03/06/09

Note: Just because an insect is listed below doesn't mean it is hatching. Trout eat the insects as
nymphs and larvae, not just duns or adults. These are the insects and other food you should be
concerned with at this particular time.
1. Blue-winged Olives
(Baetis) - sparse hatches
2. Blue Quills - hatching soon
3. Quill Gordons - hatching soon
4. Little Black Caddis - hatching soon
5. Winter Stoneflies - sparse hatches
6. Midges - hatching in isolated locations
7. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

Reviewing the Basics - Hiding From the Trout - Wading

Wading can help you catch more trout in the small streams of Great Smoky
Mountains National Park in some cases, but before I discuss when and where it can
help you, let me give you a fair warning. Wading can also prevent you from
catching trout in the Smokies. It is an easy and fast way to spook trout. The trout
can see you under the water and above the water. They can hear your boots
scrape the bottom or move some sand and gravel. If you are in calmer water such
as a pool, your wake can spook trout.
Never wade unless it is necessary for
you to get into position to make a presentation to areas of the water you
think are holding trout
. If you can reach those areas and get a good drift from
the bank, by all means do so. Every time you wade you are taking chances on
spooking some trout that you may have been able to catch from the bank.

The problem with everything I have said so far is that it is often and very common
that you will not be able to present your fly to areas of the stream that are likely
holding trout without wading. One thing that makes it almost impossible to cast from
the bank is the heavy growth of trees and bushes along the banks of the stream.
There are nine different species of rhododendrons that live in the park and many of
them completely enclose the small streams.  In many areas there is timber growing
right up to the banks of the streams. This is great because if it did not, the streams
would not have the trout that live in them. The water would be too warm in most
areas for trout. They do keep you from casting along the banks in many cases.

Now don't take this wrong. Just because there are some trees along the bank don't
mean you can't cast from the bank. You can make all kinds of creative cast if you
try and learn to make them. When you can, be certain to fish the water near the
banks before you get into the water to wade. About the biggest mistake you can
make is just to walk up to a stream, wade out into the center and start casting. You
may have spooked some trout right where you headed into the stream.
Always
take you time.
Stop and look at the water. Figure out your best approach to get to
the likely holding and feeding areas you intend to cast to.

I am not the best person in the world to give out this tip but I will anyway.
Never
cast while you are taking steps wading
. You can't concentrate on both and you
will eventually end up making bad cast or tripping, stumbling or even falling. Stop
casting and look at the water where you are wading. I am often guilty of making this
mistake. I catch myself doing it and stop, then forget and do it again. I have also
busted my you know what a few times - casting when I was wading. I hate to admit
this one, but I slipped off a rock on the bank in a hole under the heavy cover of
rhododendron bushes along Little River one time, got wet to the bone, could have
drowned and lost my fly rod, reel and line. The water was fairly high, I was looking
at a good size brown trout a few feet upstream and was determined to cast to it. I
didn't look where I was stepping. I was too concerned about casting. It knocked the
breath out of me and turned my back black and blue. When I looked up my rod was
not in sight.

The bottom line is wading can be dangerous.
Never wade when you question
the water depth or speed. Use the knee deep rule. Don't wade water over
knee deep.
Stop casting when you move and look at the bottom ahead. Move
slowly. There is no need to rush. Everyone has to get used to wading the water.
The more you wade, the easier it is to do. It also takes some leg muscles if you do
very much of it. Climbing up and down and over rocks gives you legs a good
workout. The water resistance in the current and weight of the waders and boots
will tire you out until you get used to it. Never wade when you are tired. That is a
huge mistake. If you are tired and give out and you have a problem such as
slipping and falling, you do not want to be tired.

Wear a wading belt tight around your waist. If you fall in the water, it will run
down into your waders filling them with pounds of water. Try standing up with your
waders full of water. The wading belt will keep your legs and waste from filling up
with water. I fell in the Madison River one time, just above the two dollar bridge. I
had a big rainbow on that I actually ended up catching, and was moving
downstream with the trout wading when I stepped off into a deep hole. I went
completely under the water except for the very top of my head. I have no idea how
or even why I held the fly rod. I almost did not get up because the current carried
me about ten yards downstream as I fought to regain my footing. I am totally
convinced that if I did not have my wading belt on, I would have drowned. The entire
episode is on video tape. I will never forget it. It took every ounce of energy I had. I
should have dropped the rod and I have no idea why I didn't. When I caught on and
got back up, it dawned on me I still had the fly rod and when I tightened the line, I
found the trout was still on. It was a solid eighteen inches long. A bridge full of
vehicles also watched that little episode. Angie was running the camera from a
tripod and was screaming to the top of her voice. She could not have possible
helped me. I did a stupid thing, wading in deep, swift water. I did one thing right that
I think saved my life. I had my wading belt on tight. From my waist up, I had a lot of
water to deal with. I don't think I could have handled the current if my pants legs
filled up. Wading is dangerous. Several anglers have died from mistakes. Many of
them were below dams but some of them were in other types of streams.

Now I hope I haven't scared those new to trout fishing or wanting to get started. I
talked to a nice gentleman from North Carolina yesterday, who has never fished for
trout before. He is retiring and he and his wife are moving to Tennessee only a few
minutes from the Smokies. He called to order a DVD. If you happen to read this sir,
please don't let me scare you. The ordeal above happened in Montana in a fairly
large river. It is safe to wade in the Smokies. You just need to use common sense
and don't take obvious, unnecessary chances.

I got off course with safety but it is very important. I will continue with wading
tomorrow. By the way, you
better get out on the water this weekend. Things
are changing fast.





Copyright 2009 James Marsh