Thunderstorms on Monday signaled the arrival of a cold front, breaking the first real heat wave of summer. The past two days on the river have been as comfortable as any in memory. The weekend forecast looks amazing too, with mostly sunny skies and highs around ninety. Sunday especially looks lovely with a 50/50 shot at a thundershower keeping the temps down in the eighties.
Flows on the White are high and mostly stable, ranging from 8,000-15,000cfs, but mostly staying between 11,000-13,000cfs. All that cold water makes a happy home for trout, especially when that water is full of sulfur mayflies. The sulfur hatch has been strengthening all week. Mayfly emergence is pretty strong right now and can peak anywhere from mid morning to late afternoon. Alt Rocker, Bubble Back Emerger, and Radiation Baetis #16-14 are a few solid mayfly imitations to nymph with. Fish will happily rise on mayflies in current seams and other slow edges, and can be fooled with Film Critic, Sparkle Dun, Half and Half Sulfur #16.
It’s not too soon to start trying the bigger bugs of summer as well – the big dries and rubberleggy stuff. With so many fish already looking up because of the mayfly hatch, prospecting some banks with larger terrestrials doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Fat Alberts, Chubby Chernobyls, and Psycho Ants are some local favorites to try, and you could add a Jigged Pheasant Tail dropper for a deadly combo. The large rubberlegged nymphs #10-8 are another solid summertime choice.
Norfork is still offering a few morning hours of wade fishing low water, and still producing good fishing on Hare’s Ear and Pheasant Tail nymphs #16-18, Ruby and Rootbeer midges, Whitetail midges #18, and Wotton’s Sowbug #16-18. Afternoon high water fishing is good once the debris clears a little, using Cheetos, Mega Worms, or Blobs as attractors, with Jigged Pheasant Tail or Dally’s Tailwater Jig as droppers.