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
7. Hendricksons and the Red Quills
8. Little Short-horned Sedges
9. American March Browns
Current Stream and Weather Conditions In The Smokies
We can't have our cake and it too. We can't have plenty of water in the streams of
Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the hot Summer months without
getting plenty of rain during the Spring months.
I planned on fishing an hour or two Monday but decided differently once I got out of
my vehicle. I didn't want to get hit in the head by a tree limb. Monday morning the
wind was almost calm, at least at my home just outside the park. At approximately
1:00 PM, at about the time I wanted to prepare to capitalize on the hatches, the wind
was gusting enough (over 30 MPH at times) to keep my out of the forest.
Yesterday morning, the announcer on the Knoxville radio station I was listening to
reported the skies were clearing and the rain was ending for the day. He probably
forgot he was inside a building. That was about 10:00 AM. Since the fronts normally
clear from west to east, thinking the rain would stop any time, I again hit the park
around 1:00 PM to try to catch a few trout. At least where I was located, it rained all
afternoon with only a very few short breaks. I didn't make a cast.
It's early this Wednesday, colder than normal morning and I expected exactly what
the park is reporting - snow in the higher elevations.
No, that isn't going to have much effect on the fishing conditions. I'm just always
amazed when it snows in the South in the middle of April. Anywhere outside of any
area that provides a view of the Smokies, snow capped mountains in the
Southeastern U.S., at this time of the year is something rare. It's going to be a
beautiful Spring day and I plan on taking another shot at the trout. Todays forecast
for Gatlinburg, from the National Weather Service, not a Knoxville radio station) is
for mostly sunny skies, with a high near 69 with calm wind becoming north around
Fishing of any type, something I have done for over 60 years, is almost always a
matter of overcoming the not so quite "perfect" conditions. Today, the not so quite
perfect conditions will be the higher water levels. I don't enjoy fighting the current
when I'm wading. It took many years, but I finally realized that whenever I picked a
fight with strong current, the current was always going to win.
The good news is that except for the slightly high water, the conditions should be
excellent for the next couple of days. The possible "not so good" conditions is the
National Weather Service is predicting an 80 percent chance of precipitation for the
Smokies for Friday night. Most likely that means the weekend anglers can look
forward to good conditions with continued slightly high stream levels. Unless there's
a huge swing in the long term weather, everyone can look forward to great
conditions this coming Summer.
American March Brown - Nymph - Part 2
As mentioned yesterday, the American March Brown nymphs are very plentiful in
the Smokies but they stay hidden and unavailable for the trout to eat most of the
time up until they hatch. I also mentioned the hatch takes place over a period of as
long as two months. I also mentioned these nymphs hatch for a long period of time
during the day or from morning until late afternoon.
That said, your odds are good for catching trout on imitations of the nymph anytime
during the two months duration of the hatch. My suggestion is that anytime you
notice some duns or spinners, even though the particular mayflies you are seeing
have already hatched, that you try fishing an imitation of the big nymphs. That
means the trout are used to seeing the nymphs because they have to abandon
their hiding places and become exposed in order to hatch. They move from the
crevices between the rocks and underneath the rocks on the bottom of the fast
water runs and riffles to slower water that's nearby where they can hatch. The trout
can easily observe this movement and that's the key time to imitate the March
Brown nymphs, as well as any of the other clinger nymphs for that matter.
You don't have any other way of knowing when this movement is occurring other
than knowing that some of the March Browns have recently hatched. If you know
anything about me, you know I don't like trial and error methods of fishing. In short,
that means I don't like relying on pure luck. I welcome luck when it happens, but I
never rely on it. Luck usually occurs when preparation meets opportunity.
You want to fish imitations of the March Brown nymphs as close to the bottom as
you can get them. Right on the bottom is great as long as you can keep from
hanging the fly on something other than a trout. You can't do that very well fishing a
strike indicator because the bottom of the fast water runs and riffles, where the
March Brown nymphs move from, isn't very level. When you fish an indicator, your
fly will drift at a relatively constant level and although you may catch a few trout
doing so, it isn't the most effective way to fish this type of nymph. You should watch
your fly line, leader for unnatural movements and/or feel the trout take the fly. "High
stickin" the fast water runs is an excellent way to fish this nymph.
It also helps if you fish a nymph that looks and acts a lot like the real March Brown
nymphs. Our "Perfect Fly" imitation of the American March Brown nymph is weighted
in the thorax area to help keep the fly down.
2011 James Marsh