Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little and baetis BWOs)
Most available/ Other types of food:
3. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fly Fishing Strategies - Which Flies To Use - Through This Weekend
Because Christmas came on Tuesday, the day I normally do the weekly "Fly Fishing Strategy" article, I'm
running behind schedule. For that reason, I will call this one "Fly Fishing Strategies Through This Weekend".
Today's high in Gatlinburg will reach about 50 degrees from this morning's low of 25 degrees. There's a
slight chance of rain this afternoon. It will be this afternoon before the water in the lower elevations of the
park reaches much over 40 degrees and I doubt it goes over 45 all day today.
Tonight's low will only go down to 36 but there's a 100% chance of rain. Saturday's high will only reach 44
and there will be about a 60% chance of rain. That is going to put the streams back up on the high
side and keep them cold. I doubt the water temperature in the lower elevations of the park will go over 40
degrees all day Saturday.
Saturday night's air temp will go back down to 25 degrees but this time with plenty of moisture in the air that
will probably come in the form of a mixture of rain and snow. Sunday's high will only be 39 degrees. I doubt
the water temperature in the lower elevations of the park goes over 36 degrees all day Sunday.
The bottom line to the above is that blue-winged olives don't hatch in water under 45 degrees. The only thing
hatching will be midges.In water at the expected temperatures, the trout won't take midges from the surface
very well. In other words, you shouldn't be fishing a dry fly for the next three days. This isn't to say it's
impossible to catch a trout on a dry fly the next three days. I'm just saying the odds of much success are
very, very low.
Considering the fact that the water is currently high with more rain coming, the odds are good it will be even
higher and stained Saturday and Sunday. The procedure I outlined in yesterday's article may come in
very handy for those that want to try to catch a trout Saturday, and maybe Sunday. The odds will be better
on Saturday than Sunday.
Today, if you start before noon, I suggest you start with a cream midge larvae, size 20 or 22. This afternoon
(when the water get above 40 degrees) I would probably change to a Blue-winged Olive nymph, hook size 18
or 20. Other than that, I wouldn't change flies all day long. Fish slow moving water where you can't see the
bottom. The fish won't be in current. They may be holding in holes below areas of water with current, but not
in the current.
Saturday's strategy is a guess right now because we don't know what the water level situation, or the water
color will be. If it is too high to wade, and I'm betting it is, and with some stain to it, and I'm betting it has some,
use the procedure I outlined yesterday. Use a very small streamer (I would use a sculpin pattern) or the same
BWO nymphs I suggested for today.
Why BWO nymphs? Other than midges, there are more of them available for the trout to eat than any other
food. Basically, everything else is hidden down between and under the rocks on the stream bottom.
Sunday, assuming the water is still to high to wade, stick with the above procedure. If you can wade safely on
Sunday, fish a cream midge larva, keeping it right on the bottom out of current. If you see any midges on the
surface that are hatching or laying eggs, go to a cream midge pupa imitation.
You can catch trout in cold water on midges in the park the same as you can most anywhere else
in the nation. You won't catch any if you fish water with any current. Keep in mind that there are holes in the
stream's bottom below water with current that the trout may hold in. If you fish that type of water, weight the fly
down enough that your fly passes through those areas very slowly. You are better off probing the deep
pockets behind boulders; deep, calm pockets along deep banks; or the bottom of pools. Keep the tippet size
no larger than a 6X and use at least a nine foot leader.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh