Streamer fishing on the White River in the winter months
The months of January and February can be some of the hottest months to target trophy browns on the White River located in Arkansas. Streamer fishing on the White River can be exceptionally good this time of year. Not only that, but it’s a easier way to almost get a guarantee that you will hook something over 23 inches without relying on a indicator for the rest of your life trying to get the job done. You almost have to be lucky to catch a trophy trout on any given month and on any given time fishing nymphs with indicators. I know it can be done so I’m not saying that, but there can be easier ways to target these bigger fish if you play your cards right. In this case, it has to do with making sure all the stars line up, and the upcoming month happens to be one of those times. Winter months are usually the months when we can rely on higher water conditions to allow this bite to happen.
The other stars that have to line up is colder weather keeps fair weather fisherman at home watching television so in return there is less pressure on the river. Less pressure equals more opportunities for fish to investigate your offering alot more, especially if the trout haven’t seen a fly for awhile. The true reason why it’s easier to target these fish in February is, January is the time when these fish get done with the spawn and are hungry and ready to eat. Being that browns are predatory, it goes hand in hand for them to chase big articulated flies with aggression.
So this is the time to plan your perfect getaway. The only thing with trying to hook one of these fish is the client has to do their part as well. If you are not a good fly caster then you can bet you better have a lot of luck on your side. I get alot of people who say they have casted streamers, but let’s be honest, If you are the guy who has casted a single hook big streamer on a six weight then you my friend don’t understand any of this style of fishing. It’s a different ball game all together.
It’s more like saltwater fly fishing then anything else. Big rods with heavy lines that sink at a faster ips rate. It does take some “getting used to it” mojo, but with a little help and instruction it can be done. I usually like to have two days with the client. The first day is the day you get acclimated to it and get the rhythm down and the second day you have a better understanding on what the guide expects you to do. The guide is also half of the equation. We have to put you in the right position, find the right water and make sure we keep you on the drift. You job is to make sure you make every cast count. If you make one bad cast that could be where the monster is holding. This is serious business and you need to go into it that way. If you get complaisant that’s usually when the fish hit. It’s no different than when you look away for a brief moment and you look back and your indicator is under. I like to say this…..DON’T BLINK. You always have to be in the zone to get the BIG one. There really isn’t too much luck when fishing this way so you really have to have everything right.
Put it this way, if I’m so serious on writing this down you can only imagine how serious I am about getting you the trophy of your life. Not too many guides will tell you what they expect, but I will because I want to happen for you. A lot of people want to do this, but to be honest, not a lot of people have the experience under their belt to do this style of fishing. If you want to learn it and practice before you come (which I would highly recommend you do) is to go out and buy the set up and cast it so you know what to expect when fishing this way. The standard set up I would buy is a 9wt with a Rio Outbound (490 grain) streamer line in a T-14 custom that has a 8-9 ips.
I use this set up more than any others I throw. My back up would be a 8wt only if the 9wt is wearing you out and get a line that is a 350-385 grain. I’m not a big fan of SA lines that are the wet tip express or the streamer express. These lines split from the core and you will find yourself going back to the store replacing it. If you do buy one of these make sure you get the wet tip express and not the streamer express. The running line on the streamer express has way too much memory and will coil in the cold. So when you are trying to shoot line it will get caught up in the guides. I don’t know about you, but this is aggravating and will not allow every cast to count. I would also recommend you throw this line where there is water so you can understand how to lift the shooting head out of the water. This to me is what confuses people the most. I like to say you have to have a rhyme and a reason every time you make the cast. This cannot be done on the ground or any other way so finding water is key. Hopefully I would come out with a demonstration video that would give you some basics for you to follow so be looking for this in the future. I do have one that gives you somewhat of an example, but it’s really not going to teach you everything you will need to know to get you prepare for this type of fishing, but it will give you some insight on the casting style.
I hope this helps you plan for a memorable trip and feel free to email me if you have any questions whatsoever. I’ll be happy to help anyway I can. Until next time…see you on the water.
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