Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. Slate Drakes
2. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Summer Stones)
3. Needle Stoneflies
4. Mahogany Duns
5. Little Yellow Quills
Most available - Other types of food:
6. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
7. Inch Worms
Fishing Tales - The Tuskasegee River Chronicles
If any fly angler tells you that they have never blanked (not caught a fish), there is one of
two things going on my friends. They are either lying or they haven't fished very much.
Angie and I may have set a North Carolina fishing record by blanking on the Tuskasegee.
The Tuskasegee River Chronicles begins with our first trip to this popular tailwater.
A few years ago, when it came to fly fishing for trout, it seemed like all anyone in the South
wanted to talk about was the great fly fishing taking place on the Tuskasegee River. Angie
and I were interested in checking it out. The first thing that happened was we liked to have
never found it. We found the river easily, but finding the delayed harvest, hot spot caused
problems. We didn't expect such a highly praised trout stream to exist almost in the middle
of a town. So, after waisting an hour or two driving all over the hills of North Carolina, I
finally stopped at a Sporting Goods store and asked for directions.
When we first saw the delayed harvest section of the river, I knew we were in trouble.
The water looked high and swift. After driving up and down the entire DH section, I finally
gave up on wading and started fishing from the bank. I also noticed that there was not a
single angler fishing anywhere on the river, not even a drift boat. After hearing tales of
huge numbers of trout being caught for months, I guess I just figured all I needed to do to
catch trout was to get a fly in the water.
Yes, smart XXXX,.I know the first step in fishing any tailwater (I call them part time
fisheries) is to get the discharge rates, but on this particular day in late March, Angie and I
didn't set out to fish the Tuskasegee River. We were planning on fishing Deep
Creek. Upon our arrival at Bryson City, we discovered the water was flowing very high. We
had driven all the way from Gatlinburg, bypassing several good streams with good flows,
only to find Deep Creek had lived up to its name. It was deep. So, we begin to explore
other options when the big fishing tales of the Tuskasegee began flashing across my mind.
Back to my Tuskasegee stupid attempt to catch a trout, I proceeded to loose about half of
our new Perfect Fly prototype flies in the bushed and underwater tree limbs. The current
was rolling along the banks swiftly. I moved around and fished different places from the
bank for a couple of hours with no luck. Angie was so disgusted that she finally refused to
set up the camera. When we are not involved in a serious video production with a
cameraman, we never both fish at the same time, rather take turns running the camera.
After two hours of hard fishing, I finally gave up. I blanked on the Tuskasegee
River, which according to many, was the hottest part-time trout stream in the
Before I begin part two of this tale, let me explain something. At the end of each fishing
trip, I always log the digital video footage we acquire. Since 1998, I have a pile of
notebooks of these records of fly fishing trips that if stacked up, would probably be over
head high. Each fish caught is logged by time code so that I can return to it automatically
by entering that time code. To make sure I am being accurate, I checked the log of the
following two trips, to verify the following. I didn't have to keep a log of the very first trip to
the Tuskasegee. I remember blanking very vividly.
We returned to the Tuskasegee again after the catch and release season ended, not by
plan but again after finding the water high at other nearby locations. That time I fished the
bank and caught several trout. Although you could keep them, we released them.
We didn't return to the Tuskasegee until the Fall of the following year. I did check the
discharges, found they were low enough to wade the river, and set out to get my revenge.
I started fishing first (yes, I often ignore the ladies first rule) and managed to catch a good
number of trout. After an hour or so, I proceeded to let Angie have her turn fishing while I
maned the camera. See also caught a good number of trout.
As she was headed back to the car, wading across the river, I proceeded to walk up the
bank, looking for trout along the bank and spotted a whole school of them. I ran back to
get the tripod and camera and yelled at her to move upstream towards the trout. I ran
about thirty minutes of video of what appeared to be about a hundred brook trout. Angie
caught one on her first cast. She caught one on her second cast. She caught one on her
third cast. On her seventh cast, she finally failed to catch a trout. She caught six trout
on six consecutive cast. After about ten more cast and more trout caught, she quit
fishing. She absolutely refused to catch any more trout. She said it was embarrassing,
referring to my capturing it on camera.
I took over the fishing job, but agreed to leave the obviously, recently stocked trout alone.
I moved down and across the river below our vehicle to some new water and began
fishing. Little Sister caddisflies were covering the water laying eggs and trout were
clobbering them. Angie was on the opposite side of the river (which is quite wide) video
tapping the caddisflies. After I got into position and made a few cast, I managed to catch a
decent size brown trout. On my next cast, I caught a rainbow trout. On my third
consecutive cast, I caught another rainbow. I didn't fail to catch a trout on each
consecutive cast until my seventh one. I also, managed to catch six trout on six
consecutive cast. Trout were sipping the little caddis all around me and catching them was
easy as taking candy from a baby. After a few more cast, and a few more fish caught, I
looked up, and noticed Angie was putting the camera equipment back in the car. She had
enough of catching trout on about every cast.
Tale Number Three:
We didn't return to the Tuskasegee River until the winter of the following year. We had a
visitor from Jay, Florida, Randy Roberts, who had never caught a trout. Randy had caught
bluegills and bass a few times on the fly, but never a trout. We decided to take him to the
Tuskasegee so he could get some experience catching easy to catch fish before
introducing him to the Smokies.
When we arrived, I rigged a fly rod up a "Guide's rig", a dry fly with a double nymph and
waded out with Randy. I demonstrated how to cast, what I knew would be something
different to him from the popping bugs he was use to fishing. After a cast and drift, I
handed him the rod and headed back to the truck to rig my rod. Angie had set up the
camera. On my way back to the bank, she yelled, "Randy has one". I turned to watch him
fight what looked like the bottom, until I noticed the fly line shoot across the surface. I
begin to yell, don't pressure it too much. That's a light tippet.
On his very first ever cast trout fishing, he landed this 19 inch rainbow. This is an old
article I did about the same catch.
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.
Please enter your e-mail address in
the box to sign up for a free
subscription to the Perfect Fly "Fishing
Journal". It includes feature articles on
blue-ribbon destinations , fly fishing
techniques, and many other types of
articles of interest to any fly angler. You
can opt out at any time. If you decide
you don't want to receive our
information, just change your status by
clicking at the bottom of an e-mail we
send you in the "Remove" box. We will
not sell or give your e-mail address to
New! If you haven't signed up
previously, please sign up for
our Free Perfect Fly Fishing
Journal. The first issue is out.