04/18/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Blue Quills
3.    Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
4.    Little Brown Stoneflies
5.    Hendricksons and the Red Quills
6.    Streamers
7.    Little Short-horned Sedges
8.    American March Browns


Going With The Flow
One of my favorite sayings about freestone streams is that "you've got to go with
the flow". If your planning on fishing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
anytime soon, that's exactly what your going to have to do.

You will hear various opinions about fishing high water levels. Some anglers like
the water above normal and some don't. Some anglers don't mind wading swift,
strong currents and some do. Some anglers are very careful wading and some
aren't.

I've always said wading swift water is a great way to pull off an insurance scam.
For example, If you think your near the point you may not live much longer, and
you have a huge insurance policy you want your family to collect on, but it's a
term policy with an expiration date that you may outlive, you can commit suicide
without anyone (on earth) ever knowing it. Just forget to wear your wading belt,
step in some deep, fast water, ask forgiveness, (I'm not saying you'll get it but you
can ask for it) and take a step or two. Hypothermia may set in while your lungs
are filling up, but they say the third stage of hypothermia is that you will feel warm
and comfortable, so it probably want be too bad. The end result is it will be called
an accident and the policy will have to pay.

In all seriousness, if your fairly new at this, or you've been doing it a long time but
you're fairly stupid, please remember the "knee deep" rule. Don't wade water
that's over your knees and you will probably be okay.

Remember, to keep your wader belt tight. If you fall in and water gets inside your
waders, they will quickly turn into your worst enemy. Water weights about 64
pounds a gallon, if I remember right. It won't take but a few seconds for you to be
unable to get back in an upright position. A tight wading belt will keep most of the
waders from filling up with water, and this may save your life.

The guides and fly shops will probably hate me for bringing out the danger at this
time of the year they need and expect plenty of business, but so be it. I'm not
trying to talk anyone out of fishing. I am reminding them to be careful. Anglers
drown every year from wading. What a shame. Fly fishing should be fun, not the
end of your life. Please be careful.

Conditions are and should continue to improve. The streams are dropping faster
than I though they would with the very high water table we have inside the park
and the nearby streams. All in all, the park came out in great shape. There was
no serious flooding and no loss of life that I'm aware of. The same thing cannot
be said of many areas of North Carolina, outside of the park. Everyone should be
thankful. Tornadoes have always scared me. I went though one in a bass boat at
Sante Cooper Lake in South Carolina many years ago. I also had one cross  less
than a quarter of a mile from me on Smith Lake Alabama. It cut down trees that
after it passed, looked as if a new 4 lane highway was being built. Smith Lake is
made up mostly of small streams and isn't a wide open type of lake. This one
mowed down trees on both side of the little cove I was fishing in, like a lawnmower
cuts grass. I was in a 14 foot aluminum john boat fishing for spotted bass. I will
assure anyone that hasn't had a close call with a tornado, that once you do, you
will always be afraid of them. They are incredible.

Back to the stream conditions we have, there is one good thing about the higher
than normal stream levels. It's much easier to fool the fish into taking your fly. You
can usually make some very poor presentations and still catch a few trout. The
trout are much easier to fool in high, fast water than they are in low, slower
moving water. Anytime the water is high, it is also flowing faster than normal. The
two things go together as the stream flow data for any stream indicates.

The reason is simple. The shorter time a trout has to see a fly, the easier they
are to fool. Fast water doesn't give them much time to examine a fly. It takes away
most of the challenge into fooling trout. The challenge is just getting around in
the water to where you can cast. Personally, I don't like high water but I learned
many years ago, to be a successful angler, you have to learn to adapt to all and
any type of conditions. That's all just a part of the fun and enjoyment for me.

Eastern Green Drakes and more, continued tomorrow. .

2011 James Marsh