Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little and baetis BWOs)
2. Little Yellow Quills
3. Slate Drakes
4. Needle Stoneflies
Most available/ Other types of food:
5. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Reviewing the Basics - Part 4
It is a fact that in most cases wading will help you catch more trout in the small streams of Great
Smoky Mountains National Park but before I discuss when and where it can help you, let me give
you a fair warning. Wading can also prevent you from catching trout in the Smokies. It is an easy
and fast way to spook trout. The trout can see you under the water as well as above the water.
They can hear your boots scrape the bottom or just moving sand and gravel. If you are in calmer,
slow moving water such as a pool, your wake can also spook trout.
The rule of thumb is to never wade unless it is necessary for you to get into position to make a
presentation to areas of the water you think trout are holding trout. If you can reach those areas
and get a good drift from the bank, by all means do so. Anytime you wade you are taking chances
on spooking trout that you may have been able to catch from the bank.
The problem with everything I have said so far is in many cases, more often than not, you will not
be able to present your fly to areas of the stream that are likely holding trout without wading. One
thing that makes it almost impossible to cast from the bank is the heavy growth of trees and
bushes along the banks of the streams. There are nine different species of rhododendrons that
live in the park and many of them completely enclose the small streams. In many areas there is
timber growing right up to the banks of the streams. This is great because if it did not have the
heavy tree and brush cover the streams would not support the trout that live in them. The water
would be too warm in most areas for trout to exist. They do keep you from casting along the banks
in most cases but all things considered, this is a very good thing..
Now don't take this wrong. Just because there are some trees along the bank don't mean you can't
cast from the bank. You can make all kinds of creative cast if you make an effort to learn to make
them. When you can, be certain to fish the water near the banks before you get into the water to
wade. About the biggest mistake you can make is just to walk up to a stream, wade out into the
center and start casting. You may have spooked trout right where you first stepped into the
stream. Always take you time. Stop and look at the water. Figure out your best approach to get to
the likely holding and feeding areas you intend to fish.
I am not the best person in the world to give out this tip but I will anyway. Never cast while you are
taking steps wading. You can't concentrate on both and you will eventually end up making bad cast
or tripping, stumbling or even falling. Stop casting and look at the water where you are wading. I
am often guilty of making this mistake. I catch myself doing it and stop, then forget and do it again.
I have also busted my you know what a few times - casting when I was wading. I hate to admit
this one, but I slipped off a rock on the bank in a hole under the heavy cover of rhododendron
bushes along Little River one time, got wet to the bone, could have drowned and I did lose my fly
rod, reel and line. The water was fairly high, I was looking at a good size brown trout a few feet
upstream and was determined to cast to it. I didn't look where I was stepping. I was too concerned
about casting. It knocked the breath out of me and turned my back black and blue. When I looked
up my rod was not in sight.
The bottom line is wading can be dangerous. Never wade when you question the water depth
or speed. Use the knee deep rule. Don't wade water over knee deep. Stop casting when you move
and look at the bottom ahead. Move slowly. There is no need to rush. Everyone has to get used to
wading the water. The more you wade, the easier it is to do. It alsouses some leg muscles you may
not often use if you do very much of it. Climbing up and down and over rocks gives you legs a
good workout. The water resistance in the current and weight of the waders and boots will tire you
out until you get used to it. Never wade when you are tired. That is a huge mistake. If you are tired
and give out and you have a problem such as slipping and falling, you do not want to be tired.
Wear a wading belt tight around your waist. If you fall in the water, it will run down into your
waders filling them with pounds of water. Try standing up with your waders full of water. The wading
belt will keep your legs and waste from filling up with water. I fell in the Madison River one time, just
above the three dollar bridge. I had a big rainbow on that I actually ended up catching, and was
moving downstream with the trout wading when I stepped off into a deep hole. I went completely
under the water except for the very top of my head. I have no idea how or even why I held the fly
rod. I was lucky to get back up because the current carried me about ten yards downstream as I
fought to regain my footing. I am totally convinced that if I did not have my wading belt on, I would
The entire episode is on video tape. I will never forget it. It took every ounce of energy I had. I
should have dropped the rod and I have no idea why I didn't. When I caught on and
got back up, it dawned on me I still had the fly rod and when I tightened the line, I found the trout
was still on. It was a solid eighteen inches long rainbow A bridge full of vehicles also watched that
little episode. Angie was running the camera from a tripod and was screaming to the top of her
voice. She could not have possible helped me. I did a stupid thing, wading in deep, swift water. I did
one thing right that I think saved my life. I had my wading belt on tight. From my waist up, I had a lot
of water to deal with. I don't think I could have handled the current if my pants legs filled up.
Wading is dangerous. Several anglers have died from mistakes made wading. Many of them were
below dams but some of them were in other types of streams.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
This instructional DVD illustrates how trout
can see you and your fly better than anything
ever shown on video.
Stalking Appalachian Trout