12/19/10

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3.    Midges


Tailwaters Near the Great Smoky Mountains
Recently, I have had some email questions from site visitors asking about their
options available to them should the streams in Great Smoky Mountains National
Park be blown out or too cold to fish. It's rare the streams are too cold to fish but it
happens. There were a couple of days this past week when the Little Pigeon River
had a lot of ice on it in its slower sections and larger pools. There were also a
couple of days when the water was off-color and high from rain and melting snow, or
what I call a Southern Run Off. Fortunately, there are usually some good options
when this happens. On both sides of the park, meaning North Carolina and
Tennessee, there are several tailwaters that usually offer an alternative location for
fly fishing. For those of you that are just learning to fly fish, I will point out the reason
for this is that the water discharged from the vast majority of dams in this area
comes from the bottom of the lakes they dam. Water in the bottom of the deeper
lakes is usually warmer than the surface water of the lake and it's usually fine for
trout temperature wise. Unless the water is being discharged at a high rate, most of
the tailwaters offer excellent fly fishing opportunities during the coldest winter days.

I'm sure 90% of my readers are well aware that you should check on the planned
releases prior to traveling to a tailwater to fish. Some of them can be fished from the
bank and by wading when there's only a small amount being discharged but for the
most part, substantial releases prohibits wading.

When you cannot wade, as well as when you can wade in most cases, you have the
option of using a boat in most local tailwaters. A couple of those listed below could
be fished using a canoe or a small pontoon boat at times, but most of them would
be better fished from a standard drift boat.

These are some of the nearest tailwaters to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The driving time greatly depends on where you start from, of course.

Tennessee:
Hiwassee River (2-3 hours)
Caney Fork (2 -3 hours)
Clinch River (1-2 hours)
Holston River (1 to 2)
South Holston River (2-3)
Watauga River (2-3)

North Carolina:
Tuckasegee River (1-2)
Nantahala River (1-2)

Georgia:
Chattahoochee (3-4)

I listed the Chattahoochee River only because I got an email from Lamster at
www.georgiaflyguide.com last night about the delayed harvest section of the
tailwater. Lamster and one of his guides took their own personal fishing trip when we
finally got a break in the harsh weather near the end of the week. They managed 27
trout in the short time they fished. In addition to being a fine fly fishing guide,
Lamster (Steve) is an excellent photographer. His pictures taken from many of his
eastern and western fly fishing trips help make our Perfect Fly website the popular
site it is. Here are some images of the trip they took this week.





















































































Copyright 2010 James Marsh