September 4th 2012 – Fly Fishing Report
Fishing is about to get real good in less than a month
This fishing report is all about the BIG brown trout time going all the way into February. This is my favorite time to fish and a lot of it has to do with in search of “the one” on Taneycomo and the White. September is the month when I start watching the migrating trend as these monster browns make their way upstream. I’m actually seeing a few more browns holding up top to. My buddy, Tom Rogers hooked into a decent brown throwing a sculpin about a week ago. That’s a good sign for many more good things to come.
How do you plan on targeting these fish for the month of September?
BIG Streamers, along with really focusing my efforts on night trips. This will also help you to stay away from the crowds during the day. I think we are going to roll into the prime months having lots of low water. If we do get high water the run will be shorter than normal because of the raceway that is adjacent to the new hatchery put in place about four years ago. If the corps does generate more than two units, the fish can swim right into the area that starts the process with them (finding) running up the raceway into the holding tanks. In my opinion, it’s got a lot more challenging than it used to be targeting these fish during the day. With all the pressure this river gets it can lock these fish up unless you find areas that are tougher to fish that keeps the beginners relying on current (rebar hole, the two outlets, gauntlet hole and big hole to name just a few). Even at night is crowded so it’s key on where to fish and how to approach every situation. September can be a good month if you can get downstream a bit and fish for them as they are moving upstream and that’s what I plan to do.
Note: If you plan on fishing during the brown run, it’s better to have a good cast without spooking these already spooky fish that hold in shallow water. As the month continues I will touch more on this subject and keep you posted on the brown run.
Fishing Report – How’s the hopper bite on the White?
I’ve had some trips down there when I think the water has been right to have good hopper fishing. The last fishing report I wrote I explained how if the generation is surging the hopper bite can be tricky on where to go and how to target these browns, and knowing when they are looking up to feed. If you hit the water when it’s spiking and collecting stuff by bringing debris down river you can find yourself in a mess of trouble, but if you get in front of it with some kind of generation, creating enough current along the banks you will hook some browns. The best luck I have had is when they are generating around the clock for a few days. Staying in clean water with some current is key for having a successful hopper day. I think we still have another month of hopper fishing so if you want to target this bite make sure you can be readily available on an “on call” basis to be able to hit it right.
Key note; if you wait till the afternoon and fish until dark that is the window for hooking the bigger browns feeding on hoppers. And most of the time the riveh2r is all yours. Most guides check out at 4-5 leaving the prime time water for the clients in my boat.
Dry Fly Fishing
If the water is running where there is enough current along the banks you will do alright. I say alright because unless there is some true hatch like cicadas etc. then Taneycomo trout really never key in a specific insect and go nuts for it. The white river is a little different in that regard because they support better brown trout that love looking up. But small terrestrials work great in low water and I think these types of patterns get overlooked and not fished enough. I’m sure most anglers have these patterns in their fly box but probably never fished them. I know in the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to fish with one of the best dry fly fisherman since I’ve been fly fishing. Tom really knows how to fish ants, beetles, crane flies, dragonflies to name a few in a way I would have never thought to fish these particular patterns. He is all original with his fishing techniques. I’ll let him touch a little on how he fishes his ant pattern. I know this really has been the highlight with most my clients when we have the right conditions for fishing this pattern.
Tom’s Ant- In his own words…
After fly fishing the White River, Norfork, and Taneycomo for over 20 years I have always looked for new patterns for each tailwater.
Two years ago I teamed up with a good friend, Jeremy Hunt. While we were getting the boat ready one day, I noticed large black ants all over the parking lot. As a fly tier like Jeremy, I started working on a pattern for trout. Every time I go to the river I am always looking on the bank, under the tree leave for insects, same as when I’m in the water looking for terrestrials for innovating new patterns. It also helps to know what size or stage the insect is in.
After two years of fishing prototypes I have finally worked out all the “ins and outs”of getting this pattern to work the best. Finding the right water to use this in is shallow water three feet or less. The sun also makes a big difference; they always bite better if it is full sun. Wind makes the bite even better. The best presentation is site fishing for fish moving along the shoreline sipping insects. Rigging the leader is the same as I do for all dry fly fishing. Using a 9’ 4x leader to start, I add 30” of 5x tippet, then add 30” of 6x tippet. Long leaders are the key to keeping the fly line away from the fish.
After the leader is to the desired length I use fly line floatant or “flytop” 3 ft up the fly line and all the way down to my 6x tippet knot. This keeps the fly line and leader all on the surface. I also use “Gink” fly floatant on my ant. By rigging this way it allows me to skate or skitter the fly on the surface leading the fish to think it is going to fly off the water. This results in some very aggressive explosions from the fish. Fishing dry flies has been my favorite way to fish for many years and ants are one of my favorites out of all of them.
When I’m tying any of my dry flies the best hackle for me is Whiting hackle. Black hackles are my favorite color for ants. I like securing the body on the back of the hook first, then when body is secured, Attach the hackle in the gap and make two wraps securing it off by raising the body and tying your hackle down. Trim your hackle off; wrap your thread to about 16th of inch from eye of hook. Secure the body again, leaving enough room for two more wraps of the black hackle attached the same way as the back, then raising the head of the body up and secure your hackle under the front of the body. Trim hackle off again, and then double whip finish right behind the eye of the hook. And this will force the post to stand up.
Finishing tip after the fly is tied. With the eye of the hook pointed towards you trim the hackles flat, just on the bottom side, just even with the point of barb of the hook. This will leave a stubby effect like legs on the bottom side of the fly and it will make it sit up right on top of the water. This also allows it to be skittered on the surface. Jeremy and I, and some close friends have had some of the best top water action you could want.
Important note: If they miss it, and do not feel the hook 90% of the time they will try it again and again.
Tom knows his stuff when it comes to fly fishing and I’m glad he is part of the team. You should see more stuff from Tom in the future.
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