01/24/12

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Midges
2.    Little Winter Stoneflies
3.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)

Fly Fishing Strategies - What Fly To Use - Part 27
As expected, the streams are all extremely high at the current time. At the time I'm writing this
Little River is flowing at over a 1000 cfs, Cataloochee at 556 cfs and Oconaluftee at 1950 cfs.
You can check these out on our
link page and also be able to see the levels that can be safely
waded, etc. The streams are all falling but due to the ground being saturated (a good thing) the
stream levels aren't dropping as fast as they often do.

Today's weather will be excellent, with a high near 56 and a low tonight at just above freezing but
by tomorrow afternoon, the chance of rain returns, increasing to a 40 percent chance by
tomorrow night. The weather will remain unseasonably warm with highs reaching almost 60
degrees at Gatlinburg each day. The rain chances increase to 80 percent on Thursday night and
60% Friday. The strategy problem for me becomes estimating the amount of rain. At this time, it
doesn't look like a big low pressure system but with the high water levels, it won't take much rain
to keep the levels higher than the streams can be safely waded.

A high pressure system will move in Saturday and Sunday and the nightly temperatures will drop
back down to more normal temperatures for this time of the year. Lows will be back down to as
low as 26 degrees with highs in the forties. This is going to put the water temperature for this
coming weekend back in the mid to low forties were it belongs this time of the year.

Today and tomorrow, with the high, fast warm water, you have a good chance of hooking
browns and rainbows on streamers fished very near the banks, especially anywhere surface
water is draining back into the streams. The high, fast water makes it much easier to fool the
trout. Little trickles of water washes food into the streams and attracts small baitfish and minnows.
Trout, especially the brown trout, know this and key in on the baitfish and minnows that are
feeding on the smorgasbord of food being washed in at such places. Hit the areas where the
banks are clear enough of bushes and trees to cast using a roll cast, or even flipping the
streamer upstream and allowing it to return downstream close to the bank. It doesn't take a big
clear area to do this. It only needs to be a short cast.

Thursday and Friday (and maybe even late Wednesday afternoon) cloud cover will return and
under the low light conditions, you should have higher odds using streamers. It's also possible
the streams can be safely waded on Thursday, especially the smaller, headwater streams. If so,
you will be able to wade and make better presentations with streamers. Since the water will still be
warm and on the high side and considering the low light conditions, I suggest you stick with
streamers.

This weekend, If the water remains or returns to a level too high to safely wade, and it has a
good chance of doing just that, the clear bright skies and lower water temperatures won't be all
that great for fishing streamers. It will be time to change back to the Little Winter Stonefly nymph.

If the water remains high, the problem will be being able to present it without wading but in the
case of stoneflies, this isn't all that bad. As mentioned often, stoneflies crawl out of the water to
hatch and you want you fly to imitate that same behavior. Staying on the banks, but well back
away from the edge of the water, you can fish the high water anywhere the streams banks are
clear enough to cast.

If the streams can be safely waded, imitate the little stonefly nymphs by swinging the fly towards
the banks. Keep it on the bottom and allow it to swing all the way to the banks. Most often, that's
where the trout will take the fly.

There are many other ways of fishing under the high water conditions but I believe the strategies
that I have outlined presents the highest odds of success.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh