Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (eastern BWOs)
2. Cream Cahills
3. Cinnamon Caddis
4. Little Yellow Stoneflies
5. Golden Stoneflies
6. Slate Drakes
7. Little Green Stoneflies
Most available - Other types of food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
9. Inch Worms
Fly Fishing School - Fly Fishing For Bass In Ponds
I realize that we don't have any largemouth bass ponds (actually there are some) in Great Smoky Mountains
National Park but we also don't have anyone that has a permanent residence there either. Everyone fishing
the park comes from areas outside of the park where there are ponds. So, today's article is about fly fishing
ponds for largemouth bass.
To be successful fly fishing for largemouth bass, you first have to find the bass. That task gets as easy as it
ever gets in ponds. By far the most ponds are farm ponds. The fact that people could write off most of the cost
of building a farm pond (creating storage for the water necessary to feed cattle) caused an explosion in the
numbers of farm ponds nationwide a few decades ago and they are still being built this day in time. I was born
and raised in a little town in north Alabama that had many of them. The county I lived in during my younger
years had hundreds of them and they were all stocked with bream and bass.
At about the age of ten, I discovered the joys of catching bass and bream on a fly rod. My first one was a
fiberglass model dad bought for me at our local hardware store - Western Auto Store, to be specific. The only
thing I can remember about any of my early fly rods was the fact they were all firberglass rods that were quite
heavy compared to what's now available. They all were equipped with automatics fly reels filled with level fly
line. In case your not familiar, level fly line isn't tapered. The leaders were level too, the best I can remember.
I'm certain they were not tapered leaders. At some point in those early years I learned to tie my own leaders
and tapper them down but the lines were all level fly lines. If there were tapered fly line available in those
years, the Western Auto store in my home town didn't have them. Casting a popping bug on those outfits
couldn't have been easy. Hum, I guess I better stop writing about this or everyone will find out I'm old as dirt.
Prior to the time I was old enough to drive, my father or mother would drop me off at one of the local ponds
early on Saturday morning and if I got my way, they wouldn't pick me up until near dark. I would have done the
same thing every Sunday, but mother made me go to church. I usually spent the afternoons doing the same
thing - fishing ponds. I guess you could say I got a lot of early experience fishing farm ponds.
Although I cannot remember anything in detail, during the times I was unable to catch many bass, I can
remember what I considered the biggest challenge in doing that was. I was constantly trying to figure out
exactly where the most and bigger bass were in the ponds. I didn't understand how water temperature affected
the location of the fish and other such things at the time, but it didn't take long to determine one big key was
finding the bass. Through trial and error, I quickly discovered the bass had a big preference for hanging
around the old stumps left in the ponds.
The ponds that were graded out clear of everything always had the smallest size bass. Some were graded out
completely clear of the stumps or maybe they were built in old fields that were void of trees. My favorite ponds
and the ones that had the most fish always seemed to have the most stumps left in them. Of course, that
created what bass anglers call cover.
One pond I regularly fished had a few acres of tree tops and several large piles of brush that wasn't cleared
from its uppermost shallow water end. It was full of bass and some of them weighted up to about eight pounds
or more. Some of the local ponds had grass beds along the banks and were full of bass but they always
seemed to have smaller size bass. Everyone fertilized the ponds.
I remember one pond in particular that had small trees growing from water in its shallower end. Red-winged
Black Birds would build nest in them and the birds would act as if they were going to attack you when you
waded close to the nest during the times they had eggs or newly hatched babies in them. I waded right along
with the Cotton Mouth snakes that were plentiful so I could reach the trees. I waded in tennis shoes and shorts.
I can remember my legs turning blue from wading in cold water. I had to wade that particular lake regardless of
how cold it was. I always caught larger size bass when I fished near the trees in that part of the lake. They were
trees that sprouted up from stumps left that were not completely submerged under water. In order to be able to
reach some of the best areas, I had to wade water that was up to my chest.
I could go on and on but the main number one thing you want to concentrate on when fishing a farm pond for
largemouth bass is to fish as close as possible to cover. This will vary greatly depending on where the pond is
located and how it was built. There could be many other types of cover in the pond ranging from logs to lily
pads. Grass and weed beds are present in many farm ponds and if so, you can be assured the bass will use it
for cover. If there happens to be any sizeable rocks such as rip-rap used to build the dam, they will use it for
During cold weather or late Fall, Winter and early Spring, the bass will tend to stay in deeper water, and it's
usually the deepest the pond has to offer. During pre-spawn times, a few days before they move in shallow
and build beds, they will usually hold in at least three to five feet of water on cover, if present. During the
spawning season, they will move to the shallow flats or areas in the shallow ends of the pond in water usually
ranging from one to three feet deep. During post spawn times they will move back to the three to five foot
depths (this greatly depends on the area of the country the pond is in) and feed early and late in the shallower
Ninety percent of the larger bass in a lake or pond will be concentrated in about ten percent of the water. Your
success depends on being able to pinpoint that ten percent of the water more than anything else.
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.