Transition Time on the White
The late fall is typically a short period of transition to the winter fishing season on the White River tailwaters. We saw the last of the early fall weather and water levels with the close of an excellent hopper season the end of October. Several cold fronts and rain have come through northern Arkansas along with our first hard freeze and frosts. Leaves have turned and most have blown down during the storms that have come through. Peak generation times have shifted to early mornings and evenings. Conservation pools are down around the 93 percent range, and generation has been letting up at all the White River projects the past couple of weeks.
Spawning activity by the brown trout is well underway on the spawning shoals on the tailwaters. It’s a shame anglers have such a lust to harass these fish and that it has become such an accepted practice to do it. It’s not ethical. It’s not sporting, and it’s not technically “angling.” It’s redneck fishing at its worst; but, alas, it’s a given that it will happen during this transition season.
Drift boat fly-anglers can find some well isolated stretches of river to fish now. I enjoy the solitude most this time of year until the hard winter weather sets in after the holidays.
Midges are the main hatch, and fish focus in on them and the always available scuds and sow bugs this time of year. If we see any other hatches it will be Tiny BlueWinged Olives or midcrocaddis during calm afternoons. The rule of thumb is anything goes, as far as fly patterns. Try: exotic woolly buggers, attractor nymphs and sometimes the traditional attractor dries like renegades, coachman and wulffs. It’s a great time to get out and experiment.
So I’ll see you on the river!
© 2011, Scott Branyan