DRY FLY FISHING
Dry fly action can be enjoyed all year long because of the midges and blue winged olives which hatch throughout the winter months. However, Spring and Summer will provide the most excitement.
Caddis, mayflies and craneflies are the predominant insects you will see in the warmer months during non-generation periods. Typically, the faster riffles will produce the hottest action, but skating small midges around spooky fish in skinny water can occasionally provide a thrill.
Another exciting dish on the dry fly menu is terrestrials. Hoppers, cicadas, beetles and large ants will be readily taken in some situations, even during periods of moderate generation. These can be fished alone or with a nymph dropper. On days when you catch the fish looking up even some of the largest trout will explode on a big dry. If you choose to fish these with a dropper you might double your chances.
Streamer fishing is yet another technique which produces fish in many situations.Various baitfish, such as sculpins, chubs, darters and crayfish are important food sources in some sections of our trout waters. Streamers are typically fished with a standard floating line during low water and a sink tip or full sinking lines when the water is up. Again, the key here is to get the fly down near the bottom. Cast to the banks when fishing from the boat and fish the pockets and structure when wading.
Wooly buggers, sculpin patterns, zonkers, and the like all work well when the fish are being aggressive. The flies can be fished using a variety of different retrievals. Sight casting to fish and allowing the streamer to sink without stripping at all can sometimes entice fish to attack, especially with white streamers. There is really no right or wrong way to fish streamers here, just the willingness to experiment.
TARGETING TROPHY FISH
The Norfork and White Rivers offer many opportunities for fly anglers to target trophy trout. Three techniques offer the greatest success and can be implemented at different times of the year.
During the winter months, from late November through early March, streamer fishing is the best option. Stocked rainbow trout are favorite meal for large brown trout. Due to lack of tourism during the winter months, stocking is greatly decreased . In addition, the abundance of shad, which come through the dams, make streamer fishing an excellent opportunity to hook up with large trout.
Between the months of March and May, the Ozark mountains turn green with the arrival of spring. Caddis flies begin to hatch. These hatches are often prolific and the trout will focus feeding on these insects almost exclusively. Dries and nymph imitations will often produce high numbers as well as large trout. This is an excellent time of year for both novice and experienced anglers to catch not only lots of fish but trophy fish as well!
By far, the most exciting fishing on these rivers occurs during the summer months. From June through September there are terrestrial insects in very high numbers. Grasshoppers, cicadas, beetles, dragonflies and even tarantulas become important food sources for trout. The high number of these bugs, combined with an increase in the water flow from the dams, offer breathtaking opportunities to catch big fish! The increased flows will concentrate fish along the banks as well as washing land dwelling insects into the river. Casting foam flies to the banks is one of the best methods for targeting trophy fish and is definitely the most exciting!