Here on the White River the fly angler hears about many different methods of catching big brown trout. Streamer fishing, night time mousing, nymphing, worm patterns, shad kill and more. All these do produce well at times but it depends on conditions. Myself I tend to promote the strippin large streamers for a good shot at a big brown but if you show up at the river and water levels are very low or minimum flow your chance of this working are very slim. Same for night time mousing if you show up with high power generation around the clock (like currently) your going to very disappointed in the mousing as its best in low flows. Does this mean that mousing wont work in high flows and streamers wont work in low flows – well of course not but odds are it wont be good. Conditions are ever changing on the White River and I have never seen a system that changes so fast. It doesn’t matter about yesterday around here as that is over! Fish the conditions you are given with the best method for them and good Brown Trout will come. The White River has some of highest numbers of big browns of any river in the country and you can still have a bad day as that is just brown trout and this river. But you can also have best day you have ever seen!
I have been here for six weeks so far this winter and it seemed like low water was what we had for the winter. We were strippin streamers in morning generations or nymphing and then at night had some incredible night time mousing. Then came the rain and more rain! Lake level above Bull Shoals Dam changed sure changed fast. It was a couple feet below “power pool” and now a week later it is two feet over power pool. What that means is they can generate power from Bull Shoals dam at will around the clock. Current flows are 14-15k cfs or 220 mega watts and this is around the clock. Schedule shows thru Monday like this and chances are it will last a while. But does this mean no low water next week? Well you never know! If it comes back we switch back to our low water program quickly.
This week as the high water grew something new came – Shad Kills! These shad come thru the turbines at Bull Shoals and the trout love them. They are still alive and flip around a bit. Trout eat them on the surface and down below. Will have more posts on this coming soon.
As water levels have increased over the past week streamer fishing has really picked up. Two days ago that water was so nice and green with no weeds/leaves and the bite was so good. Larger streamers were producing – Great Lakes Deceivers in glow white, Slop Mop in Olive/tan and Chart/white, Skull Head 2 articulated rainbow, Chromatic Peanuts in yellow, white and brown. In these conditions my favorite setup is 9′ 8wt with Airflo Streamer Max fly line in 330 grain. Leader – short and heavy – 4-5′ 15lb maxima.
Some days the streamer bite is just off on the White River in even high water. Some will keep pounding away with the big stuff and you will hear so many streamer anglers talk about how they caught there biggest Brown Trout ever and it was the only fish they got that day. That is what I like to do on the White River keep hunting for that giant! Many want more action if streamer bite is off. Big worm patterns down deep sure work and the Mega Worm is top producer. In the higher water you want 5x flouro tippet so it will sink fast and dead drifted under an indicator. Small streamer will work very well at times in same method and little sparkle minnows are my favorite. Also sculpin pattern can be very effective fished in this method.
Here was fishing before the water came up! Strippin streamer in the low light just before dark and then switching over to mousing in the dark till late night. It was so productive in January and first week in Feb. We get lower water again by end of March I will be back to this program!
Here is the awesome White River Trout Lodge and picture was taken right from our boat ramp as we were heading out night fishing. You can’t beat the accommodations here and our location is so perfect on the river.