December is likely the least fished month on the White River, not because the fishing isn’t good, but simply because there are a number of other distractions that take priority this time of year, from chasing deer and ducks, to Christmas shopping and holiday preparations, to just taking time to relax with friends and family. For the angler who appreciates peace and quiet, December may be the perfect time to show up and take advantage of the low fishing pressure.
Fishing in solitude is a different sort of experience than fishing with friends, as part of a group, or on a crowded section of river. The lack of distraction while fishing alone in an uncrowded setting opens up a range of contemplative experience, from patiently stalking sighted fish, to focusing on the subtleties of your casting stroke, to closely observing the appearance and behavior of small creatures that you painstakingly try to imitate with hook, thread, and various fibers.
Between work responsibilities, family obligations, to-do lists, planning next weekend’s vacation, worrying about what’s happening in the news, etc., there seems to be so little time, so little mental space left to simply be present in the moment, here and now. When you finally arrive at the river, the desire to catch fish is itself another distraction, another cycle on the mental treadmill that keeps your thoughts running after this or that, while satisfaction stays just out of reach. The next time you fish alone, take a moment or an hour or a day to rest your mind. Feel the water swirling around your legs, the cold air on your face, the warm sun on your back. For just a moment, let there be no problems to solve – your mind will go rushing off in search of fish soon enough.
Friday morning should be good fishing, just before a light rain starts Friday afternoon-evening. Looks like a cold and cloudy weekend, which might tempt some reclusive big browns to bite. The water has been up and down on the White, usually with a big push in the mornings and lower flow in the afternoon. Today’s projection actually calls for minimum flow on the White from 11am until dusk, and minimum flow on the Norfork from 9am forward, which would provide a great wade fishing opportunity. We’ll see if that schedule becomes a trend heading into the weekend – if so, it could be a wade fisherman’s weekend. High water is best fished by dredging worm patterns (try DW’s Prism and Dynamite worms), egg patterns, Blob flies, trailed by Dally’s Tailwater Jigs, Hare’s Ear Jigs, Rainbow Warriors, and DW Super Midges in silver or pearl. Large profile streamers (Double Deceivers, Twerking Minnows, Sluggos) might be good this weekend in the cold cloudy weather. Wade fishermen patiently waiting for their opportunities should be prepared with smaller egg patterns, smaller Hare’s Ear nymphs, Tailwater Sowbugs, Hunchback Scuds, Ruby midges, Redneck midges, Root Beer midges, and an assortment of small Wooly Buggers.