Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Little BWOs)
2. Mahogany Duns
3. Little Yellow Quills (Heptagenia Group)
4. Little Yellow Stoneflies
5. Needle Stoneflies
6. Slate Drakes
7. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
12. Great Brown Autumn Sedge
Presentations In Low, Clear Water
As mentioned at the end of yesterday's article, I intended to write about the
importance of using curved, pile, reach and other "crooked" cast under the current
low water conditions we are experiencing in the Smokies. Maybe by doing so today, it
will rain and lessen the importance of these cast as well as my article. That's fine with
me. It's been dry long enough.
The reason these "crooked" cast become even more important than they normally are
is that when you make a straight-line cast directly upstream to the location a fish
should be holding, your tippet, leader and maybe even your fly line will have to land
across the top of the fish in order for the fly to drift back over it. In low clear water, the
tippet and leader landing over the fish can easily spook it.
If the fish is in broken water with conflicting currents, and the fly line, leader and tippet
lands in a straight line over the fish, the fly will instantly drag. This is even worse. If
you attempt to mend the fly line, you will create an even bigger disturbance that may
spook the trout. If you make an up and across presentation to the fish, the same
problem occurs. Without slack line, the fly will drag and the line will have to be
The ideal presentation is for the tippet to curve to the left or right of the fly
line, so that the fly will drift over the fish without the leader and tippet
having to land on top of it and drift directly over it. The main part of the leader
and fly line should land two to four feet to the left or right of the fish, depending on the
type of "crooked" presentation you make.
Under the current clear, low water conditions, if your not making good, 'crooked"
presentations (curve cast, pile cast, reach cast, etc.) to the trout, your probably not
catching many trout. By the way, these types of presentations are superior to cast
that land on the water in a straight line, even under normal stream level conditions.
In case you missed yesterday's article, I will repeat the tips part of it.
1. When you make the typical short cast anglers normally make fishing the small streams of the
Smokies, you're within close proximity of the fish. With the low water, even if your fishing the plunges
and riffles, much of the time your in danger of being spotted by the trout. Unless you are lucky
enough to be able to hide behind a boulder or other cover near the trout, longer cast are needed
under the low water conditions. Now, I'm not suggesting long cast. What I mean is cast of twenty
to thirty feet may be needed instead of fifteen foot cast that work in much higher, faster stream
2. Although we found some very good hatches of Little Yellow Quills both Friday and Saturday, as
well as some Needle Stoneflies, there are relatively few hatches taking place in the low elevations. I
think the warm trend is affecting the BWO and Mahogany Dun hatches. When there are few
hatches taking place, you need to stick with nymphs or larvae imitations. To many anglers want
to catch trout on the dry fly, including me, when the fish are mostly feeding on the bottom. As I have
been suggesting in the most recent Stream Strategies series, stick with nymphs if you want to raise
your catch ratio until something is hatching. You will double or triple your catch.
3. It doesn't take a hatch for fly patterns to become important. Thinking it does, indicates a
complete, total lack of understanding about aquatic insects and the trout that survive on them, to put
it nicely. That's much better than saying it's stupid to think otherwise, now isn't it? A typical aquatic
insect spends a few minutes of its usual one year life span hatching and the other 364 days plus, in
the larval stage of life. Trout can see nymphs much better than a hatching insect on the surface
of the water. How well the particular fly pattern you use to match the nymphs and larvae is more
important than any dry fly pattern. This is the single most misunderstood this about fly patterns.
Anglers confuse hatches with fly pattern importance.
4. The fewer the number of grown aquatic insects in a given stream at a given time, the more
important the fly pattern is. Right now the insect population of fully grown nymphs and larvae is
low. There will be fewer grown insects in the water from now to early next year than any other time of
the year. The generics flies work far less than they normally do when there are a lot of different
insects in the water because they don't match any particular insect well at all.
5. The low water also flows slower and makes the fly pattern even more important simply
because the trout can see the fly much better in slower moving water. The fly you use now,
should closely match the nymphs most available and plentiful at this particular time. Those are
listed above. The problem is, the generic flies, tied overseas by people that have never seen an
aquatic insect, that are sold by the fly shops don't imitate anything very well. This includes those
sold by the so called, highest quality fly shops in the nation.
I still didn't get to writing about Friday and Saturday's short fishing trips, but I will do so
for tomorrow's article as a part of the "new fly fishing strategy series".
Copyright 2011 James Marsh