12/03/11
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)
5.    Midges
6.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)

Fishing Streamers In The Smokies - Part Five
I would like to get back to a baitfish or minnow that's being eyed by a predator fish. As mentioned
before in this series, minnows and baitfish don't just causally swim up to large fish as if they are  
begging to be eaten. Once they know a larger predatory fish is interested in them, they do everything
they can to escape from the larger fish. If you have ever watched trout, or any gamefish for that
matter, chase minnows and baitfish you would know that. They go into extreme panic trying to
escape. In open water they often skid across the surface frantically trying to get away for the
predator fish. Sometimes they come completely out of the water fleeing from them. Your imitation of a
baitfish or minnow should do the same thing when it gets near a predator fish.

As also mentioned before, the problem with doing this with your fly is that you need to know exactly
where a trout is holding in order to make the fly appear to being trying to escape. If you don't, you will
be making a lot of waisted cast and strips.  

I also pointed out that in order for a trout to take your fly as a minnow or baitfish it's best to let it see
the fly from the side. A streamer fly doesn't appear to be a baitfish or minnow very much from a direct
head-on view. The same thing applies to a fly that is headed directly away from the predator fish.
The trout should see the broadside of the fly to get a look at the shape, size and color of the fly.
When your using the down and across swing I described earlier in the series, the fly tends to turn
and head back in an upstream direction as soon as you start stripping it. The trout, looking
upstream, sometimes get more of a rear view of the fly than a side profile view in this situation. This
works fine if you know exactly where the trout are holding. You can maneuver the fly across in front
of the fish and then strip it away fast as if it were about to be attacked. In open water where you only
have a general idea of where the trout are holding, it's best to keep the fly headed across the current
so the predator fish gets a broadside view of it. The best way to accomplish this is to make a slightly
up and across stream slack line cast and then keep mending the fly upstream to keep it broadside of
trout holding in the current. You need to keep a slightly tight line throughout the entire drift but this is
achieved by keeping enough belly in the line to keep the fly swimming parallel to the current. In other
words, you want the pressure of the current on the belly of the fly line to keep tension in the line.
When it gets below, or downstream of your position, start mending the line downstream, tossing coils
of line to the side and below the fly in such a manner as to keep the fly broadside to the current. Let
the pressure of the current bring the fly back up to the surface at the end of the drift and let the fly
just sit there for a few moments. Sometimes trout will follow the fly and  then take it when it stops.

Many anglers make the mistake of imparting too much action in a streamer. It's one thing to imitate
the fly fleeing from a predator fish but when you are fishing open water, it's best to keep adding
movement to the fly just to the point it makes the fly look like a swimming baitfish. It doesn't take near
as much movement of your hands and rod to do this as you may think it does. Just a little movement
of either hand puts a lot of movement in the fly.

Until you become proficient at it, it's best to practice this a situation where you can observe the
movement of your fly before doing it blindly. You use both your rod hand and your line hand to impart
action in the streamer. If the fly material moves in such a way as to easily show the movement, just a
little one inch yank of your fingers on the line hand can make the fly look alive. If your stripping the fly
back in, use your line hand to do the stripping and continuously just slightly flip the tip of the fly rod to
add movement to the fly. Just little twitches will add a lot of movement to the fly.

If you fishing an undercut bank, or want the fly to drift down a submerged log, or anything that's
running parallel with the current, you need to use a slightly different approach and presentation. If
your fishing a bank, for example, cast the fly directly across the current  but mend the line in the air
before it hits the water. A reach cast will accomplish this. Just reach the rod tip as far as you can
upstream while the line is in the air. You want the fly line to land downstream of the fly. Use your line
hand to add some slight movements (twitches) to the fly as it swims downstream parallel with the
bank. The idea is to keep the fly drifting close to and broadside to the bank as long as you can
without having to retrieve it away from the bank. Let the pressure of the current on the belly of the
line keep the line tight.

Another way to fish a streamer, and one that works especially well with sculpin imitations when trout
are holding on the bottom of deep pools, it to cast upstream and bring the fly back downstream just a
little faster that the current. I'm referring to fishing pools with slow to moderate water, not pools with
lots of current flowing through them. Strip the line in and add some action to the fly by slightly
wobbling the tip of the rod. In this case, use the pause and strip type of retrieve, not a continuous
one. Keep the fly on or near the bottom. During cold water periods, the trout often line in hole or
depression out of the current to keep from having to expend any energy. You want to make sure the
streamer stays close enough to the bottom for the sluggish, cold water fish to inhale the fly.
Copyright 2011 James Marsh