The hot temperatures and high water finally gave us something that we can all enjoy, hopper season. That’s right, fish are looking up and appear to be willing to eat some foam this week. Early mornings until around 10:00 or so definitely seems to be the magic time however, fish are being caught fairly steadily throughout the day.
The higher water that the White keeps pumping appears to be just enough to let the trout be on the banks, but not so much to make casting into the trees too technical. The good news is that we are not scheduled to reach power pool until mid-August.
This means we could continue to see similar water patterns for the foreseeable future. Of course, any significant rainfall here or further up our watershed would change this. As for now, we all know fish prefer stability and it appears that our current schedules could remain intact for the foreseeable future.
Time for the nitty gritty. Hoppers seem to be effective in the smaller sizes so far. Try Fat Alberts size 12 in Black and Pink. Big Fat Angies, Jakes Beatles, and other beatle patterns all seem to produce nice fish. During the heat of the day or simply for a change in pace, Girdle Bugs followed by a midge have been deadly on steep rocky banks.
Try Lightning Bug Jigs, Tailwater Jigs, Sunday Specials, and Rainbow Warriors. If you are craving some lighter fare, running a double midge rig over grass beds or along grassy banks is an easy way to throw something with minimal weight and/or effort and still catch fish.
Remember to match the size of the midge to the size of the water. Think size 18 for minimum flow to roughly a unit, size 16 for above one unit to around 3 units, and size 14 for larger water. Of course this can differ depending on factors such as water clarity, fishing pressure, and available hatches, however its a good starting point.
The Norfork has been running the coveted one unit and, due to the popularity of hopper fishing on the White, it has been surprisingly unvisited. If you are looking to have prime conditions on the Norfork without the usual crowd, now is the time.
Mega Worms, Blobs, and Egg Patterns followed by a midge is almost always a good start on the Fork. When they start to wisen up, swap over to a double midge rig. Sunday Specials, Softhackles, Lightning Bug Jigs, and Ruby Midges seem to be producing fish quite well.