08/02/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Little Sister Caddisflies (Abrams Creek)
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies - Summer Stones
4.    Slate Drakes
5.    Cream Cahills
6.    Little Green Stoneflies
7.    Ants
8.    Inchworms
9.    Beetles
10.  Grasshoppers
11.  Hellgrammite
12.  Cranefly
13.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)

Advice on Fishing Techniques, Strategies and Methods - Part 14
Continued from part 13
This continues with the subject of stalking large brown trout.

After you have found some likely locations (again this is best done on low water
conditions); spotted some large browns; or spooked some and marked their location
either mentally or with a GPS receiver, you can try to fool them into taking a fly.  

I have already mentioned using a nymph and streamer. That's the two most
productive types of flies but as with most other fishing done in the small freestone
streams of the Smokies, it gets down to presentation as much as anything. It takes
both the right fly and a good presentation.

Remember, I am not referring to large brown trout you may find during the Fall
spawning period. You wouldn't have found any large browns out in open water
during your hunt for their hideouts otherwise. If you actually spotted one, it was
jammed up under something or you spooked it. The only exception to this I can
think of is you stalked them at night and had some night vision gear I'm not familiar
with. I'm just joking.

If the location the brown trout was hidden (or the likely hiding spot) has water
between two feet and waist deep, with a good bit of current, and it is located within a
few feet (less than twenty lets say) then it probably would be best to use the "high
stickin" method. This situation must be such that you can approach the spot close
enough to make the  presentation without spooking the trout. The current and
depth of the water helps with that. A run that's close to an undercut bank, or a hole
up under a boulder ideal type locations for this. If you have any concern about
being able to do this without spooking the trout, don't use the "high stickin" method.
There isn't any sense in spoiling your chances. You should cast to the hideout.

First of all, I would never use a strike indicator for this simply because you would be
guessing at the depth. It would only serve to hinder a good presentation. You
wouldn't want the fly to drift by at the wrong level and/or the fish to spot the
indicator. If you haven't progressed beyond that skill level, you would most likely just
be waisting time trying to catch large brown trout. You should judge the amount of
added weight you should use as close as possible the first time. You probably won't
have two many opportunities to re-rig. The best shot you will have will be your first
cast.

If possible, make an upstream or an up and across presentation. Get the fly well
beyond the spot but not such that the fish could spot the fly line. If the presentation
is mostly upstream, then you would want only the leader to land near the fish. If you
must cast up and across, cast well above the target and mend the line to get a drag
free drift at the right level. Remember, a drag free drift is just as important fishing a
nymph as it is fishing a dry fly. Trout see nymphs and other things day in and day
out drifting downstream, under water at the speed of the current. If your nymph
drifts by at a faster speed, you probably won't fool the trout. If you are using a
streamer, that isn't as important. Baitfish and crayfish wouldn't necessarily be
drifting by at the speed of the current.

It's difficult to paint a perfect scenario. There are plenty of possible situations that
could be different and change the exact presentation you may need to use. There
could be some roots located just upstream of the hideout, for example. The
situation could be such that a downstream or down and across presentation would
be best. You just need to get the fly close to the fish or likely location at the right
level and speed. It's actually easier to use a streamer than it is a nymph. You can
get by with presentations that would be unlike that of a drifting nymph. The drift
could even be erratic. The streamer could be make to look like a fleeing baitfish by
adding action at the right point in the drift.

I'm not getting off into the techniques you can use fishing nymphs or streamers.
Those are different subjects Just remember you won't have many shots at the fish.
In fact you may not have but one. There's not one reason I can think of to rush the
approach or presentation. Take your time and plan it down to the fine details. Most
of the anglers I know that can accomplish catching large brown trout (outside of the
spawning period) with any degree of consistency, have worked at finding where
these large trout live for a long time. Many of them know hundreds of spots that
hold such trout. Many of them have spooked and even lost large browns from just
such places. Success at it takes a lot of time, preparation, planning and more than
anything, patients. This isn't for everyone. It requires a lot of time with low odds of
success even for those who are good at it. Most of the large browns that are caught
in the Smokies are caught during the time the trout are spawning. Catching them
even every once in a while otherwise, takes a lot of dedication to doing only that. I
guess it would be best described at trophy hunting and that isn't easy for any fish or
other animal species I know of.

If you have kept up or read the other 13 articles, then you know the purpose of this
series is to show that the three species of fish we call trout in Great Smoky
Mountains National Park are very different. Rainbows and brookies, and in the case
of the brown trout large and small ones, each behave differently. If you want to get
away from just relying on luck when you are fishing the Smokies, you need to look
at each of these as different pursuits. The more you know about the fish and the
food they rely on to survive, you better angler you will become.