Tom Wetherington’s stuf 28″ hopper brown caught with guide Michael Saladin

Despite us having what was recently coined “yo-yo water” fishing has been surprisingly good.

Seeing as how some fellow guides have busted some record highs as far as fish caught in a day and our very own Dally’s guide snaked in a 28”, I dare say fish are becoming a little more comfortable and perhaps even a little more eager to eat.

All in all, we continue to see lower water in the mornings and a bump as the power need goes up. I look for that pattern to remain as long as we don’t see any significant rains. 

For the White, fish seem to be happier during the lower more stable water. Hoppers seem to be the cream of the crop for catching the bigger fish, however, a more realistic double midge combo has been nothing to scoff at either.

Fat Alberts in pink and Psycho Ants seem to be the hoppers of choice as of late. I find that they are both large enough to handle a dropper as well if you are looking for more of a shotgun approach.

As far as subsurface flies, a hairs ear, Sunday special, or other “larger buggy” attractor seem to be opening the door for some larger fish a little more so than the standard mega worm or egg pattern. Team them up with a ruby midge, lightning bug jig, or tailwater jig and you should be well on your way. 

Water on the Norfork has been a bit wonkier and has been keeping most of the guides at bay. This being said, it is still fishing well and certainly a blast to catch on this lower water.

Scud and Sowbug patterns seem to still be the cream of the crop, but soft hackles, ruby midges, and lightning bug jigs are no slouch either. As the water rises in the afternoon and the water appears murky, it often behooves you to add an attractor such as a mega worm, blob, or egg pattern.

When the murky water settles, the fish often switch back over to wanting something a little less flashy. 

Nothing like brown trout and hoppers, Steve Dally and Butch Johnson

I don’t touch on it often, but our smallmouth window doesn’t have too much longer to go. Crooked Creek and the Buffalo seem to still be putting out nice fish and if it’s on your list this year, I recommend jumping on it.

Top water poppers and even hopper patterns seem to be effective early in the mornings and late evenings. As the sun comes up, the action seems to be switching to sub-surface flies. Crawfish, girdle bugs, and minnow patterns tight-lined through faster water seem to be a good choice.

Try running Clouser minnows or even a Viking Midge through deeper pools and hold on because bass can surprise you.