Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
2.   Little Black Winter Stoneflies
3.   Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish
4.   Midges

Basics of Fly Fishing - Trout Food Series - Fishing Streamers - Part 2

When the water is very cold, meaning in the mid to high thirties, trout need little
food because they are almost lethargic. Think about it. In still water that is 32
degrees for very long, you want have to catch them. You can chop them out of the
ice. In the mid to high thirties, they are very sluggish and therefore, move about
little and expend little energy. They need only a small amount of food under those
conditions. The idea is to fish small flies that imitate small items of food and to fish
them in close proximity to the fish. They will not move very far, if at all, to eat a fly.  

When the water temperature gets into the low forties, their activity increases. When
it is in the high forties to low fifties, they become active enough to move a good
ways to eat and will even eat flies on the surface of the water. All of the above is
based the trout's need for food. However, as I said above and in yesterday's article,
there are other reasons a trout will eat a fly.

Trout will sometimes hit a streamer is very cold water. They will even do it when the
water is very clear and they can see the streamer well. There's one thing for certain
though. Unless it's during the spawn, the trout will not go very far to eat it. In fact, it
usually won't move but a few inches at the most to eat it. I think these types of
strikes are those instinctive or reflex type of strikes.

Under normal conditions, when the water is in the high forties or higher,the shorter
time a trout has to see a streamer, the more likely it is to hit it. If the water is slightly
off color, or has a stain to it, the streamer fishing always picks up. The same is true
when you are fishing a streamer during low light situations. This is because given
enough time, the trout can determine the streamer isn't food.

I have always said a fish will hit any artificial lure or fly best or most frequently, when
it can only see it well enough to think it's real. Under normal water temperatures,
you want the fish to only have a quick glimpse of a streamer. Of course, they have
to see it to hit it, but the better they can see it, and the longer they can see it, the
less likely they are to eat it.  Like anything else in fishing, there can be exceptions
to this. Certainly hunger is going to be a factor in it.

There are two basic ways to fish a streamer for trout in the streams of Great Smoky
Mountains National Park and anywhere else, for that matter. One is to sight fish the
streamer, or present it only to fish you can see and have stalked. The other way
and most common way, is to fish for trout you cannot see in the most likely holding
areas. I'll go over some methods I use to do this tomorrow.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh
This is our "Perfect Fly"
Bead Head Olive Bugger
Leech. It is one of the oldest
flies ever that we have
modified to make it even
better. You should see
some differences in the
body of the fly and a dab of
added attraction or glitter.
We have it with and without
the bead.