It’s been a very different year than last year on the White. We’ve had more normal conditions than either of the last two years. More up and down in flows, which has lead to good fishing but it’s been a little tricky. The White is a river that without much direction or experience you can struggle. It’s very large and the flows make it tough to figure out, after spending 10 years there I’m now able to stay on the bite better.
Doug with a great fish
Large fish are just starting to show up with regularity now. The warm fall led to a late spawn and many of the big fish are just becoming active now. Last week was my best big fish week of the year and most of it was done in lower water (1 unit of generation). Many people struggle in low water but if you can cast there is plenty of opportunity for large fish. So far this season it has been a numbers game with a few shots at big fish. Lots of fish from 17 to 23 inches have come in the boat this year, we even had one day we landed close to 30 browns on streamers in low water. Low water is not something to be afraid of, you just have to know the water and fish the areas with active fish. It sounds easy but many people struggle on the White with streamers in these conditions.
Low water giant headed to the net
Streamer fishing will remain strong most of March. Weekdays are always the best chance at getting dam flows. If you are looking for a streamer trip I would strongly recommend coming weekdays and booking multiple days. I feel like 3 days is the minimum stay for a shot at a big fish, most clients come in for 4 to 5 days.
Marc Chapman with his personal best at 26in
I’ve got lots of open dates in March as I waited to see conditions before I tried booking out. If you have never experienced the White River brown trout fishery, you should. It is one of the best brown trout fisheries I have ever fished and the top end size cannot be rivaled. I had on Michigan angler tell me he had as many bites in 3 days in Arkansas as he gets in a year in Michigan…he wasn’t lying.
Guide Jason Lloyd with a dandy
If you encounter low water I have a few suggestions.
I tend to fish a sink tip with a moderate sink rate. Most brown trout bite the fly when it is paused. The White is shallow in many spots so fishing an unweighted fly is a must to allow for the stall without snagging bottom (I’ve been using super cougars, sluggo’s and a new bug I’m working on this season). This is easier to accomplish with a moderate sink rate, sink tip. I have been using the RIO Striper Coldwater sink tip in the 300 and 350 grain lines and it’s worked excellent. I typically carry an intermediate line and a floating line also. When fishing the structure in low water a hanging fly like a wet skunk can work excellent when presented with a floating line.
Another thing to keep in mind is the structure and where feeding fish typically lie. When fishing the White in low flows, many times the best water is not adjacent to the bank. Many times it’s only recognizable by the current seams on the surface. Pay attention to these currents seems as they provide you with a map to what you are casting at.