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

Current Conditions In The Smokies:
Some of the streams are getting rather low again. Little River seems to have
received less rain than any major stream in the park although I haven't seen them
all. I did see the middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River (Greenbrier); the West
Prong of the Little Pigeon River; and the East Prong of Little River yesterday
although I didn't fish. The Middle and West Prongs of Little Pigeon River appeared
almost normal. It's obvious they have received more rain from the isolated
thunderstorms lately.

It's continuing to be very hot for the mountains. The high temperature in Gatlinburg
is going to stay in the middle nineties most of the week. There will be only a small
chance of rain all week until Thursday when it only increases to about 40 percent. If
you fish, stay high in the brook trout streams where the water temperature is cool. It
should be fine as long as your above 3500 feet or better. If you fish any lower do so
very early in the morning.

Top Tips On The Basics - Casting and Presentation In The Smokies

1. Check behind you before you make a cast:
Your first and foremost basic concern about casting should be to keep your fly from
hanging up in a tree, bush or on the bank. Always check behind you before making
a cast. If something is there that your fly can catch, change the direction of your
back cast or move as necessary to prevent hanging up. Hanging up is a waste of
time and sometimes a waste of your flies.

2. Make short cast:
It would be a rare occasion that anyone would need to cast over thirty feet in the
Smokies. You average cast should be more like fifteen to twenty feet than thirty. If
you are using a seven and a half foot, or a nine foot tapered leader, with a two foot
long tippet, then your overall leader/tippet would be 9 and a half to 11 feet long. A
fifteen foot cast leaves only about 4 or 5 feet of fly line out of the rod tip. That's
enough line to cast that short of a distance but also, not enough for your fly line to
be on the water to become caught in the normal conflicting currents.

By "conflicting currents" I mean currents that are flowing at different speeds and
directions that will catch the fly line and instantly cause your fly to drag across, or
through the water, faster than the current it's in. Unless the fly line drags the fly, the
current determines where your fly is going irrespective of whether it's on the surface
or below the surface. The more fly line you have in the water, the more difficult it is
to get the drag free drift we mentioned yesterday. Just a note: For now, you may be
thinking that making that short of a cast that you will spook the trout. It won't if you
approach the area the right way. This is a product of how you wade and approach
areas that may hold trout. This will come later.

3. Don't just cast at the stream. Focus on one spot on the water:
Try to picture the way your fly is going to drift after it hits the water before casting.
Will it drift into something that it will hangup on, or into white, turbulent water that will
sink your dry fly. Pick out the area you want the fly to drift in - for example, where
the bubbles are drifting from yesterday's tips. Keep your eyes on a certain area of
water where you want your fly to land and try to place the fly exactly there. You will
need the experience later when you are trying to get the fly to land in an exact spot.
If you don't focus on accuracy from the beginning, you may never be able to make
accurate cast. With short 15-20 foot cast, you should learn to make a fly land within
an inch or two of the target.

4. If your fly lands in the wrong place, allow it to finish the drift before
re-casting it.
If it's going to hang up, you may have to pick up the line and make another cast
quickly, but keep in mind that just picking line and leader up off the water to make
another cast can spook fish nearby. You want to make as few of cast in any one
area as you can which brings up the next tip.

5. Make the first cast count:
Your best chance of getting a trout to take your fly will be the first cast you make to
any given area of water. Take your time and make it count.

5. Don't make a cast while you are trying to walk or even taking a step.
This causes lots of problems. Stand still during the cast and wait until the drift ends
before you progress upstream or take a step. I have to stop and correct myself
about this every once in a while. Not only will it hinder your cast from landing on
target, it may cost you a fish trying to set the hook being off balance wading.

6. Hold your fly rod tip high:
If you keep the tip of your fly rod high in the air, or pointed at about a 10;00 o'clock
position, only about half of the leader would be in the water and none of the fly line.
This will keep line off the water and help keep your fly line out of the conflicting
currents. You should also keep it pointed in the direction of the fly, not sideways to  
the drift.

7. Cast just left or right of directly upstream:
This will allow your fly to pass over or through water that isn't directly downstream,
in line with your leader. The fish will see the fly without the leader passing over it.
This is called slightly up and across, meaning slightly up and across the direction
the current is flowing.

8. Try to avoid casting across current seams:
If you cast across a current seam, or two areas of water flowing at different
directions or speeds, your fly line, leader or tippet will quickly drag your fly through
or across the top of the water. Try to position the fly such that it drifts down the
current seam to one side of the seam. There are other ways to avoid the fly
dragging or other ways to get a drag free drift (curve cast, reach cast, etc.), but if
you are just starting, they are casting maneuvers that you should learn a little later
on. We will also get into how you can correct the drift or how to mend the line soon.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh