Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
3. Little Winter Stoneflies
4. Little Brown Stoneflies
5. Quill Gordons
6. Blue Quills
7. Little Black Caddis
Most available - Other types of food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fly Fishing School - Degrees of Fishing Success
Once you get a few basic things down pat, catching trout in the Smokies when conditions are great, isn't that
difficult. When conditions are great, catching trout from fast moving freestone, headwater streams anywhere
in the nation, isn't difficult. Catching trout consistently, day in and day out, regardless of the
conditions, can be difficult. If the amount of time to do so is limited to a few hours, there are times that
even the best of the best can fail to catch trout under adverse conditions.
Being consistently able to catch several or at least a few trout under highly adverse conditions, isn't always
an easy task, but it is always very possible. You cannot do it by just getting a few of the basics down pat.
This is what separates the good anglers from the mediocre ones.
Unlike what many novice anglers think, the difficulty of catching trout under adverse conditions has very little
to do with the trout. Wild trout in the streams of Great Smoky Mountains National Park eat each and
every day of their life and rarely get enough food. It has everything to do with your ability to present
them something they will take for food at the right place, at the right time, and in a natural manner.
Just for example, if the water temperature is 42 degrees, and the trout are holding in holes and other places
out of the current (something necessary for them to do to survive), they will still eat but presenting a fly right
in front of their nose, that's moving at the same speed the natural nymphs and larvae would be moving, isn't
an easy task.
If the areas the trout are holding in out of the current happens to be underneath fast to moderately moving
water (a very common, likely situation) getting the fly to move slowly on the bottom like a natural would be
moving is very difficult. To add to the problem, if you do succeed, and a trout takes your fly, it's usually
difficult to recognize it.
There's yet another added problem few anglers consider. Flies moving slowly on the bottom, drifting right up
to the nose of a trout, are clearly visible to the trout. They aren't grabbing a fast moving dry fly they barely
get a split-second glimpse of. They must be willing to eat something they clearly see coming from a good
distance away. They see real aquatic insect nymphs and larvae day in and day out for their entire life.
Doesn't it make common sense that a fly that looks like the things they see day in and day out is more likely
to be eaten than one that doesn't?
Maintaining constant control over the drift of the fly under these circumstances isn't easy. That's why an
almost vertical presentation, usually called high sticking, keeps most of the fly line out of the current and
helps one control the speed of the drift. Having this type of direct contact with the fly also helps one detect
Now, let me add an even more difficult, adverse condition to the above problem. If the stream levels are too
high for one to safely wade, you cannot use an almost vertical presentation like high sticking. When your
wading, your profile outside the water, the part the trout see through their window of vision, is limited to the
upper half of your body. If you wade carefully and slowly, this lets you get fairly close to the trout without
spooking them. Being partly below the water level, keeps your "out of the water profile" at a low angle to the
horizon and keeps you in the trout's blind zone, or at least their area of vision that's greatly distorted.
When your standing on a bank with your entire profile above the water, you have to be at least several feet
away from the trout to keep them from being able to see you. In other words, you can't be very successful
high sticking from a bank unless your able to get behind something that conceals you.
Let me abuse the king's language and say, to catch plenty of trout under both cold and high
water conditions, ain't easy. The only one I know that can catch trout under those conditions is my
favorite fly guide, Hank Patterson. He couldn't guide me this weekend because he is having to deal with
Simms for giving him a shirt with only part of a trout on it. I understand waders with holes in them, but half
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
New Schedule of Daily
Mondays: Weather and Stream
Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout
More Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing the park and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions.
Please allow up to 24 hours for a
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
will help you decide which flies you
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
them to you in time for your trip.
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