White River

Babin’s fishing report, April 29

Posted by Phil Lilley on April 28th, 2012
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Life on a tailwater can be filled with peaks and valleys; a term I have often used during transitional periods such as Spring and Fall. Contrary to procedures conducted in years’ past by the Corp of Engineers to reduce high lake levels, flows that occurred in the past recent reflect a high sense of urgency to purge these levels back to a power pool range. This directly contradicts the actions by the same organization in previous years associated with heavy rains and flooding resulting in many months of high river levels and little wading opportunities.

As of this writing, both lakes are within inches of power pool and the flows have lowered significantly as a result. Very little precipitation took place during the month of March and with the heavy releases in the range of 25K cfs, the lakes dropped as much as a foot per day in some instances. This made for boat fishing only during this time but that’s a small price to pay as opposed to watching the lake levels only slowly drop over the course of many consecutive months. In fact, the next few months should equate to plentiful low flows and wading opportunities.

The caddis hatch has not quite run its course and dry fly opportunities should be abundant in the near future. Pupa and dry flies continue to produce a multitude of fish including chunky bows, browns, and cutthroats given how you approach the current river flows and time of day. We’ve even had success with a few varieties of foam hoppers in the right color scheme although a bit early. The warm temperatures this early in the year will certainly encourage more terrestrial activity.

For those clients that prefer targeting big browns, streamer fishing can be the ticket. The essentials associated with successful streamer techniques revolve around a few key ingredients such as higher flows, which push big fish to the banks, and gloomy, overcast skies. However, the past few weeks of the opposite conditions have really been the exception to the rule. Dialing in the right size and color may take time with trial and error but can be productive. (See the pic below).

The Norfork is also offering wadable conditions and is producing quality fish. The catch is usually directly related to the choice of fly size. Black and rusty zebra midges in the range of #18 – #22 with a black tungsten bead combined with 6 or 7X tippet and choppy water can result in a multitude of fish with an opportunity at a grand slam. A slight wind chop is also conducive for an array of dry flies such as black griffith’s gnats and soft hackles. The completion of minimum flow should really be an asset to this wonderful tailwater.

Consider planning a summer time trip our home waters; especially for those of you who prefer to fish long stretches of river with dries! Some weekend dates and prime week day availability remain for the moment. Should you plan on a walk and wade strategy, don’t hesitate to give me a call as I’d be happy to direct you in the right direction.

For daily reports and more information about my guide service, river reports, and local business information, please visit http://hogsonthefly.com or if you would like to discuss booking dates, or group trips, send Larry an email to larry@hogsonthefly.com or call 870.321.2792.

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