Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3.    Little Brown Stoneflies
4.    Quill Gordons
5.    Blue Quills
6.    Little Black Caddis

The Basics of Fly Fishing Series - Choice One

Choice one is to learn enough of the basics to be able to enjoy fly fishing the
streams of the Great Smoky Mountains. On those occasions when conditions are
good, you should be able to do quite well and catch some trout. It should only take
you a few trips to get everything down well enough to be able to expect reasonable
When all the conditions are right, catching trout from the small,
fast pocket-water streams is about as easy as fly fishing for wild trout gets.

To do be able to do this, you will need to learn to be able to handle some of the
basic functions of fly fishing. You should learn to make short cast reasonably well.
This is much easier than most beginners expect it to be. You should be able to cast
well enough to fish the small streams of the Smokies in less than a day or two. Your
biggest problem will be keeping your fly out of the trees, not getting enough
distance. You should learn to rig your line, leader, and tippet and to tie on your

If you get someone to help you with a few basic things, like how to wade without
spooking trout, how to make short upstream cast and keep most of your fly line off
the water, how to mend your line to get a drag free drift, etc., you can shorten that
learning curve down into as little as two or three trips to the Smokies. You should
also be able to do quite well anywhere you are fishing stocked streams. If you select
your times with care and try to eliminate the times conditions aren't great (most of
the year), you should expect to be able to do well about half the time you fish the

Now, let me be very honest. You will be in that large group of around ninety percent
of all anglers that catch ten percent of the fish that I've previously written about.
There's absolutely nothing at all wrong with this approach. You will be in a group of
anglers that includes just about everyone that fly fishes for trout in the Smokies or
for that matter, anywhere else. Just like most of them, you just won't be able to do
so well during those periods of time that represents at least three-forth's of the year
when conditions aren't optimum.

I mean this only in a humorous manner, but when you don't do well, it won't take
you but a trip or two before your will be able to draw an excuse from that long list of
reasons for not catching the numbers and sizes of trout that you think you should
have been able to catch. You can always use the it was cloudy and rainy excuse,
and if that doesn't work, use the skies were bluebird clear excuse. There's always
the water was too cold or the water was too warm excuses.

You can even get sophisticated and above the level of thought most people will give
the subject by using excuses like the barometer was rising, and of course it that
doesn't work, you can fall back on the barometer was falling. Then there's the water
was high or low; the solunar table was good or bad; the acid rain was terrible, the
trout were not feeding opportunistically, and any one of a long list of other stock
excuses you can draw from. Before long, just as quick as anyone can ask about
your fishing, you'll be able to respond with local color using excuses like the tubers
were out, the bugs weren't hatching, my last Yellar Hammar fly tore up, someone
fished in front of me, otters were in the stream, Little River Fly Shop's Cow standing
factor was late getting posted, tourist kelp asking me questions and spooking the
trout, the wind was blowing very hard, falling leaves covered the water, it rained
most of the day, etc. You can even make light of a bad day and say something like
"I just wasn't holding my mouth right".
It shouldn't take but a trip or two for you
to completely escape reality and actually believe the excuses you are able
to come up with.
It's very easy to be able to fit right into the "ninety percent of the
anglers" category.

If you fall into this category, choosing successful fly fishing strategies will still be a
problem. It will include things like how to get off work early, how to avoid shopping
with the wife, how to avoid the Pigeon Forge traffic, how to disguise yourself and fish
for the pet trout under the patio at "No Way, Hose's Cantina" (with a guide) in
downtown Gatlinburg. You will learn how to avoid having to walk fifty yards to catch
trout, how to avoid bear attacks, how to dodge kayaks and float tubes, etc, etc. After
a few days or years of being a mediocre anglers you should will be able to obtain a
guide license when you retire or if you get laid off at the plant. Obama Health Care
is just around the corner.
Now I don't have any friends left.

2011 James Marsh