This November has seen me spending an extensive amount of time on the Norfork, and it’s been a fascinating journey. Each day brings a different experience on the water. Sometimes it’s bustling with traffic, leading to finicky, pressure-weary big fish. Other times, it’s drenched in sunlight with no wind, resulting in a slower brown trout bite. Then there are those magical days with cloud cover and wind chop, where the river truly comes alive. To succeed out here, you need to be on the water daily, adapting to whatever Mother Nature throws your way. It’s what I like to call “water time,” and it’s your ticket to a great day on the Norfork, though you’ve got to pay your dues.
Today, the stars aligned, and Jack was our chosen angler. The river was generous, reaffirming why I keep returning to the Norfork over the White River. Jack has been a regular companion on my trips, booking about five times a year. We’ve shared both exceptional and average days on the water. This time, he brought his buddy, affectionately known as Bobo, which certainly adds a unique flair to the group.
Bobo took the back seat of the boat, giving Jack the coveted “pressure seat” at the front. These gentlemen are seasoned anglers, with decades of experience in these fisheries since the ’70s. Fishing with them definitely turns up the pressure, but it’s a challenge I relish, motivating me to put them on some decent fish.
Let’s Talk Conditions:
Through my extensive time on the Norfork since the Bull Shoals dam closure in late October, I’ve learned that cloud cover and wind chop are the key conditions for hooking those elusive brown trout. At times, I found myself wondering where these browns were hiding and why they weren’t in the river as expected. However, we’ve managed to hook more than one brown in a day recently, which is a significant improvement. We’ve had outings where brown trout were scarce, so this positive trend has me eagerly anticipating rougher weather conditions. The day before, I guided Ethan, the owner of “Stonefly Nets,” and we landed a decent brown trout. Once again, it was under cloud cover, reinforcing its importance. Additionally, minimal angler pressure played a vital role in our success. Today, we only encountered one lone angler in a raft and Lisa with Ethan.
I’m still relying on a select few flies that I trust to target those trophy fish. I’m steering clear of midge patterns or egg patterns entirely. I’ve been emphasizing this point, and I encourage you to take advantage of our special offer for the month of November. The bite is hot, and your rod will stay bent all day long! I’ve developed such a fondness for this river that I’m considering extending my fishing season into December and taking a break in January. Feel free to reach out via text or a call to the shop if you want to seize this fantastic opportunity! I’ll provide all the details when we chat. 🎣