Fly fishermen have been toughing out some cold mornings and dealing with up and down water flows on the White over the past few days, but many have been rewarded with stout brown trout. Sub-freezing temps can bite the hands, sting the face, and numb the toes, but all that is forgotten when the line comes tight to a good fish. And not every outing is frosty. Some sunny afternoons climb comfortably into the forties and fifties.
Count on big pushes in flow on cold mornings, up to 18,000cfs and above. Large pulses of high flow should be fished aggressively whether you’re using indicators or streamer fishing. Drift dead baitfish patterns like Meat Whistles, Flesh Flies, AR Beadheads, or aggressively strip full profile streamers like Sluggos, Modern Deceivers, Twerking Minnows, and Bangtails.
Water levels are usually more moderate later in the day, between 5,000-10,000cfs. Moderate flow can be fished effectively with egg-nymph combos. Use larger indicators, larger egg patterns, split shot if necessary, and favorite local nymphs like Dally’s Tailwater Jig, Wotton’s Super Midge, or the ubiquitous Rainbow Warrior.
Small streamers stripped across current and structure are also good in moderate flow situations – try Sparkle Minnows, Mini Dungeons, Kraft’s Kreelex, and Micro Changers.
Norfork tailwater has been up and down as well, but usually offering wade fishing opportunities in the afternoon once the morning push has receded. Minimum flow is best fished with light weight indicators, modestly weighted egg patterns, and any number of choices for a second fly, from midges to mayfly nymphs to crustaceans.
Ruby and Redneck midges, small Copper Johns and Micro Mayfly nymphs, Hunchback Scuds and DW Sowbugs are all strong choices. Swinging Tailwater Soft Hackles, DW Juicer, and small Wooly Buggers across moving water is fun.