Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Baetis) - sparse hatches
2. Blue Quills - hatching
3. Quill Gordons - hatching
4. Hendricksons - could start within a couple more weeks
5. Little Black Caddis - hatching
6. Winter Stoneflies - sparse hatches
7. Little Brown Stoneflies - hatching
8. Midges - hatching in isolated locations
9. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

Fishing High Water in the Smokies - Part 2

To fish the small streamers that were shown in yesterdays article, you don't
necessarily need a heavy fly rod. You can get by with a fairly stiff 5 weight fly rod.
By fairly stiff I mean one with a medium to fast action. Since rod manufacturers have
tended to get away from action and use "flex" descriptions, I guess I should say one
that flexes in the upper portion of the rod or more towards the tip. You will be much
better off with a six weight but it isn't absolutely necessary. Seven weights are good
for large streamers but the Marabou Sculpin streamers are very light and a seven
weight is an overkill unless you are trying to fish very deep water and have the
streamer weighted heavily.

There is no added weight to these streamers. It is convenient to just tie on a
streamer that has been tied with added weight on the hook shank and not have to
add any weight. The problem with doing that is if the weight is not the right amount
for the water you are fishing, it doesn't work good. If it is weighted to heavy, it will
not work good in shallow water. If it is not weighted heavy enough you will still have
to add weight. There is yet another problem with weighting some streamers on the
hook shank itself when they are tied. It can affect the action of the fly. That is the
case with the "Perfect Fly" Marabou Sculpin. They work much better if weight is
added a few inches above the fly on the tippet or leader.  It allows the fly to move
back and forth freely while the weight tends to hold the fly down where you want it.
The fly has a lot of action in the current even when it is not being moved by the line
or rod. The current moves the light fly in a lively fashion and the marabou materials
used in the fly make it even more noticeable. Of course being able to add weight to
the fly also allows you to control the depth for the particular current and depth you
are fishing.

I present these flies according to the depth and current. If the water is fairly shallow,
I tend to use a down and across presentation. Just mend the line a time or two to
help get it down when it first hits the water, depending on how much weight you
have added. Hold the rod tip still at about a sixty degree angle from the water and
allow the fly to swing around much like you would a soft hackle fly. When the fly is
directly downstream from the rod tip, make a few short strips against the current
before recasting.

If the water is fairly deep, a small run for example, cast it slightly up and across.
Mend the fly two or three times to help get it down and allow it to swing all the way
around to directly downstream. Make a few short strips before recasting. There is
really no wrong way to fish these flies. Just try to get them to where you think the
fish are.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh