Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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.
Shipping is free in the U. S. for all
orders of any size. Orders over $50
are shipped free via Priority Mail.
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
Getting Started - Some Freestone Stream Basics
The stream’s volume of water and rate of flow is strictly dependant upon Mother Nature. The amount of water
in the stream can vary drastically with the seasons of the year. Heavy rainfall that usually occurs in the spring
months makes the freestone streams large and turbulent and sometimes flood beyond their normal banks. In
the late summer and fall months of the year, most freestone streams reach their lowest levels. Sometimes the
flow can become so slow and the dissolved oxygen levels so low that it become tough for trout to survive. This
is especially true in the lower sections of the streams in the foothills.
At the headwaters, most eastern freestone mountain streams support native and/or wild brook trout. These fish
are usually small, averaging from four to eight inches because they have less space to live and less food to
eat but they are also usually very aggressive and lighting fast. Most of the time, trout found in the acidic,
headwater streams feed opportunistically. Much of the time they don't have enough of any one species of food
to feed on.
Anglers usually don't have to be nearly as concerned with specific patterns of flies as they do in the lower
elevations of the freestone streams. Often, attractor or non-specific type flies that imitate a variety of insects
will work but there are times when the trout do concentrate on eating a particular insect. There are a few
species of insects that can cause selective feeding in the headwater streams.
As some of you may know, in the Eastern Appalachian Mountains, rainbow and brown trout are a problem for
the native brook trout. They will compete for the same space and food. This has forced the smaller brook trout
to exist only at higher and more remote locations than they once did. In many cases, in the middle and lower
elevations of the streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, brook trout have been completely
eliminated by the rainbow and brown trout. The park service along with concerned anglers have been working
on changing this in a few streams.
It doesn't take much to upset the balance of nature in a freestone stream. Many, many factors have done just
that. The logging of timber has been a major problem for many streams. The construction of roads has also
affected many of the streams and in many different ways. The construction of lakes has also affected many
trout streams. Acid rain is yet another adverse factor that has affected streams in the Eastern United States.
The list goes on and on.
For our purposes here, the main thing to be gained is that anglers should be aware of what makes a freestone
stream produce good sizes and quantities of trout, and what hurts them and prevents that from happening.
They also need to know how the environmental conditions affects your ability to catch them. Two important
things to stop and register is water temperature (which also affects the oxygen content) and water levels or
stream flows. Knowing these two things about a freestone stream is the first and from a primary standpoint, the
most important things to know.
One of the best sources of information comes from a stream thermometer. It will provide water temperatures
that are accurate at the time you are fishing at the particular place you are fishing.
Stream flows can be obtained from our Perfect fly website under the Information Section for any stream in the
nation. Thunderstorms that occur in a different watersheds can change the flows very quickly.
The next most important thing would probably be the clarity of the stream’s water. The stream levels and flow
rates are good indicators of the water clarity but this information alone is sometimes deceptive. Of course,
once you are on the stream, you can see the watercolor conditions for yourself, but it sure helps to know in
advance of traveling to a particular location to fish.
The pH of the water is yet another factor that affects the trout and its food but it is one you can do little about.
You can change the way you fish to adjust to water temperature and water levels but you can't adjust for high
pH levels. Of course, just knowing the water temperature and level is not enough. The information is
worthless if you do not know how it affects the trout and how it affects your fishing. That cannot be explained in
any one article. At this point in the Getting Started articles, I'm only pointing out what you need to learn more