I’ve fished the White River for a lot of years now and have had plenty of days where you catch a rainbow on almost every cast. Reeling in large quantities of usually smaller sized trout can be a heck of a lot of fun.
But I’m seeking quality over quantity nowadays because size does matter. Ask any angler. So does species. On the White River you can catch rainbows, browns, cutthroat, and brook trout. Getting all four is a grand slam. Landing big browns is bragging rights.
While I’ve caught brown trout, I haven’t reeled in many. Those I have managed to coax to the boat have been on the small side. So, a big beautiful brown with fight that gives some river cred to your fishing is definitely what I was looking for when heading out recently with guide Steve “Hooked” Lopez from Gaston’s White River Resort in Lakeview. It was also my birthday. I had high hopes.
All the good guides know where the brown trout are hanging out; the trick is figuring out what they’re biting on, not just that day but that moment. Water levels and fishing strategies change from morning to afternoon or sometimes within hours. The river’s level is dependent on the water release from the dam for power generation and flood control. The fish bite or not with the rise and the fall of the water. Of course, the right lure in the right color, such as an egg pattern or a jerkbait, or live bait, like worms, also come into play.
I caught them on jerkbait. While I really love to fly fish from a boat, fishing with jerkbait has become my favorite strategy with a spinning rod. The constant twitch, pause, and reel to retrieve the lure keeps me active and engaged as we float sections of the river. I love seeing a fish chase the lure and the feel of setting the hook in the flash of that moment.
My other favorite things about being on the water?
- The Gaston’s shore lunch, where your guide cooks your fish with other sides like fried potatoes on the bank between fishing in the morning and afternoon.
- Catch and release (unless I keep one for lunch). I like to give them back to the water for myself or another angler to catch another day.
- Seeing the caddis hatch and knowing it’s time to come back with my fly rod and flies.
- The hum of the boat motor or the occasional small plane taking off or landing from Gaston’s.
- A light breeze and sun on my face as we boat up and down the river to find the honey holes.
- The lush green shades of spring (or summer or fall color), along the banks; the shimmer and sparkle of the water; green mossy bottom sections and muted earthy hues of the rocks that the fish blend right into. Wildflowers too.
- Bird watching – kingfishers, blue heron, songbirds, ducks landing on the river, and eagles with a baby in a big nest in a large tree on the bank. The peacocks and other fowl at the Gaston’s bird sanctuary.
- Friendly waves from other boaters; some of them my friends from the group I’m with, some of them strangers. (Landing a fish in front of a boat of my friends passing by is the best.)
- Seeing the different houses on the banks, steps to the river, docks, porches, resorts.
- Going to Brown Town. Definitely, going to Brown Town!
I look forward to going after even bigger browns on my next White River fishing adventure. No matter what I catch, a day on the river is a great place to be. Click here to read about why I call this my Magic Place. Tight lines everybody. Hope to see you on the water!