Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
2. Giant Black Stoneflies
3. Light Cahills
4. Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams)
5. Hendricksons/Red Quills
6. Little Short-horned Sedges
7. American March Browns
8. Eastern Green Drakes (Abrams)
9. Little Yellow Stoneflies
Most available - Other types of food:
10. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fly Fishing School - Tailwaters
Some of you have probably read this previously, but never-the-less, I will mention it again. Several years
ago, Angie and I produced an instructional DVD we called "Fly Fishing For Trout In Tailwaters". Although it
has sold several thousand copies over the last few years, it didn't take us long to figure out that we could
have come up with a better title for the program. We were asked by beginners time and time again, "what's a
tailwater". We should have called it "Fly Fishing For Trout Below Dams".
Most Southerners think of tailwaters that hold trout as streams below dams with water cold enough for trout
to survive that otherwise, would be too warm. That's because they discharge cold water from the bottom of
the lake or reservoir above the dam. If it wasn't for the dam, the water in the stream that formed the lake or
reservoir would be too warm to support trout. These types of tailwaters have created a habitat for trout that
would otherwise, never exist.
There are plenty of exceptions to the type of tailwater I just described. Many tailwaters that are fed from
bottom discharged dams would have been better trout streams if the dams were never built because the
water in the stream that formed the lake or reservoir was plenty cold enough to support trout before
construction of the dam. Many western tailwaters fit this category. Some dams discharge water from the
surface of lakes above the dams. Naturally, if they support trout, the stream that forms the lake and the lake
or reservoir water itself must stay cold enough year-round to support trout.
Without going into detail, in every case the construction of a dam changes the original habitat of the resident
fish population. Large sections of good smallmouth and largemouth bass streams have been destroyed and
changed into trout streams too cold to support bass. Trout were stocked below the dams. That written, in
most cases the lakes and reservoirs created by the dam provided an even better habitat for the warm water
species. In every case, the water below a dam usually gets warmer the further it travels from the dam. In
most cases, where trout have been stocked, at a point below the dam where the water again becomes warm
enough to support smallmouth, the population of fish will change from trout back to smallmouth. Provided
another dam isn't constructed, the water will eventually become warm enough to support largemouth bass
and other warm water species.
If you prefer trout, in many cases you may think a dam is a very good thing because otherwise, there
wouldn't be a population of trout to catch. In other cases, where the water was already cold enough to
support trout, trout anglers may think the dam destroyed a good trout stream. There's one thing about this
discussion. Whether or not the tailwater supports trout, bass or sailfish has never been a factor in the
construction of dams. They have all been built to provide electrical power, water for irrigation or
consumption, and/or for flood control purposes. They have even been built on streams where salmon and
steelhead were blocked from returning to their spawning grounds and in many cases, completely eradicated.
Some dams have created excellent trout habitat and provided opportunity that otherwise would never exist.
In some cases, looking at it purely from a fishing standpoint, dams were a good thing and in other cases, a
bad thing. In every case, in the eyes of an angler, it depends on what species of fish one prefers to catch.
I call all trout tailwates "part time trout streams" because in addition to nature, man is always involved in the
regulation of the flow of the water and trout are never the primary concern.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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