Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. Slate Drakes
2. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Summer Stones)
3. Needle Stoneflies
4. Mahogany Duns
5. Little Yellow Quills
Most available - Other types of food:
6. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
7. Inch Worms
Smoky Mountains - Low Water Tactics - Part 1 of 2
I started this article yesterday due to problems some anglers are having with the low
water. I will begin by repeating the paragraph I wrote yesterday.
1. The general accepted length of the combined leader and tippet for fly fishing the
streams of the Smokies is 71/2 feet. Some would say 9 feet. In higher, faster flowing
water, such as what you normally have in the Spring (and we have had for most of the
Summer this year), that's correct. That range (71/2 to 9 feet) is the best length. Under
low, slow flowing, clear water conditions, it isn't. In most situations you should be using
at least a 12 foot combined leader and tippet length.
With water levels higher than what you find in late Summer and early Fall, you would
normally make short, upstream cast, keeping your fly line off the water as much as
possible to help control drag. With low water levels in the streams, except for the pools
and maybe a few deep holes, the water is usually only a foot or two deep. If you make
a short, upstream cast standing in a foot or two of water, your going to scare most
trout within that short range. Even if the surface of the water is broken, your
movements making the cast will spook trout in shallow water. Objects that move
suddenly spook trout whether they are blurred by current and a broken surface or not.
You need to make much longer cast than you normally do with good water levels.
It never ceases to amaze me just how little most anglers know about how trout see
things outside the water. They view everything through a window, the size of which
depends on the depth of water they are in. The see everything else outside that small
circle as a reflection of the bottom. I'm not going into this because it is too involved
and beyond the scope of what I want to point out.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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You need to stay below the ten degree angle shown above to be completely hidden from a
trout. The outside edge of the window distorts the view the trout gets of the world outside the
water but anything that's much more than approximately 20 degrees above the surface of the
water is going to be seen by the trout. It doesn't matter how deep the trout is, it doesn't change
the angle above the water that they can see. It just changes the size of the window of vision.
The deeper they are, the larger the diameter of the window of vision will be.
Movement spooks the trout more than a still object and I don't care if you wear all camouflage
clothing, cover your face with smut, when you cast, the trout will notice it. It certainly helps to
wear subdued colors of clothing (camo is even better) but that doesn't solve the problem at all.
It only helps.
For example, a six foot tall man, wading in water three feet deep, is only three feet above the
water. If he is walking around on rocks and wading one foot of water, he is 5 or 6 feet above
the water level. In other words, he will need to be much further away from the trout to keep
from being seen.
Stay as low as possible and make longer cast using longer leaders and tippets.
Use a 6X tippet for your dry flies and 5 for your nymphs. Some leader and tippet manufacturers
want to fool anglers with marketing gimmicks. A 6X tippet should be a 6X tippet, not a 5X tippet
in a 6X package to make the angler think their 6X leaders or tippets have a higher breaking
strength than others. Make sure you have a small diameter tippet and with plenty of elasticity.
Never, completely straighten the leader and tippet out. You will either get instant drag or line
the trout your trying to catch. Make reach cast and in some cases slack line cast or curve
cast. I'll explain more on this tomorrow.
The fly line, leader and tippet needs to land lightly and without making a disturbance. In other
words, a good presentation. Fishing shallow water, you should avoid mending the line on the
water as much as possible. Mend it in the air.