Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives (Little BWOs)
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Quills (
Heptagenia Group)
4.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Slate Drakes
7.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8.    Grasshoppers
9.    Ants
10.  Beetles
11.  Craneflies
12.  Great Brown Autumn Sedge

Some Basic Fly Fishing Tips for the Smokies
Looking at the weather forecast and stream level conditions for the next few days, I
noticed rain is out of the picture. There should be clear, bright blue skies today
through Sunday. Looking at the stream level data, and actually looking at the streams
yesterday, it's obvious the levels are low and based on the above forecast, they will
remain low through the weekend.

I know some out of town customers of ours will be visiting the park this week and this
weekend and some of them are fairly new to fly fishing. I know that many of you that
will read this article already know every tip I will list below. I also know some of you
won't know all of them. My most frequent criticism is that in many of my how to type of
articles, I often fail to provide the basics. In this case, I'm trying to avoid that. I just
hope that those that know every tip I list below, won't hold it against me and continue
to visit our site.

There's two basic problems about fishing low water on bright clear days. One is that
if the trout see you before they eat your fly, you won't hook them. The other is they
will get a good look at the fly you use.

Problem One:
In respect to the trout seeing you, here's a few standard tips:
Wear clothes that match your surroundings. Avoid bright, flashy colors and stick with
drab, subdued shades of colors. The best will be olives and other shades of green
and grays.

Avoid the chartreuse, bright orange and other bright colored fly lines. An olive green
is a good color of fly line.

Use 6X, 9 foot leaders or even smaller if and only if you are familiar with fishing the
very light stuff.

Don't let your shadow spook the trout. That will spook them as much as anything else.

Stay as low as you can. Don't get up on top of high boulders and banks where the
trout can see you and expect to catch them.

When you move, move as slow as you can. Sudden movements spooks trout as much
as anything.

Approach the fish in an upstream direction. They will be looking upstream and you
want to slip up behind them.

Problem Two:
The other problem that low water creates is that except for plunges and steep
gradient declines, the water will be moving slower than normal and the trout will get a
good look at your fly, tippet, leader and fly line more so than they will when the water
levels are much higher.

Yesterday, I had an email from a guy fishing the Potomac River ask me "what flies
should I throw at the trout". Well, under the current stream and weather conditions, I
suggest you throw nymphs at them. Keep them small #18's, for example. As
mentioned in my last few strategy articles, I suggest a nymph that imitates the
Blue-winged Olives.
Here's our Perfect Fly imitation. They may not provide the
excitement that the dry fly will, but you will catch more provided you fish the nymph
reasonably well.

If you don't catch trout on the fly I'm suggesting, your doing something wrong. Your
probably spooking the trout. There's no need to start changing flies and trying this
and that. That just reduces your odds of success. At this time, there's more of these
nymphs in the streams than anything.

Keep the nymph as close to the bottom as possible. Add split shot to it a few inches
above the fly. Fish it in all the deepest areas of the stream you see. Fish it under the
white water at plunges.

You will do better without an indicator or dropper rig, but only if you can fish the
nymph without them. It's best to practice and learn to do that. If you cannot control the
fly, detect strikes well and feel uncomfortable doing this, use an indicator. Try a big
foam hopper on top and drop the nymph below it as deep as you can and not hang
up frequently. You may also try a very small strike indicator if you prefer.

If you see something hatching, or laying eggs on the surface of the water, go to a dry
fly that imitates the insect as close as possible. It would be one of the above insects or
otherwise, exist in extremely low quantities. If you don't see something hatching, keep
using the nymph.

If your new at this, you should do better fishing the high elevation brook trout streams
than anywhere else. If you fish one of these streams, use our
Little Yellow Quill Dun,
size 16, and late in the day use our
Needle Stonefly nymph, size 18.  

If you see any yellow mayflies on the water late in the day, go to the Little Yellow Quill
spinner. If you see any Needle Stoneflies late in the day on the surface, go to the
Needle Stonefly Adult.

You shouldn't need anything else to do well.  

Copyright 2011 James Marsh