03/17/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3.    Little Brown Stoneflies
4.    Quill Gordons
5.    Blue Quills
6.    Little Black Caddis


The Basics of Fly Fishing Series - Types of Trout Streams
Before I get started, please be advised that although there will be a lot of general
information that pertains to fly fishing all types of water and for different species of
fish,
this series is intended specifically for fly fishing the streams of Great
Smoky Mountains National Park for trout.
There are many other streams that
are located in the same general area of the Appalachian Mountains that will fit some
of the information provided very well. There are many other streams located in other
parts of the country that will fit some of the information provided very well. However,
for you to understand what it fits and doesn't fit, requires that you know a little about
the different types of water that trout exist in.

You can begin by distinguishing the different types of water that trout exist in by
putting it in one of two categories -
still water or streams. When trout anglers refer
to still water they are referring to water in lakes and ponds as opposed to water in
creeks and rivers.

A trout streams can consist of three different basic types of water -
freestone
streams, spring creeks and tailwaters
.

Freestone Stream:
A freestone stream gets its water from rain or melting snow. As gravity forces the
droplets of water from rain or melting snow to seep through the crevices of rocks,
soil and other organic matter, they combine into small trickles of water. Some of this
water stays on the surface and some sinks into the ground to later emerge as tiny
springs. These trickles eventually collide and become larger and larger, forming tiny
streams that you can step across. I call these branches.

The tiny streams (branches) eventually join other tiny steams to form larger ones.
These tiny streams are made larger along the way by many other trickles of water
and eventually become streams that are large enough to be named and shown on
maps. As long as they are not dammed or do not merge with another larger,
different type of stream, they remain a freestone stream.

Freestone streams can become very large rivers. The Yellowstone River is the
longest freestone stream in the United States. This basically means there aren't any
dams along its course.
All the streams in GSMNP are freestone streams.

The uppermost parts of these freestone streams are called "headwater" streams or
the "head" of the stream. I refer to all of the streams in GSMNP as headwater
streams. They get larger outside of the park and eventually either combine with
other streams and become larger streams or rivers, or they are dammed and
become lakes.

Tailwaters and Spring Creeks:
Just to distinguish them from a freestone stream, you should also know that a
tailwater is a term used by anglers to describe a stream or river below a dam. It's
different from a freestone stream basically because the water comes from a lake or
reservoir and either through or over a dam. Although its flows are an indirect
consequence of Mother Nature, unlike a freestone stream, they are controlled by
man. Man and computers regulate the flows or discharges from the dams. For
example, the water below Cherokee Lake located on the North Carolina side of the
Smokies is a tailwater, not a freestone stream.

A
spring creek is a creek or stream that begins from an underground body of
water. Many of these are called Limestone Spring Creeks because they flow
underground through limestone rock. Penns Creek in Pennsylvania and Silver
Creek in Idaho are both spring creeks.

Just so you know, some streams can be a combination of these different types of
water. A freestone stream can join a spring creek. If the spring creek is the tributary
stream, it most likely would still be referred to as a freestone stream even though it
contained the water of a spring creek. Most larger spring creeks have smaller
tributary freestone streams that combine with them downstream of their origination.
In that case the main stream would still be referred to as a spring creek.

A tailwater stream can have a downstream, freestone stream tributary. It would still
be a tailwater stream in that case. If a tailwater stream flowed into a larger freestone
stream, and was considered the tributary stream, the main stream below that point
would still be called a freestone stream even though it contained the water of
tailwater stream. If a spring creek tributary joined in on the flow, it would still be
called a freestone stream even though it contained a tailwater stream and water
from a spring creek. An example of this is the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in
Idaho. It has water from all three of the different types of streams.  

It's important for you to know this because these different types of water are very
different from each other with regards to how you go about fishing them. They have
different types of flows, water chemistry, and food for their trout. The methods of
fishing varies depending on the type of stream your fishing.

Again, in GSMNP, we are only dealing with freestone streams. The amount of
rain and melting snow is in direct proportion to the amount of water in the stream.
The streams can be high, with very strong current and even flooded. They can also
be very low, and flowing slow with little water.
It all depends on Mother Nature.

When it comes to how you fish freestone streams, my favorite saying is "you have to
go with the flow". That simple means the methods and tactics you use to catch trout
in freestone streams varies greatly with the amount of water in the stream.


Down and Dirty  (some are clean) Tips and Recommendations for Fly
Fishing Destinations - Part 38
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.

Continued

2011 James Marsh