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
Smoky Mountains Fishing Report
I did take the opportunity to fish a couple of times during the past week for about an
hour on each occasion. I didn't see anyone else fishing on either trip. For a change,
on the first trip, I started early in the morning (about 8:00 AM) on the upper Little River
near Elkmont Campground. I rigged up with our Mahogany Dun Nymph, adding a split
shot about six inches above the fly. That resulted in four small rainbows. The second
trip was very late in the afternoon on the Little Pigeon River near the Chimney Picnic
area. I fished a Mahogany Dun Spinner and caught a half dozen rainbows in less than
an hour. By the way, I did not see a spinner fall occurring. There may have been one
earlier, before I started, or possibly later, after I stopped fishing.
I only know of three guys that fished the Smokies during the past week. Not one of
them reported catching very many trout. In fact, they reported just the opposite,
complaining of tough conditions. I talked to one of them and received email from the
other two. Neither one was very excited about their trip. I know one of them was not
very experienced but in the other two cases, I don't know the extent of their
experience. Two were from out of town and one was a local Knoxville customer. I also
don't know enough about what they did or didn't do to offer any advice. It seems when
anglers don't do well, they don't want to talk about it. I think that's probably a normal
reaction but one that's not very helpful for anyone.
For the past week, the water levels have been about normal for this time of the year.
Keep in mind, normal for this time is rather low. When the water is low, it is also slow,
or at least a lot slower than it is if it was high. Except for a couple of occasions where a
short downpour clouded the water in a few streams, the water has also been very
clear. Clear, low, slow flowing water in the small streams of the Smokies isn't as easy
to fish as the higher levels. You can get by with a lot of less than good presentations
in higher, faster flows. You can also get by with poorer imitations or the food - flies.
As a general rule, anglers tend to say the fishing is quote, "good" when the
water is high and fast flowing and quote, "poor", when it is low and slow. In
reality, it has nothing to do with the fish. They still eat and eat just as much as
they would at any water level. In reality, it is the angler's fishing ability that's
quote, "good" or quote, "poor".
Over the past several years, I have learned most anglers tend to fish the streams of
the Smokies the same way, using the same flies, and same techniques and strategies
when the water is low as they do when the water is high. They may make some minor
adjustments but basically they fish the low, slow, clear water conditions the same way
as they do the high, fast water conditions. That's where the problem is. That is
why the catching falls short of their expectations. They blame the conditions
and the fish, not themselves.
During the next couple of days, I am going to deviate from the above article schedule
some, and pinpoint some of the things you should do and not do, when the water
levels are low, slow and clear. One reason I'm doing this has to do with the use of our
Perfect Flies. In a nut shell, it doesn't make any difference what fly you use, if
your not going to present it in the best manner, and at the right time and
place (area of the stream), it isn't going to produce.
You have probably heard local anglers contend the fly isn't near as important as the
presentation. Well, that's not true. Both the fly and the presentation are important.
To make it simple, look at it like this. Which is the most important thing on an airplane,
the engine or the wings. Without both, you will never get off the ground. "Fly Fishing
Basics for Dummies" (if there was such a thing) would teach both the fly and
the presentation are important.
Just so you don't think you already know everything I am going to write about,
let me start out with just one thing that I would bet that over 90% of all anglers fail to
recognize and make adjustments for.
1. The general accepted length of the combined leader and tippet for fly fishing the
streams of the Smokies is 71/2 feet. Some would say 9 feet. In higher, faster flowing
water, such as what you normally have in the Spring (and we have had for most of the
Summer this year), that's correct. That range (71/2 to 9 feet) is the best length. Under
low, slow flowing, clear water conditions, it isn't. You should be using at least a 12 foot
combined leader and tippet length.
I'll elaborate more on leader/tippet lengths tomorrow. I just wanted to let those that
assume they have all the answers know some things I practice and believe in that's
probably different from the normal line of thinking. There are many other things I want
to point out that I think will be helpful to anyone.
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.
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