AFTERNOONS on the river at this time of year are hard to beat, perhaps doubly so for a little shock at those am temperatures.
The warming touch of the sun, caddis and midges on the wing and glossy pools under limestone bluffs, and the colors of a winter brown trout in the photographer’s “golden hours”.
The arrival of modern gun season Saturday will leave the river quieter, find the right spot and you might think the afternoon belongs to you alone.
Find a riffle to wade, a pool to float, around the bend or up the shoal. It’s a magic time to be on the rivers. The low flows seem set to continue with November being unusually dry so far at least.
And now onto the remainder of the fly fishing report
We seem to have settled into a pattern of around 2000 cfs to 3500 cfs on most days, except for the mornings down under 40F, when power demand will mean higher flows, perhaps only for a few hours.
These bumps in flow can fire off a bite until they become trashy, something likely to be problematic with the big fall of leaves in the past few days.
The morning sun hitting the water is sparking some huge midge hatches, so bringing plenty of the little bugs is a good way to start. David Knowles Ruby, Rootbeer and Redneck Midges are a solid start, alongside Davy Wotton Super Midges and Dally’s Tailwater Jigs. You might also add some Rainbow Warriors and Lighning Bugs
Combining these to take account of the water flows and depth is a solid start to the day. As the day warms you will see tan winter caddis on the wing. Sunday Specials, Hare’s Ears and Gold Devil’s Jigs are worth trying.
Find some consistent risers swing a soft hackle or perhaps even try a Elk Hair Caddis
Norfork has returned to (almost) wader’s paradise status. The almost comes from the awkward midmorning bump in flows which can throw off an allday wading session. Today they have skipped the bump but watch the schedules for the bumps to return as temperatures drop.
On these days you have a choice, find a bank or return to the truck for a break if you like an early start, or choose bankers hours and hit the water after the bump. Personal water craft like kayaks, canoes and pontoons are a great option on these flows, riding the bump into the middle of the river and then park and wade
Egg patterns are a good start teams with midges like the Ruby and Rootbeer, or perhaps a #18 Tailwater Jig. Sinday specials are solid as are tan scuds or sowbugs. Small coneheads or mini Dungeons can be fun in the shoals on cloudy days.