Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
3. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fishing Cold Water - Part 17
Please be advised that these articles will be worth far more and make more sense if you read the previously
If you have kept up with this series, and especially the last few articles, you should have a
much better idea of what to look for when your fishing cold water in the Smokies. Before I get
started, when I use the term cold water, I'm referring to water that's below 45 degrees. If you
stay hidden by either getting below the line of vision of the trout or otherwise staying hidden
from the trout, you can visually examine a stream and determine which areas of the stream
offers the highest odds of success. It greatly depends on the particular lighting situation at the
time; the polarized sunglasses you use for those light conditions; and the water clarity; but by
doing so, you should be able to eliminate most of the water. It certainly helps to have a higher
vantage point but you must be careful to stay hidden from the trout.
Presenting a fly in deeper water in precise areas of a stream takes time. It isn't as fast of a
process as presenting a dry fly where you automatically eliminate one dimension or depth.
Much of the water is eliminated by simply fishing the runs and riffles. Those areas of a stream
are very obvious. The areas you need to cover on the bottom of the stream with your fly
cannot be covered nearly as fast and may or may not be visible. Yet another simple reason
for this is the fly should move at the same speed of the water on the bottom and in the case of
fishing cold water, it should be moving slow or you will otherwise be waisting your time.
Fishing a run or ripple with a dry fly on the surface or using a nymph is a much faster process.
I'm pointing this out for one reason. In order for you to be able to catch a decent number of
trout from cold water, you have fish exactly where the trout are holding. You can't catch many
trout waisting a lot of time fishing a slow moving fly in water that's fishless. Knowing exactly
where the trout are holding is the big key to it.
Finding the trout is like the "which comes first, the chicken or the egg" deal. In most cases,
you have to first catch one to find them. Although it's certainly possible to target fish you can
visually spot holding in deeper water, unless you are purposefully using that strategy, you are
otherwise fishing for trout you can't see. Once you find the trout, catching them can be
relatively fast. It's very possible to catch just as many or more trout from cold water as
it is from water that's in the so-called ideal temperature range. The problem isn't near
as much getting the trout to eat your fly as it is putting your fly in the immediate vicinity of trout.
If you speed more time looking for the right areas of the stream to fish and less time
casting, you will usually be far better off. It isn't the number of cast you make that will
determine your success. It's exactly where and how they are made.
In many sections of a stream where you can stay hidden from a higher vantage point, you can
eliminate as much as ninety-five percent of the water within your sight. There may well be only
one place in a thirty or forty yard long section of stream that would hold trout if the water is
cold. There's usually more than one and sometimes several, but the point is you need to
carefully select the areas where you spend your time fishing. If you can visually locate areas
of water that are likely areas the trout are holding, you will be much better off fishing them
than those areas of slower moving water that may be hidden beneath fast water.
Fishing areas of slow moving water beneath fast water is a trial and error process.
I'm not saying you shouldn't fish them. I'm just pointing out that when you do, you will probably
be spending some time searching for the right water. You will have to fish some areas that
doesn't have slow water beneath the fast water to find those that do. Furthermore, the
techniques and methods you have to use to present your fly at a slow speed under fast water
requires far more skill than fishing areas of water moving slow on the surface as well as the
bottom. Now that I have written that about fishing slow water beneath fast water, let me also
point out that the more you go through the trial and error process of fishing below
fast water, the more you will begin to be able to recognize the areas that have slow
water beneath the fast water.
I should also point out that in most sections of a stream, the majority of the trout will
be holding in slow moving water below fast water. In some sections of a stream, it may
well be all the trout are holding in slow water underneath fast water. You will catch more trout
from cold water if your able to fish both types of water.
One good thing about fishing cold water is the fact that you usually don't have to
worry about other anglers. There's usually very few anglers fishing. In many cases, you will
probably be the only one fishing. You may be able to just look for and fish areas that are
obvious and not under fast water. For example, streams with roads along the banks such as
Little River and much of the Oconaluftee River provide the opportunity to do that faster and
more efficiently than those streams without a trail or road in close proximity that offers a
higher vantage point.
Experience is a big advantage in fishing cold water, not so much in the sense you may be
thinking, but in knowing exactly where to fish. Once you have located and caught trout holding
in cold water, you will be able to return to the same spots later and catch trout. You will even
be able to catch trout from the exact same spots you caught them in previous years. If the
stream conditions are near the same, you can count on the trout being in the same locations.
Copyright 2011 James Marsh