Fishing Cold Water - Part 5
Please Note: If you have not read the first four articles I have written about fishing
cold water, this will probably not make as much sense to you as it should.
I mentioned that trout change their habitat when the water becomes very cold and
the two basic areas trout inhibit during very cold water in the streams of the
Smokies. These were pools and slow moving water that is hidden under fast water
on the surface. This article pertains to the pools, not the slow water under fast
You can sneak up on just about any of the larger, deeper pools in the Smokies
during the winter and observe trout. This is not difficult to do if you keep the trout
from spotting you and you use the right shade of polarized sunglasses for the
lighting conditions. If you will carefully look at the water, you will usually see at least
one and often several trout. If the temperature of the water is in the low forties, they
most likely will not be rising to the surface to feed. Often, the trout's shadow is the
first thing you will spot. It is easier in some cases, depending on the light, to see the
trout's dark shadow on the bottom than the trout itself. The rainbows are the easiest
ones to spot.
The larger browns are very difficult to see. They are usually hidden under boulders
or in the crevices of the rocks and boulders. They can appear to be the same
shades of color of the bottom and don't stand out well in most all cases. Sometimes
the smaller browns are out and visible along with the rainbows, but most of the time
the browns will be hidden, especially if it is a bright clear day. There are exceptions
to this. One is anytime during the pre and post spawn periods of time. This creates
an entirely different situation. It is possible to spot large browns out and about
during the upstream migration, the actual spawning period and after the spawn has
taken place The brown trout will eat the newly hatched fry.
The other exception to the large browns being hidden, is during times of low lighting
conditions such as heavily overcast days or either early or late in the day before
the sun has risen or after it has set. They may not necessarily be hidden under
these conditions. Brown trout are nocturnal and feed mostly at night but they will
roam around to feed during low light conditions anytime of the year. The problem is
that the low light also makes it more difficult for you to spot them. This takes a
different shade of glasses and lots of time and patients.
You will not see much activity if the water is cold as I described. The trout will move
around very little if any. The problem becomes getting the fly to the trout without
them seeing you (noticing your movements); spooking them when your fly line lands
on the water; spotting your leader and accepting your fly for something to eat. To
put it in very simple terms, it is very difficult under most conditions. It is almost the
exact same thing you face when you are fishing very clear, spring creeks that have
slow to moderately flowing water.
The first thing you have to do, it to decide which trout you are going to try to catch.
If you see two or three rainbows in an area, for example, you shouldn't try to cast
among them and see which one may be interested in your fly. You should select
one and only one to try to catch.