Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
2. Light Cahills
3. Cinnamon Caddis
4. Eastern Pale Evening Duns
5. Little Short-horned Sedges
7. Green Sedges
8. Little Yellow Stoneflies
9. Golden Stoneflies
10. Slate Drakes
11. Little Green Stoneflies
Most available - Other types of food:
12. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
13. Inch Worms
Fly Fishing Strategies - Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Update on weather and stream conditions:
We dodged the bullet yesterday. It didn't rain as much in the park as was anticipated. The
streams are still too high to safely wade but based on what has been the trend, they should fall
rather fast. Of the three U.S.G.S. sites reporting, it looks as if Cataloochee Creek is in the best
shape, Oconalufttee the worst shape and Little River somewhere in between. The outlook for the
weekend is much better than it appeared to be yesterday. There's another chance of rain on
Thursday but it is only 60% and they are not anticipating any heavy amounts of precipitation
except in isolated areas from thunderstorms.
Note: The following strategies are based on catching the most trout in terms of quantities, not necessarily the
methods or flies that provide the most fun or the methods and flies that will catch the largest trout.
As you can see from the above list, there are still a lot of aquatic insects hatching at this time.
The long list can be a little deceptive in that certainly not all of them will hatch at any certain
location in a stream, and some, not even in all the streams. The type of water and the elevation
varies the hatches a great deal.
You may read and anglers and fly shop salesman content that the particular fly pattern isn't
important. To make sure you understand me, I will first say that's a bunch of crap. The fly pattern
you use is as important as it ever is. If your satisfied with catching a few trout and being a
mediocre angler, you can get by using the imported, generic flies the fly shops sell. They have no
other choice but to sell fifty year old pattens that half way imitated a little of everything but not
much of nothing. At Perfect Fly, we also sell all of the same flies the fly shops sell but for $.79
each and that's delivered (third row in yellow). That's paying $.79 more than they are worth. We
do it to illustrate the difference in the cost of good imitations versus the easy to tie patterns.
The strategy will vary greatly depending on the type of water you choose to fish. With the
current water temperatures, you can choose to fish just about anywhere in the park and expect
some success. I would suggest you eliminate the lowest elevations. If you fish the larger streams
in the middle and upper lower elevations, you will need to focus on the insects I mentioned
above that will be present in those types of streams. If you fish faster flowing pocket water in the
upper lower, middle and higher elevation streams, focus on the Little Yellow Stoneflies and Light
Cahills. When the streams become safe to wade, we think your best odds of success exist in the
streams in the middle to higher elevations with fast, pocket water.
Until the streams drop down to wadable levels, fish streamers from the banks of the larger
streams. It is an excellent time to catch a large brown trout. The rainbows will also take the
streamers. For this, we recommend a sculpin pattern such as the Perfect Fly Brown Sculpin or
White Belly Sculpin.
I got an email from an Ohio angler who is currently fishing the park asking if high sticking is the
best method to use when the streams are too high to wade. My answer is absolutely not
unless you can do it hiding behind a boulder or tree. You need to wade to use the high
sticking method. The system relies on your profile that's above the water being very low. If not,
the trout will easily see you. If you stand on a bank and high stick, unless the water is very dingy,
you will be well exposed to the trout. A broken surface of the water gives you some , but not
enough protection. The trout can still see you, even when they are holding in strong current if
your within their line of sight, high above the water. If you don't understand this, you need to
study how fish see objects through their window of vision that are outside the water.
Unfortunately, many anglers don't understand it.
Here is our suggested strategy. Start out in the morning using a Light Cahill nymph. The reason
for that is there are more clinger nymphs than swimmers or crawlers in the fast pocket water.
Continue to fish the nymph until you see something hatching. Most likely that would be Light
Cahills, but possibly Slate Drakes. That would start happening around 2:00 to 3:00 PM (the
Cahills), and the Slate Drakes anytime of the day). If and when you see the Light Cahills begin to
hatch, switch to an emerger or dun pattern of it. If it is a Slate Drake you see hatching, they have
crawled out of the water to hatch just like a stonefly. It will not do you any good to imitate them
except with a nymph until near dark when you would use a spinner. Stick with the emerger or dry
mayfly dun until it is obvious the Cahill hatch has ended.
The dry fly action may continue until very late in the day even after the hatch has ended because
the trout may continue to look for food on the surface. If it subsides, switch to a Little Yellow
Stonefly nymph. Fish it near the banks of the stream. Even though they won't be crawling out of
the water to hatch until near dark, they will be plenty of them in the water very near the banks.
Fish the nymph until you start seeing stoneflies depositing their eggs on the surface of the water.
Note: Even though you may see a lot of stoneflies throughout the morning and the middle of
the day, you can rest assured they won't be hatching at that time. They will be adults that
hatched previously and unless they are on the surface of the water depositing eggs, and even
though you may be able to catch a trout or two imitating the adults, you should ignore them and
fish the nymph. Little Yellow Stoneflies, Little Greens and/or Golden Stoneflies will not begin to
emerge (crawl out of the water to hatch) until it is very late in the day.
If the stoneflies are dropping down and laying eggs on the water, you should fish an adult
imitation of the stonefly, but that probably won't happen until late in the afternoon.
Late in the day, after the dry fly activity slows down and hatches subside, you should also keep
an eye out for a spinner fall. If you saw mayflies hatching, rest assured their spinners will fall late
in the day or early evening. If you see one beginning to take place (mayflies mating - dancing up
and down above the water) or spot the spinners on the water, by all means switch to a spinner
pattern of that mayfly. Again, most likely, that would be LIght Cahills or Slate Drakes. If the skies
are clear, the spinner falls will occur very late, after sunset.
Very late in the day, it's possible, and maybe even likely, that spinners may be falling and
stoneflies may be laying eggs at the same time. If you stay hidden, and use either a spinner
imitation or adult stonefly imitation under those circumstances, you should be able to catch trout
about as fast as you can cast, hook and release them.
New Schedule of Daily
Mondays: Weather and Stream
Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout
More Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing the park and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions.
Please allow up to 24 hours for a
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
will help you decide which flies you
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
them to you in time for your trip.
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