12/18/12

Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
Hatching:
1.    BWOs (Little and baetis BWOs)
2.    Midges

Most available/ Other types of food:
3.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)

Fly Fishing Strategies - Which Flies to Use - Coming Week
We are getting some rain in the best possible way - slowly. I checked the National Weather Service
Precipitation Map early this morning to see that it had only rained an average of about a half-inch within the
last 24 hours. When I changed the setting to 48 hours, it gave an entirely different picture. Most of the park
received over 2 inches of precipitation. The slow rainfall helps protect the young brook and brown trout fry
and the eggs that may not have hatched.

The stream levels are currently in great shape. There's more rain in the forecast for Thursday but it appears
it too will be light. The sun will appear today at times. The high in Gatlinburg will be 53 with a low tonight of
33. Wednesday should remain clear with a high near 61, The low that night will only go down to 41.

As just mentioned, Thursday will again provide a chance of rain (80%) with a high of 53. It looks like there
may be some strong wind with the approaching front. Thursday should be a good day to fish with that one
exception of possible high wind. I don't mind the rain, but I don't like high winds. According to Angie, my head
is hard but it's not hard enough to bounce off large, flying tree limbs.

It may snow Thursday night in Gatlinburg and for almost certain, in the high elevations. The low should be a
cold 26 degrees. That's fine with me. I would like to see some white stuff that close to Christmas. If the high of
42 for Friday is right, it won't last long and I like that just as well.

The front should pass during the night and Friday should again be sunny with a high of 42. It will be cold that
night, with a low of around 23. From a fishing standpoint, the weekend isn't looking all that great. Even
though Saturday's high should reach 48, the previous nights low of 23 means the water is going to be very
cold just about all day long Saturday. Melting snow may also be a factor in keeping the water cold. I doubt the
water temperature will get much over 35 to 40 degrees in the park. The low Saturday night should be 26.
Sunday's high should reach 48 with a low that night of around 28.

Strategy:
There will be a big difference in fishing today, tomorrow and Thursday, versus Friday through Sunday. The
new approaching low pressure system will help but after Thursday, the low will pass and the old barometer
will shift drastically and start heading up hill making it tougher, especially on catching the light sensitive brown
trout.  

For today, tomorrow and Friday, I suggest using streamers when the light is low and/or the water is still
slightly stained. Otherwise, stick with a BWO nymph, hooks size 18 until you see them hatch. That's very
possible during the next three days. If you do see them hatching, switch to a BWO emerger or dun. You may
even see some size 16
baetis hatching but irrespective of that, the water will have more BWO nymphs
available for the trout than any other insect.

There are as many as there ever will be, almost one-year old, and almost two-year old stonefly nymphs in the
water. There are as many as there ever will be, almost grown Blue Quill, March Brown, and Quill Gordon
nymphs in the water. These insects are in or near their final instar stages. Some are already developing wing
pads. In addition there's many other aquatic insects that are well passed their half-grown instar stages, but
the great majority of these nymphs
are clingers that stay well hidden down between and under the
rocks on the bottom
of the stream out of reach of the trout. There are plenty of cased caddis in the water
but note I said "cased" caddis. You want to imitate what the trout are seeing and can easily acquire.

Friday, you will need to make some adjustments. I would forget the streamers and stick with either a midge
larvae imitation, or the BWO size 18 nymph. It's possible there could be a hatch of BWOs. One species
hatching at this time of the year will hatch when the water is in the high forties, but not the low forties or lower.
You will probably have to stick with the midge larvae or BWO nymph until you see midges hatching. You
should keep them in very, very slow moving water, which is mostly, in holes on the bottom.

If you see any midges hatching, switch to a midge pupa imitation. Most of them in the Smokies are shades of
cream colors. I doubt anyone will be fishing this weekend, but if you do and you stick with this strategy, you
should be able to catch trout. The streams can still be waded at this time, but only with lots of caution and
only if your young and fairly strong. Please be careful. Remember the word "hypothermia" and if your not
familiar with it, Google it.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh