As the late, great John Snow stated, “winter is coming” or so that is how it felt earlier this week. We received a small sneak peek of how the water level might react as we dive deeper into the winter months. For once in what seems like forever, the lake is at a reasonable level and the generation schedule is primarily running based on power necessity.
With this in mind, we might see some wonky water patterns until we settle into the more stable winter months. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The fish were starting to become a little skittish with the abundance of low water, so this will give them some much needed relief. On top of that we should start to see people spread out a bit more since the higher water makes the river a bit easier to navigate.
We are starting to see more fish gearing up to spawn, even a few reds have become visible on some of the lower sections of the White. This is a pretty good sign that egg patterns are about to become a sought after meal. This usually corresponds with minnow and baitfish patterns as well. Now would be a good time to stock up on mop flies, meat whistles, and whatever streamers you prefer.
Girdle bugs, egg patterns, and other large natural attractors seem to be the best choice for a point fly; specifically in the clearer water. Team these up with ruby midges, root beer midges, sunday specials, tailwater jigs, and soft hackles.
As you delve into the murkier water you’ll find that mega worms, blobs, egg patterns, and sizing up on your midges can help get your flies noticed. Streamers are still getting some attention, specifically when stripped around shady structures. Small rainbow patterns, sparkle minnows, and CJ’s little Johnsons seem to be decent options.
They have been turning on that 30 megawatts (or a little under one generating unit) on the Norfork for awhile now. It seems like the generating window keeps getting a little longer. This is an enjoyable water level on the ‘Fork’ because it’s enough water to get everywhere via boat and still low enough to avoid having to use split shot or heavy highwater riggs. Sunday specials, egg patterns, girdle bugs, and larger soft hackles seem to be a good choice as point flies. Team these up with ruby midges, hair’s ears, lightning bug jigs, and tail water jigs and it should point you in the right direction.