Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2 . Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3. Little Winter Stoneflies
4. Quill Gordons
5. Blue Quills
6. Little Black Caddis
Now that I have the Miami Boat Show out of the way, I can again focus on some
current conditions in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I will also continue
adding streams to finish the destination series.
On the way to the airport Wednesday, I noticed I was far off on the snow predictions
I had previously made. I predicted a couple of days prior to that time that the snow
in the mountains would be melted within a day or two but that was not the case. The
mountains still had a lot of the white stuff from about the 4500 foot level up to the
peaks. That's a guess at the elevation and although the snow had probably melted
off the trees, there was still plenty of it on the ground.
I checked the park's website Thursday night from my hotel room and noticed they
still showed a foot of snow at Mt. LeConte and four inches at Newfound Gap. I do
not know what the current situation is. They still show eleven inches on LeConte but
none at the pass. I have not been able to see the mountains since returning late
yesterday, but I do know the melting snow had to have helped keep the water cool,
at least to some extent, for a longer time than I anticipated
Emerging Quill Gordons:
I did check several websites and blogs two or three days ago. .Although I noticed a
couple of comments that Quill Gordons were already hatching, I wouldn't get bent
out of shape about that, whether it's true or not. Although they are almost rare,
there's usually a very few Brown Duns (Ameletus species) that appear along the
streams at this time of the year. Many anglers take them for Quill Gordons. These
mayflies hatch after crawling out of the water and the duns are not available for the
trout to eat. I have never seen a spinner fall during the day, so I assume the very
few that do exist in the Smokies deposit their eggs during at night.
What I did notice that always comes up at this time each year, were comments that
the mayflies were starting to hatch but the trout were not eating them. I certainly
don't buy that. I guess some guys have some highly sophisticated skills or
equipment that lets them see what goes on underneath the surface of the water
throughout the streams. You will also usually hear the phrase "the trout aren't
looking up". This should be interpreted to mean the trout are not eating the duns
from the surface of the water. Trout have no choice but to look up all the time as
well as down, forward and to their sides. If all one cares about is fishing a dry fly,
that's understandably important even though I doubt it's one-hundred percent
accurate. You can usually get some action from the surface but it may be very little.
I often go to the dry fly before the trout are feeding on the surface very well, but I do
so knowing the odds would be much greater if I fished a nymph or imitation of what I
call the "wet dun".
When the water is still bordering around the 50 degree mark, it's very
common for the trout not to feed aggressively on the surface. Although they
usually do to a some extent, they certainly don't have to. With little effort they can
eat all the emerging nymphs they want to eat below the surface. They can also eat
all the newly emerged duns they want to eat below the surface because the Quill
Gordon nymphs hatch on the bottom, or at some point below the surface, not on the
Even when the trout are eating them from the surface very well, there are probably
still far more being eaten below the surface. Fishing an imitation of the wet duns,
meaning the duns before they reach the surface and dry their wings, will always
outproduce a dry fly imitation of the dun. I usually go to the dry fly but not because I
think I will catch more trout that way. It's just more fun. Fishing a wet fly that imitates
the dun, in the right areas of the stream I should add, is always more productive.
When the water is still a little cold, it's by far your best bet from a numbers
This is our "Perfect Fly" imitation of the Quill Gordon dun (Wet Dun) before it dries
its wings. Please don't take this as just a pitch to sell flies. It isn't. I'm just trying to
explain why you will often see Quill Gordon mayflies riding the surface of the water
and the trout not appearing to pay them much attention. This is especially true when
the water is bordering around the fifty degree mark. The warmer the water, the
better the trout will eat the duns from the surface because the trout will be more
Our Perfect Fly Wet Dun has a biot body with a deer hair strapped back that's
secured with fine gold wire. That's small gold colored wire, not real gold wire. I want
to make sure someone doesn't attempt to buy us out for investment purposes.
Down and Dirty (some are clean) Tips and Recommendations for Fly
Fishing Destinations - Part 23
Just keep in mind that it is strictly one opinion that happens to be mine. The intent is to hopefully
give those interested a general idea of what to expect. Most likely every guide, affiliated business
entity and local angler will have a different opinion. These streams also have full coverage on our
Perfect Fly Stream Section.
Boulder River Montana
This stream is one of Montana's sleepers. It's a great, freestone pocket water
stream that few anglers fish because of its proximity to Yellowstone National Park. It
flows northward from the Absoraka-Beartooth Wilderness in the Gallatin National
Forest just outside of the park and on into the Yellowstone River. As with most any
small headwater stream, the trout are smaller in its upper sections but eighteen inch
trout are not uncommon in the lower sections.
I give this fine trout stream an "A" minus rating but the minus is there only because it
flows through quite a bit of private property. As I have said before, in a way this is
unfair, because the stream has plenty of access and water the public can fish.
Plenty of access in Montana means miles of access. It can be fished by wading or
from a drift boat below its East Fork confluence. Most of the trout in the upper
sections are native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. The lower sections have a mixture of
cutts, brown and rainbow trout. Check out the Boulder River.
Gros Ventre River Wyoming
This is a beautiful stream that begins in a very rugged part of Wyoming and flows to
the Snake River with the Teton Mountains in the background. It's located not far
from Jackson, and flows into the Snake River south of Teton National Park. The
river has a very diverse trout fishery from meandering meadow streams to fast,
pocket water sections.
The Gros Ventre River's trout are native Fine Spotted Snake River Cutthroat Trout.
There's also plenty of wild brook trout. Some of the cutts go up to 16 inches but
most of them are around 12 inches.
It's in the same situation as the Boulder River above, meaning it has some long
private property sections, but again, there's ample public access to most all of its
water. That's the only reason, and probably an unfair one, that I add a minus to its
"A" rating. Check out the Gros Ventre River.
Copyright 2011 James Marsh