9/30/09
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
3.   Little Yellow Stoneflies
4.   Slate Drakes
5.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
6.   Little Yellow Quills
7.   Needle Stoneflies
8.   Beetles
9. Grasshoppers
10. Ants
11. Crane Flies
12. Helligramite
13. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

The Learning Process - Part 67
First, let me correct an error in yesterday's article. When I was choosing a fly for
"High Stickin", I listed what would be the most available and easiest to acquire food
for the trout at the time. I included Sculpin and Crawfish which you wouldn't imitate
with a nymph, or using the "High Stickin" method. They would be best imitated with a
streamer.  

Next, let me answer some email that others may also have questions about. I would
not use a strike indicator. It shouldn't be used with the "High Stickin" method
because you want to be able to keep the fly on or near the bottom that varies
considerably. The indicator would allow you to only fish a predetermined depth.

Two people asked what would I do if the lighting conditions were not low, the water
was clear and I wanted to catch a large brown trout during a time of year the trout
were not in the pre-spawn stage. The answer is, I would tell myself to quit dreaming
and fish for something else. Seriously, under normal circumstances, your odds of
catching a large brown from clear water on a blue bird type day in Great Smoky
Mountains National Park would be very low.

I will continue with my suggestions for fishing for large brown trout during high
water, low-light conditions. Keep in mind, these suggestions don't apply during
pre-spawn conditions, or during the time brown trout are moving upstream to
spawn. Assume it's a heavy overcast or rainy day, and the water is higher than
normal, but not out of the banks. Let's also assume the water has some color to it,
but that it's not highly stained. Let's also assume that the water is too swift and high
for safe wading. Under these conditions I would fish a streamer. I would want the
streamer to imitate what was the most available and easiest to acquire food. I
named that in yesterday's article - sculpin and crawfish. I would also add minnows
such as the Black Nose Dace to the list because the trout would not be hiding under
these conditions. They would be out roaming around searching for food and would
be more likely to encounter minnows than when they were in their hiding places.

When the water is high, it is also swift in many places. You may see areas of white
water. The runs and riffles would be flowing fast and strong. Even so, you would
also see calm areas of water in some areas of the stream. Often these areas would
be in pockets along the bank. That is where I would concentrate placing my
streamer fly. I wouldn't cast it in the fastest moving water. I would want to hit the
moderate and slow water areas of the stream near the banks. The reason I say
"near the banks", is because if such an area existed several yards out in the
stream, the fast water would grab your fly line and drag it unnaturally fast when you
tried to fish such a spot. Crawfish and sculpin wouldn't react the way your fly would.

You would want to place the fly wherever you could find moderate to slow moving
water near the banks, including eddies. The area along the banks would have to be
clear of bushes and trees to the point you could cast from the bank. It is best to
cast the streamer upstream, or up and slightly across. That way you could allow it to
get down in the water column some and drift downstream naturally. It should swing
all the way around. The closer the fly gets to you, the higher you should raise the
rod. It should swing around and continue downstream as you lower the rod. You
wouldn't want any slack in the line, because you would want to detect the strikes by
feeling the trout take the streamer. The idea is to cast the streamer wherever you
could cast from the banks and hit areas of moderately flowing water without the fly
line having to pass over fast or swift water.

If the water was completely out of the banks, you could still probably find a few
areas where you could cast a streamer where the trout may be feeding. Keep in
mind that the large brown trout would not likely be feeding below the fast water.
They may be there, but that is not where they would prefer to feed. They wouldn't
be holding in the fast water either. They would most likely feed in pockets, or any
area the water was moving moderately or slowly.

If the water was completely out of the banks, the best time to fish the stream would
be when the water began to fall. At that time, I would concentrate on fishing areas
where the surrounding terrain was draining back into the streambed. Very small
streams will usually form in the lowest areas along the banks and drain the water
back into the stream. Some would be little more than trickles and others would be
drainages with enough current to wash all kinds of terrestrial insects into the
stream. Beetles and ants would be the two main things that would attract fish.   
Baitfish are also attracted to such places. The large brown trout are attracted to the
smaller fish. You would want to fish your streamer fly into and at the end of the
current flowing from the banks into the stream. Unless the water is fairly deep, the
larger trout may not be holding in the tiny stream. They usually stay out in the
stream and dart in and out feeding on the smaller fish that are feeding on the food
being washed into the stream.
Copyright 2009 James Marsh