North Fork of the White

Troutdoorsman’s North Fork of the White fishing report, June 8

Posted by Phil Lilley on June 9th, 2013
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So when Chris and Laurie booked with me, I must admit I was nervous. The river was up and stained, between 15 to 18 inch visibility and 850 cfs. High and dingy water. Now I relish this type of water normally, but they were total beginners and had never touched a fly rod. This type of water is great for streamer fishing. Getting from never touching a fly rod to throwing a 4″ articulated fly is a big leap.

There just isn’t anyway to do it without getting some experience first. On the North Fork, that means indicator fishing. With as off-color as the water was, I really didn’t think the fish would be able to find a nymph to hit it. So I warned Chris and Laurie that the fishing might be tough and threw in the spinning rods just in case.

So I put together a two fly rig and threw on the bobber. I thought I’d try the murky water combo trick of an attractor and a more natural fly (if you can call a wooly bugger that). The attractor was a cerise San Juan worm. That’s right, a Cerise San Juan on the North Fork.


After about an hour of casting, mending, hook set ting and fish playing lessons, it was time to do this thing. Up went the anchor, out went the flies, and down went the indicator. It was that quick. Laurie was the first to hook up, and she was cool as the other side of the pillow. As with most, fighting a North Fork wild rainbow can be a shock. You fight this fish throwing every trick in the book at you, running up stream, down stream and staying deep not showing itself. Then you get it to the boat and it’s only 14″.


It was on the top fly. The attractor brought the fish in and the natural finished the job.

We spent the next 4 hours hooking up at least every 15 minutes, including an awesome double in super fast water. Almost all fish ate the wooly buggers, but a few took the worm. We never threw a streamer; they could have. It was an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it thing.”


After lunch the sun got high, the temp got warm and the floaters arrived. Things shut down, but the good fishing of the morning more than made up for it. Only goes to show you gotta take what the river gives you.

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