Overcast skies early this week set up some prime fishing scenarios, with hoards of caddis continuing to emerge in-between rain showers, seemingly more so than if skies were clear. The result is short windows of intensely good fishing, which is normal for hatch based fly fishing – you have to be patient and wait out the slow times to get to the showtimes. The pictures in this report represent only a small slice of all the fun that’s been had recently.
There are a number of effective techniques to take advantage of the White River caddis hatch. The most common is dead drift nymphing, using a variety of caddis pupae imitations from Nick’s Fat to Mercer’s Jiggy to the good old Sunday Special, various leader lengths and split shot or not, depending on water depth and speed. Lifting your flies at the end of a drift by tightening your line can be deadly, and so can committing to longer swings using soft hackles and wet flies like Wotton’s Caddis Emerger, Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle, and the Graphic Caddis, while employing sink tip lines, sinking leaders, or intermediate lines, depending again on water depth and speed.
The dry fly bite is the most difficult, and also the most fun, but it takes patience, precision, and a willingness to catch fewer fish in exchange for a more visually stimulating game. Accurate casts, subtle tricks in line management, soft hands, and a calm cool demeanor are the traits of a good dry fly fisherman. Effective patterns right now include #14, 16, 18 E/C Caddis, E/Z Caddis, Razor Caddis, and Wotton’s Skating Caddis.
Flows on the White have been mostly between 2,000cfs and 4,000cfs, with the occasional bump of higher water late in the day. With Bull Shoals Lake rising fast, and some warm temperatures forecasted this weekend, it would surprise no-one to see more high water release coming soon, especially in the afternoons. Norfork had been running two units all day for a while, but yesterday and today that changed to minimum flow in the morning and two units in the afternoon. It’s possible there might continue to be some morning wade fishing opportunities on Norfork – Root Beer midges, Sunday Specials, Elkhair Caddis in the riffles, should all produce fish – just be careful and watch out for rising water.
Crooked Creek and Buffalo River are temporarily blown out from heavy rain last night, but with no rain in the forecast for a while, it will be only a matter of days before Hada’s Craft Fur Clouser and Stay Hungry Streamers will be effective again, once water volume has receded and clarity has been restored.