat rides, while still being prepared for a fairly hot and sunny afternoon. Both scenarios are nice when you have some Simms UPF lightweight clothing and rain wear.
The dry fly bite is patchy but still present, at least for some rainbows. Modest sized beetle, ant, and hopper patterns like More-or-Less hoppers, Bionic Ants, and Chernobyls are best. Some caddis are showing up here and there, making a fluffy Elkhair a good choice to trail behind your beetle or ant. The Rubberleg nymph and Girdle Bug bite is fairly reliable for catching fish both small and large. Fish them at a variety of depths. Drop a Tailwater Jig or Devil Jig behind your Girdle for a strong combination. Stripping small streamers like Mini Dungeons, Mike’s Pec, and Cone Head Wooly Buggers and Slump Busters can be good, especially on cloudy days.
Norfork is flowing just under 4,000cfs most of the time, and a bit off-color from lake turnover. The slightly stained water doesn’t seem to hurt the fishing, however. In fact it might even make it better. A variety of brightly colored flies seem to work well as attractors, from eggs to worms to Blobs to Cheetos, combined with something more natural like Sunday Specials, Super Midges, and Hare’s Ear nymphs. Hunchback Scuds and Sowbugs are also effective.