Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2. Little Yellow Quills (Heptagenia Group) (slight chance)
3. Needle Stoneflies (slight chance)
4 Great Brown Autumn Sedge (slight chance)
6. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fishing Streamers In The Smokies - Part Four
I've already mentioned that it isn't natural for a baitfish or minnow to swim right up to a large trout. In
fact, it may even tend to spook them. When your retrieving or drifting a streamer downstream
towards a trout holding in the current, you are imitating a small forage fish doing just that. If your
trying to imitate a minnow or baitfish, this isn't a good way to do it.
I also pointed out that when this occurs, the trout sees the baifish or minnow imitation in a head on
view. It doesn't see the side profile of the fly. If you look at most minnow imitations, they are thin in
profile and from a front view, most of them don't resemble a baitfish very well at all. It's much better if
the trout get a side view or the fly.
It also isn't natural for a small baitfish or minnow to flee from a trout into the current. They instinctively
know it's much easier for them to swim with or parallel to the current than against it. That simple
means retrieving a fly that imitates as small forage fish upstream isn't a good idea. When confronted
by a trout, baitfish and minnows always dart away for the nearest cover in a direction that isn't
directly against the current. You want your streamer fly imitation to do the same thing.
The problem with what I've written so far is that in order to imitate a forage fish fleeing from a trout
the way it actually occurs in nature, you need to know exactly where the trout are holding. You can't
make a streamer fly flee from a trout unless you know where the trout is positioned. Irregardless of
the method of fly fishing your using, it's always best to know where trout are holding; however, in a
case where your drifting flies downstream that imitate aquatic insects, you have the advantage of
covering water the entire length of the drift. When your imitating a minnow feeing from a trout, unless
you know where trout are holding, you're most likely waisting a lot of effort without a trout ever seeing
the fly. That said, it's also a fact that In some cases, it may be necessary to make a lot of cast to put
the fly in the right position to imitate fleeing forage fish. In some situations, it just isn't possible to
identify an exact location a trout may be holding. In these situations, it's always best to at least have
a good idea as to the general area the trout are holding in. If you don't, your going to need a lot of
luck or otherwise, need to make a lot of cast to catch many fish. The only way to increase your odds
of hooking fish with fewer cast is to keep the fly in the general area the trout are holding in. That
requires a lot more knowledge than it's possible to cover in an article on streamer fishing. That's the
most important element of any type of fishing - finding the fish. What I can do, is point out some
general types of situations where streamers can be effective.
Keep in mind that in the freestone streams of the Smokies, it's always better to fish streamers in low
light situations. On clear days, fishing them early in the mornings and late in the afternoons is better
than fishing them in the middle of the day. Fishing them on dark, heavy overcast days is better than
fishing them under bright blue-bird sky conditions. Fishing them in stained, off-colored water (as long
as it's not pure mud) is usually better than fishing them in clear water conditions. These are just
general things to keep in mind that most of you are already aware of.
One specific case where you can pinpoint the location of a trout is where you actually see a trout
chasing minnows. This sometimes happens in the Smokies in high off-colored water. In some
tailwaters, it's fairly common to spot trout chasing forage fish. Large brown trout will come out from
their normal daytime hiding places under these conditions and use stained water to their advantage.
Rainbows will chase baitfish and your fly in much shallower water if it's stained than they will in clear
water conditions. Whenever you see a trout chasing baitfish or minnows, you need to cast a streamer
in the area as quickly as possible. You want to make a very erratic retrieve in this case. Don't let the
fly just drift along the area. Try to make it appear that it's fleeing from the area you think the trout is
feeding in. The problem with this is it doesn't happen near the surface of the water where it is visible
as often as you would like for it to happen. Most of the time it's necessary for you to determine where
the trout or a trout may be holding in order to increase your odds of success.
If your just covering a lot of open water casting your arm off, you may get tired of casting before you
cross your streamer in front of a trout in an ideal manner. If you have a good idea of a general
area where trout may be holding, usually the best way to cover it is to use a down and across
presentation fishing the streamer on the swing. Since the trout are looking upstream for food, this
presents your fly in a side profile view to the trout. Cast it slightly down and across the current and
mend your fly line to get it down to the depth you think the trout are holding. Let the line tighten up
and swing around. Add short, erratic action to the fly by holding the fly line in your non-rod hand
making short strips. You don't necessarily have to strip the line in on the reel or in coils. The current
will pull it back tight when you strip the line in a few inches. The idea is to make the fly appear to be
alive and not just dead drifting. When the fly is directly downstream of your position, by moving the tip
of your fly rod across the stream in the opposite direction of your cast, you can cover more water.
Just continue to add movement to the fly.
As mentioned above, the best way to fish a streamer imitating a baitfish or minnow is to
make the fly appear it is trying to escape from the fish your are targeting. To do this
efficiently, you need to know exactly where a large fish is most likely holding. In the Smokies, this isn't
as difficult as you may think it is.
During the day, under normal water conditions, the larger brown trout are almost always
hiding under a rock, boulder and in some areas, undercut banks. The more you know about
the layout and underwater topography of the stream, the better off you are.
After you have fished a stream a few times, it's possible to be able to identify most all of the likely
holding areas. This is especially true if you have fished the stream under low water conditions and
you know where the holes and crevices beneath the rocks and boulders are. It also helps you identify
undercut banks that during normal water levels aren't visible. Anglers that fish the streams often,
usually have mental pictures of the brown trout's likely holding areas. Typically, within a given
hundred yard stretch of a stream such as Hazel Creek, Deep Creek or Little River, for example, there
will be only a very few places, usually less than a half dozen, that the larger brown trout will likely
hold. I know local anglers that have caught larger brown trout out of the same spots for years.
Even if you have never fished the streams before, it's possible to eliminate most areas of a stream by
simply observing the water. Polarized glasses are a big aid in helping you identify these hiding spots.
These hiding spots are not usually out in the middle of a deep pool, in the flat areas of the pool
tailouts, or in shallow riffles. Although it's possible a likely location exist in these types of areas, it's far
more likely that a large brown would be holding under in a crevice or hole beneath a large boulder.
Undercut areas along a deep runs next to a bank are likely areas. By carefully scanning the stream
at a distance, looking for dark, shaded areas underneath banks, boulders and larger rocks, you can
reduce the amount of area you need to cover a great deal.
Tomorrow I will get into more techniques and specific streamer applications, including ways to fish
these likely brown trout hiding spots, areas holding rainbows and fishing open areas of water under
low light conditions. .
Copyright 2011 James Marsh