Fishing the Smokies Update - Part Four
The last three days I have told you which streams I would suggest you fish and what
flies I would use for fishing the streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park at
this time. I also told you the type of water I would fish the flies in and the
approximate times I would expect to use each one. What I haven't told you is all of
that will not work unless certain other conditions even more important are met. The
flies must be presented the right way without the trout seeing you or knowing you
It is easy to say "just stay low, move slow, wear subdued clothing", etc. Those basic
things are necessary, of course, but there is more to it than that. It is difficult to stay
low and cast a eight or nine foot long fly rod without being seen. You can't cast it in
slow motion and you can't cast it just above the ground very well.
It is even easier for me to say "fish the riffles". The fish can't see you as well if they
are in the fast water of the riffles. The riffles help conceal your presence. That is all
well and fine but you will catch far less fish doing that than if you placed your fly in
the water I described. The blue-winged olives do not hatch in the riffles. The duns
may eventually get caught up in the faster moving water but this is usually near the
ends of long runs or riffles. Many times they will not be on the water long enough to
get caught up in the fast water. I am not saying you want catch any fish that way. I
am saying you will catch far less that way than if you are fishing the blue-winged
olive hatch to right way.
To place your fly in the slower moving water adjacent to the fast water without
spooking the trout isn't easy to do. Much of what I am describing now has to do with
the particular situation you encounter. If there is a tree you can get behind, get
behind it. If there is a boulder you can hide behind, do so. If there is nothing to hide
behind, you have a problem. You must make a longer cast and it must land the fly
on the water lightly or in a manner as not to alert the trout. Your leader and tippet
can't splash the water when it hits. It must land softly without any disturbance. Now
that is impossible in a strict sense, of course, but it must land in such a manner that
the trout either doesn't notice it or they think it is a real fly. Doing this requires
casting practice. Not the kind most anglers do. Not practice seeing how far you can
cast. If you can cast 100 feet and you can't land the fly on the water lightly, without
splashing the water, piling up leader and tippet, or dragging your fly, you have
accomplished nothing in respect to what is required in this situation.
The water is up today and we have a completely different situation but it will
probably be back low soon. What I am describing and about to recommend is for
water that is normal to low, not what we will have today, so keep that in mind.
I would use a 9 foot, 6X leader with a two foot, 7X tippet or a total of eleven feet
long leader/tippet. You may need to shorten the tippet a few inches to straighten it
or prevent it from piling up too much. It doesn't have to land straight. It is better to
have a little slack in the tippet and leader. You can use fluorocarbon if you like but I
have found little difference in it and regular mono material. I don't think it will make
If you are fishing the nymph, remember to present it in the same type of water the
blue-winged olives are going to hatch in. Don't fish it as you would normally fish a
nymph in the smokies - that is using a high stick method or placing it in the fast
water runs and riffles. Place the nymph, unweighted or slightly weighted, in the
same type of water I described for the emergers. Do not use a strike indicator. By
all means do not use a double or tandem rig or dropper rig. Don't drop the nymph
from a dry fly. If you cast any of these type of rigs in the right type of water or where
the olives hatch, you will spook the trout that you are trying to catch every time.
Watch your leader and tippet. You will be able to either see the fish take the fly or
you will see your leader/tippet move at a speed or direction different from what the
water would do with the fly.
If you happen to make a bad cast; splashed the water with you leader/line; or done
anything that may have spooked the trout, move on to another area. You would be
wasting time casting to the same spot.
Don't use brightly colored fly line. I suggest dull, light green or gray line. Bright
fluorescent fly lines will spook trout under these low water conditions where you are
trying to catch trout feeding on emerging blue-winged olives.
Presenting you fly correctly under low water condition and even with normal
conditions when you are fishing a blue-winged olive hatch is not easy. It does
require a good cast, and few or no false cast over the water you want your fly to
land on. It requires all the normal precautions to prevent spooking trout such as not
scraping the bottom or rocks in the water or on the bank. Remember, fish don't
hear the sounds above the water such as your talking to someone. They do hear
sounds caused by any vibrations or disturbance of the bottom or along the bank.
Turn a rock over on the bottom and you will send every trout within fifty feet about
to eat an emerging olive in shallow, slow moving water into high gear. You cannot
cast a shadow from your body or line over the fish.
I could go on and on but I think you get the point. It takes a well placed cast from a
position that don't alert the trout to the right type of water if you expect to catch
trout feeding on the little olives. Good luck and thanks to all of your for checking
our site frequently.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh