You will most definitely not hear me complaining about the weather we are having, low flows with easy rainbow plinking drifts and the occasional opportunity to sight fish for full-sized critters are all in my wheelhouse.
With that being said, if you are looking to throw some larger streamers this mild winter isn’t doing you any favors. The lake is on the upper portion of power pool, but not quite above it yet.
With a bit more rain it might be enough to push it above level and we could potentially see some bigger water. Another option is that we start getting some legitimately cold weather and they would run the generators for power needs.
Until then, smaller flies and technical presentations are going to be key in catching the trout of the brown variety. Luckily, rainbows continue to be a little less picky and are fairly eager to please. When you mix that with a beautiful sunny day in January it is quite an enjoyable experience.
The White seems to be pretty stable for the time being. This usually results in happy fish; we like happy fish. For the most part, egg patterns seem to be top dog.
There have been days this week where a pink worm or double midge pattern wins out though. On those double midge days, something larger and buggy seems to be handy as an attractor.
For example; Hare’s Ears, Sunday Specials, small girdle bugs, and even larger Tailwater Jigs fit those criteria. Team those “attractors” with something like a Lightning Bug jig, Sunday Special, soft hackle, or frenchie.
As mentioned earlier, the lower water tends to lead more towards smaller streamers. Things like leeches, slumpbusters, sparkle minnows, and sculpin patterns are all working pretty well. But don’t ignore patterns like the Little Johnson, Tiny Dancer and smaller Bangtails. Adapt your flyline to suit, the flows with shorter sink tips or lighter sinking sections.
The Norfork has been having some rollercoaster-type water levels. Despite it being difficult to map out an all-day boat or wading trip on it, it is fishing really well.
Much like the White River, egg patterns remain king with the occasional upset brought on by the pink mega worm.
Use these in conjunction with sunday specials, ruby midges, soft hackles, and frenchies and good things are sure to follow. Baitfish imitations and other streamers are working decently as well.
The trick is presenting them correctly while not losing them all to the sneaky depths of the princess river. Meat whistles, slumpbusters, leeches, and sculpin patterns are all solid choices. Keeps some Circus Peanuts, Sex Dungeon’s and Bangtails handy too.
By Adrian Hubbard