Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
3.   Little Yellow Stoneflies
4.   Slate Drakes
5.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
6.   Little Yellow Quills
7.   Needle Stoneflies
8.   Beetles
9. Grasshoppers
10. Ants
11. Crane Flies
12. Helligramite
13. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

The Learning Process - Part 66
So far, I have outlined two different scenarios you would use to scout for large
brown trout. The first one was to determine where the trout normally live and hide
during the daytime, and the second one was how to find them when they are on the
move upstream to spawn. Now I will discuss ways to fish for them in both of these
scenarios beginning today with some methods and techniques to use to catch them
from their normal daytime homes.

Since the large browns are nocturnal, you would naturally want to fish for them in
the closest daytime conditions you could find to complete darkness. That would be
during heavy, cloudy conditions (with or without rain) and early and late in the day.
Now the problem with the later in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the
restrictions don't allow you to fish earlier than 30 minutes before official sunrise or
later than 30 minutes after official sunset. In the case of sunrise, that can be okay
sometimes but it isn't really worth the effort or trouble in the afternoons, especially
during the summertime. There just isn't much time when the lighting conditions are
very low within 30 minutes of sunset. The only exception may be a rainy afternoon.

Now as mentioned before, the low light conditions are important because the large
browns may come out of their normal hiding places to feed under these conditions.
Let's assume that it is a very cloudy, rainy day. That isn't difficult for many of you
because up until yesterday, that is the situation we had for days. Knowing that it's a
rainy day makes anyone familiar with the Smokies first be concerned with water
levels. If the levels are much higher than normal, these large trout may behave
differently than they would if the levels are normal or low.

Under normal or low water conditions, I would guess that the large brown trout
would still not be brave enough to venture into shallow riffles and certainly not
brave enough to feed on the surface. As I have said previously, that would be a
rare thing for a large brown trout to do. My guess is that the large trout would hang
around close by their normal hiding places under these conditions. I would think
they would feed in the deeper runs and pools near their daytime hideouts but not in
shallow riffles, for example.

If the water was high, stained and nearly out of the banks, they may very well move
around in places they would normally not be found. They may feed very near the
banks where the water has covered previously dry ground. When that happens,
there will be a lot of terrestrial insects in the water that normally wouldn't be there.
Ants and beetles get in the water under these conditions. Earthworms crawl out of
the ground to escape the water and can become trout food.

When the water is at a normal or low level, but it is a dark, cloudy or rainy day, this
would be my suggestions. First of all, under these conditions there is far less light
early and late in the day than there is at noon, for example, and I would still be
inclined to fish early and late even if it was a dark, overcast day. Doubting that the
trout would venture into shallow water under these conditions, I would fish a nymph
in water near the places I would expect a large brown to hide during the day under
bright light conditions.

I would use the "High Stickin" method, placing the nymph near undercut banks and
anywhere I thought there may be an underwater crevice or cave like area where a
large brown could hide. If I had previously scouted the water for such places like I
suggested a day or so ago, then I would already know exactly where I would want to
fish. That would be the ideal situation. If I had not previously scouted the area for
these types of places, I would just try to guess where they would be. The undercut
banks, logs, tree tops in the water, etc., would be rather obvious, but you would be
guessing where their underwater hiding places would be. I would fish all the deepest
places near any type of cover including boulders and large rocks.

I would use a nymph that imitated what I though was the most available food and
easiest to acquire food for the large trout at the time. A normal list would be Sculpin,
Crawfish, Giant Black Stonefly nymphs (these live for 2 to 3 years), larger Golden
Stonefly nymphs, and Slate Drake nymphs. I would not fish double, tandem or
dropper rigs. I would weight the fly using lead split-shot a few inches above the fly,
using enough weight to keep in on the bottom. I would rig this on a 9 foot, 2X leader
using a 3 or 4X tippet. I would use a 6 weight, floating fly line, using a medium fast
or fast action fly rod with a slightly stiff tip. I would want a fly reel with a very good
drag that adjust in fine increments. See example flies I would use:
Sculpin, Crawfish,
Giant Black Stonefly Nymph, Golden Stonefly Nymph, Slate Drake Nymph

Tomorrow, I will get into the methods I would use to fish for them under low light,
high water conditions.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh