10/21/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Little Yellow Quills (
Heptagenia Group)
3.    Needle Stoneflies
4     Slate Drakes
5     Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
6.    Grasshoppers
7.    Ants
8.    Beetles
9  .  Craneflies
10.  Great Brown Autumn Sedge


Some Basic Information For Those New To "Fly Fishing for
Trout in Tailwaters" - Stream Flow & Water Temperature

It's sometimes difficult for anglers to envision the variations in environmental
conditions of the underwater world of trout located in streams below dams, commonly
referred to as tailwaters. I like to think of the affects of different current flows on trout
as being somewhat similar to the affect wind has on us human beings.

In the outdoor world, we are accustomed to constantly making alterations in just about
everything we go about doing as the velocity of the wind changes. Try to imagine what
only a slight change in current (which is much, much heavier than air) has on fish.
Just a slight change in the rate of flow of a stream can change the manner, time and
location trout feed.

It's logical for us to assume that trout will feed the most when it's the easiest for them
to do so. If you study the behavior of tailwater trout, it becomes very evident that
changes in stream flow, even slight changes, directly effect the times the trout choose
to feed. An increase in the flow of current from a still or very slow rate, to a faster rate,
can disorient crustaceans, and baitfish. It actually make it easier for the trout to feed
on them. It's easier for trout to lie in wait for food to come to them in the current than it
is for them to search and seek out their food in still water.

When trout tend to feed varies with the particular tailwater fishery. Most all of them are
different in some respect. Many of them are greatly different from others. I'm not just
referring to TVA lakes near the Smoky Mountains. I'm referring to tailwaters nation
wide. In many cases, especially if there aren't any aquatic insect hatches occurring,
trout won't feed at all when the current is minimum or non-existent. In some tail-waters
they wait until the generators are turned on and there's a discharge of current before
they begin to feed to any appreciable extent. This is particularly true during the
warmer months of the year where power companies typically generate electricity
during the early afternoons when the demand is the greatest. It's far less true and
sometimes not even a factor is very cold water.

During the warmer months, trout can become acclimated to routinely feeding during
those times. This doesn't apply to all tailwaters because some discharge very cold
water from the depths of the lake. In other tailwaters where the depths are not so
great above the dam, the normal rate of discharge of water released from the dam is
ideal for the trout to feed. In these cases, when the discharge rates are increased
dramatically, trout seek protection from the strong currents and catching them on the
fly can be tough.  

Don't even think about fly fishing for trout in any tailwater without first checking on the
existing and anticipated rates of flow, or amount of water being discharged below the
dam at the time you plan to fish. This information, compared to what is normal for the
stream, will provide you the basic information you need in order to evaluate where  
you can best fish the tailwater, how you can fish the tail-water (from the bank, wading
or by boat); and when you should fish the tail-water for the best results.

If you begin to fish a tailwater regularly, keep a record or diary of the stream flow
conditions for that particular tailwater. Note how the current and temperature of the
water being discharged relates to your success. Over a period of time, this
information will help you evaluate the stream conditions for any given future time and
date so that you can get a better idea of what to do and what to expect. Experienced
anglers that have fished a given tailwater regularily over a long period of time, have
this registered in their heads When you start out fishing a tailwater, will find just
keeping track of this basic information about the stream conditions throughout the
year will come in very handy.

Unfortunately, these tips represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fishing
for tailwater trout.  There's much more too it and it's best to create a much larger data
base, jotting down all the other variables if you really want to get serious about it.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh