Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Flyfishing Guides on Indiana's Finest Rivers

text here

Flyfishing Guides in Indiana

Fly fishing guides in Indiana offering guided float trips for Smallmouth Bass in Indiana. We fish rivers such as Sugar Creek in Crawfordsville IN, West Fork of the White River in Indianapolis, Tippecanoe River near Lafayette IN.

2009 Indiana Fly Fishing Reports

If you would like to sign up for our email fishing reports, please send an email to and let us know you would like to subscribe.

West Fork of the White River: 10/23/09 - I suspected that the falling leaves would foul the river any day now, so Eddie and I headed out for a Fall float before the trees dump their leaves. We hit the river about 11am on rising water with some color after the Thursday rain of nearly 1.5". There were still only a few leaves on the water to foul our casts, but a stiff breeze continued to blow more and more leaves off the trees. As the water cools, the fish tend to lay in shallow water to absorb warmth from the sun. We fished spots such as behind rocks and ambush points in as little as 6" of water. Eddie picked up 6 or 8 average fish by hitting those spots. At around 2pm the sky opened up and dumped nearly a half inch of rain on us in 15 minutes. After the rain, the river went way off-color and the numbers of leaves increased ten-fold, with floating mats of leaves making it nearly impossible to sneak a cast through, even with sinktip lines. We pushed out the last 2 miles, only making occasional casts to key spots. I would say that Smallmouth fishing is over until the leaves clear. Then we'll be into mostly "low & slow" tactics until next Spring (unless November gets quite warm). It may be time to hit the Wipers at Monroe a few times and then switch to Great Lakes Steelhead!

Tippecanoe River: 10/18/09
After having 4 trips cancel due to heavy rain in the last 3 weeks, I was ready get out on the water, so Dustin Tabert and I went to the Tippi for some Fall fishing! The Tippi was running pretty low...600 cfs. We put in and rowed up to the dam to hunt for big wipers and stripers. We didn't find any but did get into a mess of white bass. As the sun came out and started to warm the water, I fished a heavy sinktip and a big Deceiver to continue the hunt for big fish. I caught 2, although not the big fish I was looking for. I foul hooked 2 Asian Carp - one about 10lbs and the other 20lbs. Man those things are ugly! Other than that, the fishing was slow, with the few fish we caught coming on thin, flashy baitfish patterns. Weird Fall.

West Fork of the White River: 9/21/09
Nate Wilsford joined me for a very wet day on the river. We put on about 9am in gray skies and by 10:30 we were in a drenching rain. We got about an inch of rain over the next hour and a half. Nate was catching some nice fish, including a 17" smallmouth out a rock garden. (I tried to photograph that fish with my cell phone camera, but the rain ws falling so hard that the lens was fogged up). After the rain, I had great hopes for the day. We had 3 classic signs that fishing would be great; 1) gray skies (no sun or shadows); 2) rising water (and the terrestrial food sources added to the river by the rain); and 3) rising water temps from the warm rain. Oh well... you gotta have theories even if they don't always prove to be true. We still had a nice day and Nate caught lots of fish, including hooking his first fish on a flyrod.

West Fork of the White River: 9/18/09
Based on promises from the weather experts of "mostly cloudy with chances of drizzle", I took Randy and Chris for a pre-Fall float. We had hoped for that gray, misty kind of day that brings fish out of the cover. As usual, the weatherman (just like my investment advisor) was wrong again. It was a gorgeous day complete with bright blue skies, high sun and a light breeze. Just what the doctor didn't order for a good day of fishing in low, clear water. These guys are good spin anglers and dug deep to get some fish... and as the day progressed, even found a few decent fish on topwater Popr's. On these bluebird days, I row through water less than about 3 feet deep (unless there is serious cover and classic ambush points), and head for the deep pools where a majority of the active fish will be found. That tactic worked today.

West Fork of the White River: 9/10/09
Eric Simpson (former owner of Royal River Flyshop) & Gary Wood of Orvis in Carmel hopped in the boat and we took off for a float. We picked up fish on streamers most of the day with occasional bouts of topwater activity. All in all, the cool weather coming so early this year seems to have confused the fish (or me!). While dropping water temps in the Fall usually triggers active feeding by Smallmouth, they seem to be treating this early cool down as just another cold front that puts them off the feed bucket. While still feeding, the fish have been sullen and unaggressive, mostly requiring slow, deep presentations to hook up.

West Fork of the White River: 8/31/09
Gary Wood, (manager of the flyfishing department at the Orvis store in Carmel) joined me for a float trip on the White. Just friends out fishing together, so he fished as we drifted into the good holes... then we anchored up and fished together. The sky was bright blue, the sun was high and the water was low and gin clear. The Smallmouth were miles under the structure and we had to dig deep to lure them out. So, we lost a few more flies than usual to catch fish, but it was worth it. We had a great day on the water, saw a gray wolf along the river, and finally got some fish up to the surface later in the day as the sun dropped behind the trees.

West Fork of the White River: 8/28/09

Flow guage at 84cfs (very low). Water temp 72 degrees (down 5 degrees from previous Friday). Joe and Bill joined me for a long float that lasted nearly 12 hours. The weather was again crazy, with a storm moving in mid-afternoon and dumping rain on us from 3pm until we got off the river at 9pm. Before the storm hit, fishing had been spotty. The low water had moved fish out of their normal habitat and into the deeper pools, and the bright skies pushed them way back in the cover. During the first half of the float, Bill and Joe had to fish very tight to cover and/or very deep to draw any strikes. Then the sky darkened, the humidity shot up and the fish came out to play. After a slow morning of streamers (and sometimes sinktips) to dig out the few fish we caught, the changing weather turned on the topwater fishing. We had steady topwater action from 3 until 7, at which point the cold front moved in hard and the fishing turned off. We rowed out the last mile with sore arms and big grins from a great day

Joe with a White River smallmouth

Bill with a 18.5" pig that ate a deerhair popper.

West Fork of the White River: 8/21/09
Flow guage at 150cfs. Water temp at 77 degrees (down 5 degrees from a few days before). I had the pleasure of floating Rob Walters. He has been in Iraq for the last 4-5 years, first serving in the Indiana National Guard and then as a civilian consultant. Rob is a great angler and former owner of Royal River flyshop. We had the best (albeit weirdest) day on the river this year. The weather was completely psychotic!... from bright bluebird skies to dark and threatening with light rain, to sunny with high winds, back to gray and cloudy, and finally ended up in a downpour. Each time the weather changed, so did the fishing. In the AM it was a beautiful bright day. We fished a crawdad pattern on a sinktip and Rob took 4 fish in the first hour, including a catfish that slammed the fly as soon as it hit the water. Then, for the next 4 hours it was sunny and very windy. The only fish we saw were 1-2 year class smallmouth in the 4-6" range, but there were alot of them (which bodes well for future seasons). Then mid-afternoon the clouds rolled in, the wind died down and a light drizzle fell. This was the trigger! We swithced to a popper and the larger fish came out of their shoes to get the fly. No pigs, but respectable sized fish in the 13-15" range that fought like they were twice their size. We caught 1 or 2 fish out of every target hole and some in between. I have to give credit to my "trained fish"... they made me look like a genius in front of my old friend, Rob. Of course, the weather was bound to change, and it did. By 5:00 we were back to bluebird skies, the popper bite slowed down and we went back to sinktips and small olive streamers, which produced well. As 6:30 rolled around we had a dropping sun, calming wind and another popper bite. Rob picked up several more fish banging the dark holes along the bank as I pushed the boat downstream through the slow pools. We had been on the water for nearly 12 hours and were both pretty tired when Rob wound up his flyline and pronounced himself "toast". I started rowing hard to get us to the boat ramp before dark, but the weather had one more turn for us. We had stayed on the river 1/2 hour too long! The sky opened up and dumped about an inch of rain on us in the last 1/2 mile. Gluttons... soaking wet but happy!

Rob with the first smallmouth of the day around 9am

This channel cat came a few casts later

Trained fish! The first sizeable popper fish of the day

West Fork of the White River: 8/12/09
Ed, Todd and I needed an "emergency medical" float trip to rinse off some of the crappy cards life has been dealing these days. We put on about 3pm for a short float. We anchored up on 3 or 4 big holes and worked them hard, starting on sinktips with Murdich Minnows and progressing to small deerhair poppers as evening came. We caught several fish, laughed, picked on each other, and generally had a therapeutic time. We weren't too swift with the camera, but here are a few silly pics.

Todd in his new hat (Ed confirmed that he DID NOT get a bowl of soup with it.)

Me fighting a 16+" fish. I screwed up the "grab" and watched the fish swim away. "I don't need no stinking net!"

West Fork of the White River: 8/7/09
Fished my good client (and friend) Randy and his 10 year old grandson, Geoff. It was tough day on the river. The front moving in put the fish down HARD! If I didn't know better I would have thought there we no fish in the river except the 3 Randy caught. Two of them were big fish. The first one (about 17") he caught right away, leading us to believe that we were in for a great fishing day. It was several hours before the next one (shown below), but it was over 18" and took us all by surprise. Geoff fished like a real trooper. As the day progressed, his casting became more accurate until he was fishing like pro.
Jeff Conrad

Brookville Tailwater: 8/7/09
Ran over to Brookville to see how the recent storms affected the TailWater. The torrential rains in that part of the State caused the West Fork to rise meteorically and it backed up into the Tailwater. It was interesting to see the high water marks on the tailwater, as they were well over our heads down by the 52 bridge and it appeared to have backed up all the way to the 252 bridge. The run off from the storms that caused this back up deposited some Indiana silt/mud... just about every step in the stream stirred it up. I checked on the aquatic insects and the few species that I usually see seemed fine. I'm sure the silt has some effect but this happens with some regularity at the Tailwater so I'm sure the bugs have lived through it before or they would not be there in the first place. There are some tricos coming off now and it should last for another couple of weeks, Nymphs are productive as usual and small streamers continue to be a good option when stripped quickly and erratically.
Ed Devine

West Fork of the White River: 8/3/09

Don and Tim joined me for a White River float. We put on the river at first light. The AM popper bite was on and the guys caught several 12-16" fish right out of the gate. As the sun rose in the sky, activity slowed and we went subsurface with sinktips and small baitfish patterns. The sinktips worked and they caught several more fish before pulling out around 4pm. A nice day on the river. Although I would have liked to stay on the river for "evening popper o'clock", Tim had "Dad duty" with his new baby girl.

West Fork of the White River: 7/27/09
Dave is a new flyfisher with a great passion for the sport. He is perfectly drawn to be a lifelong flyfisher... dedicated, inquisitive, always trying to learn and improve, and willing to be frustrated for long periods of time until he solves the problems. Dave had drifted flies for salmon but had never had any formal instruction in casting, so we started our day with casting lesson/practice, popper/streamer presentation techniques, and line management in the boat... just enough of the basics for him to be able to catch some fish. As the day progressed, so did Dave's skills and soon he was throwing good 35-40 foot casts and taking some chances to get his fly into the cover. Fishing was steady, with the normal 9-12 inch Smallmouth and plenty of Rock Bass coming to a variety of Clousers and deerhair divers. "Popper o'clock" arrived later than usual, but by 6pm we put on a Sneaky Pete to cover the last couple of miles. Along a deep bank, Dave made a nice cast between trees. His fly disappeared with a "kasploosh" and the battle was on! A trophy Smallmouth of 19.5" had attacked his fly. Fortunately, he was on 1x tippet and fought the fish well. It was a spectacular end to a day of hard work (on Dave's part) to learn to cast, present the fly properly and keep his rod tip down so that the hookset is solid. It's amazing that when we set the hook on a big fish, the flyfishing "hook" snags us even deeper, and catch 'n' release doesn't seem to be an option.
- Jeff Conrad
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Dave with a 19.5" trophy Smallmouth

Brookville Tailwater: 7/25/09
Gage @ 3.51 and the water temperature was 66°. Barbara had a birthday and her husband Eric (being the intelligent man he is), decided to book her a day at Brookville as a gift. She had had a disappointing trip out west recently and wanted to practice nymphing and work on technique. When we arrived at the Tailwater some rather heavy thunder storms hit, sending us to the pavillion to wait it out. Those storms dropped over 3/4 of an inch of rain in about an hour, and an hour after that the river had cleared enough to fish. Barbara's technique didn't need much work and what I thought was going to be a day of nymphing 101 turned out to be more like the advanced class. She picked up the, "mend wiggle" technique quicker than most and was getting drag free drifts of 75 to 100 feet before the end of the day. In fact, the fat brown in the photo came on this advanced mending technique. Barbara worked hard on getting drag free drifts and it paid off in numbers as well as a couple of nice holdover fish. We arrived at the her home in Indy after a 12+ hour fishing day fraught with thunder storms, muddy water and other anglers trying to "high hole" us. Barbara gave me the Indiana FlyFishing Guides quote of the week, "Boy I sure am glad I had a chance to get my nails done yesterday! Could you imagine what that photo would look like with my nails all chipped and banged up??" The funny thing about this is after being married for only a short 5 years I understood the comment completely.
- Ed Devine
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Brookville Tailwater: 7/18/09
Gage at 3.08 and water temperature of 65°. Looks like summer has finally hit the tailwater and we are at minimum flows... the water is gin clear. This is kind of nice for seeing the fish you are fishing to but the fish can also see you. I found five nice size fish in a hole and fished over them for more than an hour before I could get one to eat. This is the time of year when flies and size mean the difference between catching and getting skunked. The fish can see things coming from quite a way off and have plenty of time to be choosy. Midges and emerges have been the most productive flies. While nymphs haven’t been the most productive flies the rainbow in the photo did eat one after an hour or so putting them in front its face. Streamers can also work in these conditions but like everything else small like Jeff’s Brookville Clouser will work as well. The one thing you want to remember is strip it quick. If the water is clear and you can see a fish following your streamer, keep it moving cause if you stop the fish normally stop their pursuit as well.
- Ed Devine
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

West Fork of the White River: 7/13/09
Ed and I had the pleasure of fishing with our old friends from Royal River Flyshop. The shop went out of business when Orvis announced that they were building the corporate store in Carmel. It was a great shop... well-managed, with knowledgeable staff and a genuinely friendly and welcoming vibe. Flyshops throughout the country could have learned alot from Royal River about making their store into more than just a flyshop, but rather a "fishing buddies networking venue and mental health clinic". Man do I miss that place! Eric Simpson, Ken Langell, Jim Williams and Bill Wheeler jumped in our boats for a float down the White. Many fish were caught, lies rehashed, old jokes retold, and a "wee dram" consumed.
- Jeff Conrad
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Jim Williams (Boomer) with a 19" Smallmouth

Eric Simpson (El Padrino) with a popper fish

Bill Wheeler (Crawdaddy)

Can't you just hear the banjo music?

Ken Langell, me and Billy Wheeler in my raft "La Culona"

West Fork of the White River: 7/7/09
Patti Beasley and Duane Riddle of the Reel Women-Reel Men flyfishing club joined me in my new raft for a float of the upper White. We hit the water about 11am and by noon the topwater action was on with Dahlberg Divers drawing strikes in the shade. The anglers persistence earned them fish as we anchored up on holes and fished them hard with streamers and poppers. I'm always amazed how you cast to the same spot 20 times and on the 21st time a fish will smash the fly. I think Smallmouth are grumpy and just get tired of being hammered, so they attack. Fishing was pretty steady all day, with the usual afternoon lull, and then the evening "popper o'clock" bite. We got off the water about 9:30 after a fun and productive float.
- Jeff Conrad
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

My new raft: It's 14.5 ft long, 6.5 ft wide, with a custom fishing frame and hard floor.
The perfect flyfishing platform for our Indiana rivers.

6/29/09 thru 7/2/09
Dave's wife Brenda is a genius! For his 50th birthday present, she booked 4 days of guided flyfishing right here on his Indiana home waters. Monday I floated him on the upper White where we had a nice day and caught Smallmouth on every tactic we used. Tuesday he fished with Dean Shadley on the Whitewater in Brookville from the confluence to Cedar Grove. The water was still a bit high so they went back and forth between fly and spin fishing and caught several fish. Wednesday, we floated him on Sugar Creek for a day of topwater. He still has one more day that he is saving up.
- Jeff Conrad
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Dave on the Whitewater River with Dean Shadley

West Fork of the White River: 6/28/09
I had the pleasure of floating Bill and Wayne on the upper White. Even though we spent some time dodging canoe traffic, we had a very nice day and caught several fish. The winning fly of the day was the Nearnuff Sculpin in tan stripped slowly through the rock gardens. Fish also came to Clousers and a few to topwater later in the day.
- Jeff Conrad
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Bill with the first fish of the day at the boat ramp

Wayne with a topwater fish

Bill with one of several Smallmouth he caught on the Nearnuff

Brookville Tailwater: 6/24/09
Gage @ 3.36 and the water temperature was 64°. With the storms the last few weeks the USACE has been getting rid of excess water and levels have been too high for productive fishing. Levels are back to fishable and today was a drop day which is usually not the best fishing as the trout seem to turn off until they acclimate to the lower flow. I decided to get over during the week as the Brookville CanoeFest is happening on Friday and Saturday and the place is going to be packed with canoe races all day. Also, there is a Casting For Recovery fund raiser/fishing tournament sponsored by RWRM on Sunday, so the river will be busy. We arrived around 4pm to medium flows and gin clear water. These conditions can mean a hatch of some kind and we were hoping for a decent rise later towards evening. The first half hour brought two hold over browns on nymphs. I saw more than a few bugs on the water but the rise I was hoping for never really developed. The nymph fishing slowed for me as evening was coming on and with no fish rising I decided to give Jeff's Brookville Clouser a shot. I no more than tied it on and striped it thru the hole I had been nymphing for an hour without result, and bang went a stocker brown. Three cast later a strike and a miss. I continued to strip this little streamer and caught five more before dark. I had my best streamer fishing so far this season at the Tailwater.
- Ed Devine
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

West Fork of the White River: 6/24/09
Hot day! 93 but felt like 105! Noblesville guage reading 750cfs. Water temp around 72. Water clarity about 18". I floated 2 spin fishers today, Randy Wilson and his son Dr. Spencer Wilson. While I have little expertise with spintackle/tactics, they have serious skills, so we managed some fish in spite of a slow day on the water. We fished early... from 6:30 am until about 3pm. Rebel Craw's and Pop-R's took the majority of fish. Surprisingly, tumbling soft plastics through the rock gardens produced not a single fish. That's usually the killer tactic for spinfishers. Randy did pickup one fish on flyrod with my McJagger Popper. All in all, we had a really nice day away from the phones and email and caught 12-15 fish.
- Jeff Conrad
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Brookville Tailwater: 6/20/09
Spent the afternoon and evening fishing Brookville with Ed Devine and our buddy Todd Settle and enjoyed a special guest appearance from Dean Shadley. AS soon as we got wadered up and into position, the siren song began and the dam operator opened the gates to increase the flow from a gentle 250cfs to a daunting 1000cfs. That is normally the end of fishing as the water is just too fast and deep, but we all needed to slough off the week's stresses and just be near flowing water, so we each coped with the high water in our own ways. I put on my heaviest tungsten bead wooly bugger in light olive and fished straight upstream along the banks, managing to hook and land 4 browns between 12-14". Ed nymphed the edges and picked up some fish. Later we coverged downstream from the park to meet up with Dean and fished the deck hole, where Ed and Todd managed fish on nymphs and Dean excelled at landing an 18" sucker. We excused ourselves from the trout and headed off to The Hearthstone in Metamora for burgers and beers on the deck. Lovely day!

Brookville Tailwater: 6/12/09 - Trout juggling tournament (see pictures)
Gage @ 3.74 and water temperature was 61°. Dick (Shop Dawg) Skooglund and I had planned to get over to the Tail Water Friday afternoon but the rain scared me into thinking it would be unfishable by then. They had over an inch of rain that way and some pockets of over two inches so I knew there would be a blow out coming in the next couple of days. We headed over after work to see if we could get an evening of fishing in between storms. It worked out fairly well and we didn't get chased by thunder/lightning until we had fished for four hours or so. We fished longer than we drove so I considered it a success.

Brookville Tailwater: 6/6/09
Gage @ 3.37 dropped to 3.07. Jeff and I fished Alex, Austin, Cooper and Joe, four 14 year old boys that have started their own fly-fishing club. We had a great time fishing with these boys and were impressed with the flyfishing skills they have already mastered. Jeff took two of the boys one way and I took two the opposite. Two of the young men’s fathers accompanied them and fished on their own so as not to crowd out an area and give the boys the best opportunity at fish. We had a little bit of a caddis hatch in the morning and picked up a few fish on dries. Nymphing also worked as it usually does. About 10:00 a. m. the CORPS cut the flows by half and, as usual, the fishing slowed down. We moved and fished other spots, and picked up a fish here and there, hoping that they would turn again. We decided to stop for a bit to have some lunch and let the fish become acclimated to the new flow rate. The fathers joined us at lunch to swap lies and eat chicken dinners from the Dairy Cottage in Brookville (good food!). The break seemed to help. After lunch the fish started to rise sporadically and we picked up others with nymphs. All in all it was a magnificent sunny day with some great kids on a beautiful trout stream. Everyone caught fish, everyone had fun, everyone learned. We had some nice holdover browns and rainbows as well as stockers. At the end of the day we were figuring out exactly how we did and everyone had picked up at least three fish and one of the boys had picked up eight. Adding in the fathers' catches made a total of 23 fish for the day. We had a bunch of fun fishing these young men and were impressed with their fishing abilities, their passion for the sport and their focus and endurance to keep fishing even when the fishing got slow. It was nice to have the fathers (Ed & John) along accompanying their sons and friends and indulging them in this passion. I grew up with a trout stream no more than four miles from my house so it was a bit of a walk but it wasn’t any great hardship for me to get to trout. It is a little different here in central Indiana where trout fishing is more like a two hour drive. It is nice to see some creative thinking to indulge youths in the sport.
- Ed Devine
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Eddie and the boys after a long day of fishing

Ed comtemplating the Concrete Hole

John loafing

Brookville Tailwater: 6/3/09
Gage @ 3.37 and the water temperature was 62°. OK, so it rained today. I run a golf course and everyone knows that you can’t do that when it is chucking down rain. That is unless you want to go fishing that afternoon and you have to get a few things done before then. So I worked out in the pouring rain all morning and through lunch to get out a little early. Why because the flows have been steady for several days and conditions were perfect for trout fishing. There were some off and on rains at Brookville but the trout are already wet and I have a rain jacket. Todd Settle and I zipped over with high hopes and some trepidation as to whether the rains would cloud up the river. We got lucky and the rain hadn’t been as strong there, leaving the water as clear as you could hope for. The tailwater did not disappoint. After we figured out where the fish were hanging out at this flow we caught fish after fish. It almost got a little ridiculous at times, like when one of Todd’s flies came unraveled and he continued to fish the bare hook anyway. Believe it or not a nice hold over brown ate the bare hook. Not to say that a bare size 18 scud/worm hook was the fly of the day or anything but it was interesting to witness. As evening came the fish started to feed on top. Todd switched over to dries and started taking fish on top. I continued to nymph as it was working so well. We caught over 30 fish between us and most of them were hold over browns with a few rainbow stockies thrown in (photo above/below). Sorry I didn’t take many photos but when the fishing is hot and heavy sometimes taking photos gets forgotten until you are about to leave and it’s just about too dark to get a good photo anyway.

Eastern Streams: 6/1/09
The East Central Indiana streams are finally fishable again. My friend Trip Kellerher and I traveled to the East Fork of the Whitewater River today to try to pick up a few late season white bass. We fished the area near Liberty and only picked up two small whites; the run is definitely over for this year. Since we had a little time left we decided to fish for smallmouth in Fayette County in the Connersville area, after all it was on our way home. I started with a black wooly bugger but after seeing a 16” fish follow and refuse it twice I changed to a chartreuse and white Clouser. The 16” fish ate it on the next cast. I ended up catching three buster fish like the one in the photo and one about 12”. Not bad for a little over an hour of fishing. The waters are in near perfect shape except Big Flat Rock which is still running a little high and muddy. A couple of smallish fish did take a poke at a popper but I think top water is a week or two away.
Good Fishing!
- Dean

West Fork of the White River: 5/31/09
Temp: 67: Guage: 425: Visibility 12-15". Floated the upper White with my good friends Junior Burke and Todd Settle. We did the afternoon/evening float, hoping the river traffic would be down. Quite a bit of canoe/kayak traffic, but by about 5pm we had the river to ourselves. Judging by the slow fishing we experienced with 2 excellent anglers, I would say the post-spawn doldrums are upon us. Piscatorial post-partum depression. That said, we did manage several average fish (9-12") and 2 real nice ones (16"+). Most of the fish we caught were holding tight to wood cover, and the normally productive rock gardens we're not the hotspots they usually are. The flies that produced fish were my Baby Smallmouth pattern and 1/2 & 1/2's in olive/yellow/orange... in other words, large profile streamers. We did get some fish on Clousers, but visibility is still low after the recent rains, so the larger profile flies got more attention. I was happy to see lots of small fish of the 1-2 year class. Should mean good fishing for years to come! Although it felt like a topwater evening, nothing but Rock Bass ate our poppers. If you go out in the evenings TAKE BUG SPRAY! As soon as the sun dropped below the trees we were attacked by swarms of mosquitoes. I have never seen them this bad! I couldn't find my bug spray and we ended up wiping ourselves down with anti-bacterial wipes that contain alcohol, bleach and some other toxic crap to try to keep the bugs away from us. I'm afraid Todd, who was wearing shorts and a T-shirt got chewed up the worst. There goes his bikini modeling career.

This fish may not look that big until you consider that Junior is 6'7" and built like a Ford F-350.

Brookville Tailwater: 5/29/09
Gage @ 3.66 and water temp of 60°. Bopped over Friday for an evening fish. The CORPS had been adjusting flows all week and this was the best day so far this week as far as flows were concerned. With the rains as of late the discharge rates have been fluctuating and, although the river has been fishable, it isn't the best scenario for productive fishing. I got on the water late afternoon and was glad to see absolutely no one on the stretch I wanted to fish. Started with streamers as the water temperature was just about perfect for a good streamer night. I dedicated some time to this until I saw some fish working the bottom of the hole I had just run streamers through. I switched over to nymphing and the third pass through the hole I picked up a smaller hold over brown. Within an hour I had a nice holdover rainbow, that I fumbled and missed snapping a photo of, (good thing my camera is waterproof) and several others including the nice brown (that I managed not to fumble) photo below. I moved around a bit, checking spots to see where the fish are holding and picked up a few more fish here and there. I wanted to try a different spot where the new stockies have been hanging out just to see if they are still there. They are and they too were all too willing to eat what I had to offer. I like catching big fish more than numbers of fish but when you find a pod of newbie stockies you can catch five or ten to one holdover fish. That ain't all bad. It is a good way to end the day, or start one.
- Ed Devine
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

West Fork of the White River: 5/24/09 (Indy 500 day)
The first float in my new raft. Great boat... roomy, comfortable and stable. Enjoyed the company of Junior Burke and Mike Leonard. Even though the river was crowded with boats, canoes, bank fishermen and even swimmers, we managed to find 20-25 smallmouth. We were lazy and didn't resort to the sinktip lines and streamers which would have produced the most fish, but topwater was producing enough strikes (and some decent fish) that the guys enjoyed a really nice day of visual fishing. The most successful topwater flies were the McJagger Popper, Chartreuse Sneaky Pete, and the Todd's Wiggle Minnow. The White is dropping but it never clears as quickly as I would like. We had 12-18 inches of visibility. Water temp was 67 mid-day. We did see a very good sign in that there were lots of baby smallmouth present in the river.
- Jeff Conrad
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Brookville Tailwater: 5/23/09
I got over to the tailwater on Saturday after several weeks of unfavorable flows. The recent rains have had the Corps needing to get rid of some water from the reservoir. This has had the tailwater at flows up to and above five feet. This is no fun to fish and is down right dangerous to wade. All the larger streams close to home have had been blown out for the most part as well. It's a good thing the white bass have been running in smaller streams to keep me occupied or I may have gone completely bonkers. Anyway the annual stockings of Rainbows and Browns have been completed and they seem to be doing fine. I fished for several hours and the dozen or so fish I caught had full, fat bellies. It looks like they have figured out what the forage base is and are exploiting it. The Bows are an average of 12 to 14 inches and the browns are a bit smaller. I found fish in the usual spots and the not so usual as they haven't found all the hiding spots yet. With all the new stockies the fishing was a little easier than normal but that won't last long as these tailwater fish have to adjust to survive. It won't be long and they will get more selective as what flies they see as food. For now they are a still kind of dumb and it is a good time to learn. The fly you are using now is important but you can get away with a wider selection. It won't be long before the low water and educated fish will require that your technique and your fly selection be "spot on" to catch fish consistently.
- Ed Devine
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

West Fork of the White River: 5/13/09
I fished the upper White between rainstorms, just before the 2" deluge of rain smacked us last Wednesday night. The secret was to find a slow, deep hole adjacent to fast water. In just over 3 hours, I caught 30 smallmouth from the average 10" to a coupla nice 18". Another miscellaneous 40-50 fish included carp, rock bass, white crappie, black crappie and bluegill. A big carp snapped my 5wt, which was the only rod I had in the car when I stopped to fish. So, for the remainder of the trip I fished my new "5.5 ft, 8wt rod" thanks to the carp. Even after the rod broke I handlined him in. I couldn't get the 2x Rio flourocarbon tippet to break. Short, heavy Clousers in Chartreuse over White was the most eaten fly but other colors did produce fish as well.
- Jeff Conrad
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

18" smallie caught on the first 2 sections of the broken rod

A nice 17" White River smallmouth

Eastern Streams: 5/11/09
It appears that the main rivers are still somewhat high. This doesn’t mean you can’t fish you just have to go to the smaller tributary streams that clear first. The streams that we fished today average 15’ to 20’ in width. At this time of year you can catch some surprisingly large fish that have moved into the smaller streams to spawn. In the smaller streams the holes that hold fish may be yards or even miles apart but they are definitely worth looking for. It sure beats sitting on the couch waiting for the water to go down. We were fishing clousers, wooly buggers and crawfish patterns but all of the smallmouth were taken on white wooly buggers, one of my favorite patters for this time of year. As always sinktip lines helped us get our flies down to the fish. Practice your casting before you go because fishing the little streams is like casting in a closet.
- Dean Shadley
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

15" smallie taken on small southeastern Indiana stream

West Fork of the White River: Mother's Day 5/10/09
I snuck away for a few hours of wading yesterday on the upper White around Noblesville. The water was 60 degrees and still high and off-color. However, the the fish were very cooperative. In just over 1 hour I took 8-10 nice smallmouth (14-18), several average snallmouth (9-13), plus a bunch of crappy and rock bass. Since the water is off-color, bright flies drew more strikes than natural colors. Pardon the quality of these pictures. My digital camera took a plunge at Brookville a few weeks ago, so these photos came from my phone.

My new raft will hit the water for the first time this Thursday. Ed and I worked hard on customizing the frame and Junior Burke did a masterful job building the wood floor. The raft is an Aire 143E (14.5 ft long, 6.5 ft wide) with a custom NRS frame and hard floor. It has the advantages of a raft (durability, shallow draft, lightweight) with drift boat comfort... big and roomy with comfortable seat, leaning bars, hard floor, etc. After 11 years of float fishing I knew exactly what I wanted!
- Jeff Conrad
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

East Fork of the Whitewater River: 4/28/09
The white bass are on fire in the East Fork of the White Water River above Brookville Reservoir. As of today the river is in great shape and the whites are stacked up in the deeper holes. It wasn’t uncommon for us to catch fish on 9 out of 10 casts. Most of our fish were caught on a heavily weighted white Shadley Streamer; however any 2” white streamer should work. We were all fishing sink-tip lines and 4ft of 6lb mono for a leader. Strip fast and be sure to pause between strips. The run should last for at least another week or two.
- Dean Shadley
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Sugar Creek Fishing Report: 4/25/09
We enjoyed a "guides day out" floating about 6.5 miles of Sugar. This normally unfloatable section of Sugar was made somewhat accessible by high water, but the rowing is still very challenging and a durable boat is required. We floated in the Hog Island drift boat, which is nearly indestructible. Fishing was typical of Spring high water fishing... sinktip lines, big flies, and moments of great excitement followed by long stretches of repeated casting with no activity. Still a lovely day on the water and we landed 5 fish from 14" to 18.5".

The winning fly (of which we had only one) was a large, black Conrad Sculpin (email for pattern). Early in the float, Ed Devine switched to the "big ugly" and within the first 10-15 casts landed a 16" and 18.5" Smallmouth. It was clear that the dark profile and undulating motion of the fly was the trigger for the early season fish. I switched to a smaller black Conehead Wooly Sculpin and picked up a 14" fish out of some pocket water.
- Jeff Conrad
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Ed Devine with a 16" Sugar Creek Smallmouth - 4/25/09

An 18.5" Sugar Creek Smallmouth with a Conrad Sculpin stuck in its chops - 4/25/09

Brookville Tailwater Fishing Report: 4-16-09
Gage was at 3.8 and the water temperature was 52° F. The water was a touch high or on the upper end of the gage for comfortable wading and the water was as perfect a color as I would like to see. When we arrived around 5:00 pm, after a long day at work, we were excited to see the water so, "perfect!" We started fishing and in the first 20 min. we had both hooked and missed a couple of fish. Todd picked up one and landed it about 10 min. later and then it stopped. When I say stopped I mean stopped dead in in the water. We moved, switched tactics, switched back and tried pattern changes, all to no avail. We only had time to fish for a few hours... that's my excuse anyway. Had we had some more time before dark maybe we could have found them. I like to think you can learn something new every time you fish. I think today proved that sometimes no matter how perfect everything seems it just doesn't happen.
- Ed Devine
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Eastern Streams Fishing Report: Early Spring
Late march produced several smallmouth in my local rivers in Rush and Shelby counties. The pond fishing for large mouth was just beginning to pick up when the rains and cold weather returned and shut everything down. Pray for warm weather. I sampled the East Fork of Whitewater River above Brookville Reservoir for white bass in early April. They haven’t started up the river in any numbers as yet. Recent rains will both keep us out of the river and bring the fish upstream. If the rivers clear the white bass fishing should be good for a few weeks. As the water goes down begin looking for smallmouth in the tributary streams to the major rivers you commonly fish in the summer. You’ll be surprised at the size and quality of fish that will go upstream to spawn at this time of year. In addition the smaller streams will be the first ones to clear after this period of rain. I’ll keep you posted.
- Dean Shadley
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Brookville Tailwater Fishing Report: 4-8-09
Wednesday 4/8. The river was running at 3.3 on the guage (about 200 cfs at the current guage calibration) and the water temp was around 46 degrees. We started in the park at about 5pm and Ed picked up 4 fish at the top of the park in the first 20 minutes, but that's Ed... he does that all of the time! The fish were caught on a small hare's ear on a 2 fly rig under an indicator. I was fishing the middle of the park in the normal deep runs against the east bank and couldn't buy a strike. We moved on upstream and I switched to a streamer (Brookville Clouser - email me for the pattern), which took a 14" brown immediately. We found feeding fish only in the heads of pools immediately downstream of riffles. There were clouds of midges everywhere and fluttering caddis, but surface activity was sparse except for the large carp that came up right next to me and grabbed a caddis (practically out of my pocket). All in all, fishing was slow but we did manage to pick up the occasional fish and get away from the never-ending barrage of phone calls and emails. Nice day.
- Jeff Conrad
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Flatrock River Fishing Report: 3-28-09
Dean Shadley and I waded a coupla miles of the Flatrock River south of Rushville. It's a beautiful river with some "float your hat" holes, but the wading and casting can be challenging. The river often has high banks on both sides and that causes deep runs down the middle. Lots of roll casting. But the Smallmouth were gorgeous! They were awake and eating but still hanging out in their wintering holes, so we only found them in 6-8 feet of water. We picked up 12 or 13 of them between us but forget the camera, so you'll have to believe us. The fish came to chart/white Clousers, white Wolly Buggers, and my new crawdad tube fly design, the "TubeDad". Holler if you would like tying instructions. Dean was fishing a sinktip line/short leader rig. I was fishing a floating line/long leader/heavy fly rig. Each setup has it's challenges in tight cover: Sinktips can be hard to roll cast, but roll casting a floating line with a long leader and heavy fly can cause the fly to swing wildly and sometimes get caught in overhangs and bankside brush. All in all, on my next early season Flatrock trip I'll go with a sinking 5' mini-head on my 5wt to sorta split the difference. Live and learn. If you haven't seen these eastern streams (which few have), I can highly recommend checking them out with Dean. He has been fishing these streams for over 40 years and was born either in or near them! Call him at 765-969-0643 to book an "Eastern Tour Wade Trip" or a float trip on the West Fork of the Whitewater near Brookville.
- Jeff Conrad
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Brookville Tailwater Fishing Report: 3-21-09
Gage @ 2.8 and water temperature of 50° F. Got on the stream early when it was a brisk 30° F. Todd Settle, Mike Baun and myself ran over for a day of trout fishing. The Corps is building the lake to summer pool so we expected minimum flow... low and clear water. We started out nymphing and picked up a few on the standard fair. We had noticed midge activity in the air, and as the day warmed the midges got thicker. I took Mike upstream for a go at another spot as Todd stayed behind to continue where we had started. Then it started happening... a pod of fish started purposing on the far bank. Looking into the water you could see a flotilla of midge pupa passing by. Assuming that the same thing was happening down steam and not wanting to be out done by "Todd the midge king", we tied midge pupa flies on. One fish was caught, two fish and then a third. I was thinking I should call Todd on the cell and let him know what was going on. Then my cell rang instead and it was Todd saying that we may want to return cause he had some fish on top eating midges. After a short discussion he confirmed that he had three pods of fish and we had one. He had picked up four fish and we three. After some time had passed the rise died off at our location and being the greedy sods that we are we headed back to Todd's location to horn in on his fish. The several pods he had been working died to one and he graciously allowed Mike a turn at them. After several hook ups and long distance releases Mike landed a nice 15'' hold over Rainbow. The hatch lasted less than two hours and 11 of the 16 fish we caught came during that time. We went back to nymphing and watching for another hatch of some kind but nothing else developed. It was a fun day to be on the water if you had the right fly. The Tail water doesn't have a bunch of hatches or even one reliable one but if you are there on the right day it sure can be fun.
- Ed Devine:
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

White River "Chainsaw Float" 3-14-09:
Ed Devine, Ben Shadley and I floated the White above Noblesville yesterday to make sure there were no deadfalls blocking the river and to see how it looks after the Winter floods. The river is in great shape. The water was "Steelhead Green" with a few feet of visibility. Some old stuff has been moved out of the way to re-expose great holes, and some new stuff is in the river, but no blockages. It seems that the high water this Winter washed some of the silt from last year downstream... sorry New Orleans. Cross your fingers that we don't get any torrential Spring rains, at least until the crops are in the fields to curb the run-off. If we escape that we should have a very nice fishing season. Of course, while we floated looking for river obstructions, a line or two got wet. The water temp was 43˚, the air temp hovered under 50˚, the sun tried to shine but failed, and the Smallmouth forgot to take their anti-depressants. We didn't even see and Carp rolling or porpoising like I had while wading on Saturday 3/7. Apparently, last weeks cold temps set Spring progress back a bit. We anchored up on big holes and bounced the bottom with small ugly stuff... we anchored up next to deep runs and stripped streamers large and small on sinktips at an agonizingly slow pace, but to no avail. FYI: The Noblesville stream flow gauge was at around 650cfs.
- Jeff Conrad:
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Brookville Tailwater Fishing Report: 2-28-09
The weather was a bit brutal in Brookville! It was windy and temps ranged from 26° to 31°, so cold hands & feet, windburned faces and ice in the guides were constant companions. The water temp was 38° and the gage was at 3.97, which is wadeable but the river is very "persistent" and good drifts are over pretty quickly. But we went anyway, because it was a special day... the 50th birthday of our dear friend "Crawfish Bill" Wheeler (Crawdaddy). We were charged with the task of keeping him busy for the day while his family put together a surprise party for that evening.

We arrived about 9am to a beautiful, Steelhead green river. We were the only people there (duh) so we setup in the Park and Ed Devine proceeded to fish like a damn heron, landing 2 fish in the first 20 minutes; a 15" brown and 19" brown. Man were they fat! Ed was breaking in his new custom built Sage Z-Axis 10ft, 5wt. It's a great rod... powerful but still has a great feel, mends well and even roll casts, which is usually not the case with the new "high-speed cannons" that most rod manufacturers produce.

We fished until about 3pm, and athough the fishing was spotty and the fish we did catch were a bit sluggish, it was a whole lot better than stripping the wallpaper in my kitchen!

And man was Crawdaddy surprised that night! Ed and I said goodbye to him at Brookville around 3pm and were sitting in his in-laws house in Carmel at 6:30 when he walked through the door. He looked at us like we'd shot his dog. Betrayal! Et tu, Eddie? We had a nice evening hanging with the Wheeler clan, enjoyed a few tequilas, and got to see the surprise on Billy's face when his wife Pam told him that his birthday present is a week in Montana hunting elk this September. I bet he takes a fly rod, too.
- Jeff Conrad:
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

Brookville Tailwater Fishing Report: 2-21-09
Gage @ 3.53. Water temp 38° F. 34° high. Snow. Gusty winds.
The recent rains have meant some high discharge rates from the dam but the tailwater has settled back down to fishable levels. It was good to see that the recent high discharges cleaned the stream bed of a lot of the silt that remained from last season. Todd Settle and I managed some nice fish including this 22 + inch healthy Brown. One thing you need to remember is the water that is released from the reservoir is colder in summer and warmer in the winter than surrounding streams. This is the reason we can have trout in southern Indiana. When warmwater fish in other Indiana rivers are hunkered down waiting out the winter (with their metabolism operating at 20% efficiency), the trout in Tail Water are awake and feeding. Winter can produce some big fish at Brookville if you are prepared to deal with a little cold weather.
- Ed Devine:
Indiana Flyfishing Guides

22" Brown Trout - caught 2/21/09

Back to current fishing reports

See 2009 fishing reports