Dallen Christiansen beat the heat with a nice brown with guide Ben Levin. Lead image hopper brown by Steve Dally

This week is a good reminder of just how important staying hydrated is. According to the all knowing weatherman, several days this week have reached near record level temperatures. This means that things like water and gatorade are necessities and one should not rely solely on the budlight kind of water.

Tricks like dipping your hat in the water, wearing lighter colored clothing, and taking shade breaks are all great ways to help you get through the day. Don’t forget, it’s completely acceptable to pull over to the bank and jump in the water!

John Dand from St Louis with a big brown fishing with guide Brian Kick

I’d probably just make sure you can get back in the boat though. The hot weather has been deterring a fair amount of people. If you can tough it out, you just might get some usually packed fishing spots all to yourself. 

High water fishing has been the name of the game lately. Things like girdle bugs and mop flies on the bank remain popular choices. Egg and worm patterns paired with a midge drifted over shallower grass banks are always a good choice. Try using lightning bug jigs, zebra midges, ruby midges, frenchies, and of course our own tailwater jigs.

Sofia Sterner braved the heat and found a nice hopper eater with Steve Dally

If you are looking to start the hopper season, start with smaller Beatle-style flies like Jake’s beetle or a smaller Fat Albert.

Remember to swap from your fluorocarbon leaders to a more classic mono or nylon leader in 2x or 3x to lay out your less aerodynamic flies. Not to mention, fluoro sinks and a sinking or dragging dry fly tends alert the fish that something is just not right about it.   

Hannah Albert scored this fat bow with guide Luke Coffey on Norfork

Norfork has been running a steady two units throughout most of the day.  Blobs, Mega Worms, and egg patterns paired with a midge seem to be the key, specifically as the water rises.

As the water begins to level out and the water clears, the fish can become a bit more finicky.  At this point try a more subtle approach and swap the flashy attractors for something like ruby midges, soft hackles, lightning bug jigs, Sunday specials, and tailwater jigs. 

Big water has been the way of life lately and by the looks of things, the pattern is not going anywhere anytime soon.

You’ll find no complaints here because with summer weather and decent flows comes big foam bugs and refreshing cool-offs in the water. Hopper season is starting to warm up, so if it’s something you want in on I would book soon.  

Adrian Hubbard