Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives (See Below)
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies - Summer Stones
4.    Slate Drakes
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Little Yellow Quills
7.    Ants
8.    Inchworms
9.    Beetles
10.  Grasshoppers
11.  Hellgrammite
12.  Craneflies
13.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)

Back To The Basics - Strategies:
We are leaving a quick link to Friday's article since it deals directly with fishing
the Smokies through this holiday weekend or Sept. 6th.

Current Conditions In The Smokies:
The weather has been absolutely beautiful. Sometimes beautiful weather isn't the
best thing for fly fishing for trout but it sure beats the extremely hot weather we
experienced for so long. We have had blue bird skies the last couple of days. That
always reduces the number of insects that hatch; keeps the brown trout well hidden;
and in general, makes it a little tougher to catch trout. The average daily
temperatures are much lower than they have been. The water is much cooler than  
it has been in a long time and the trout are in a better feeding mode. The only
complaint, or I should say excuse, anglers could possible have is the water levels
are generally low. That makes it more difficult for many anglers to catch trout. I will
assure you of one thing. If any anglers are having difficulty in catching trout, they
will come up with a good reason for it. Since the only thing I can think of that could
affect the success of anglers is low water, I will offer thoughts about the subject.

Trout become much easier to spook when the streams are low. One of the things
that gives them a sense of security is adequate water depth. My buddy Tom Mann
wrote a book entitled "Think Like A Bass". In this case, if I tried to think like a trout, I
think I would think (how's that for good grammar) I would be far more cautious under
low water conditions than I normally would be. In reality, they are more exposed to
their predators under low water conditions.

Although the larger streams usually have some pools that are deep even when the
water levels are low, the smaller streams may not have. It depends on the particular
stream and particular location on the stream. In many cases, the relatively shallow
cover a brown trout may normally use isn't available. This is especially true with
undercut banks. Low water can change the normal whereabouts of the trout to
some extent. Rainbows are notorious at hiding under the white water of plunges but
low water means slower water and slower water means less turbulence in the riffles
and plunges. Naturally, the area of water at any given depth in a stream becomes
reduced under low water conditions. This tends to concentrate the trout. In that
respect, low water makes it easier to determine where the trout are in many cases.

You will often hear anglers say that the low water makes it much easier for
the trout to see you. That actually isn't true at all.
A trout can see more of the
surroundings of his outside World in deeper water than they can when they are
shallow. This is yet another reason they become easier to spook in shallow water.
They can see less of what is going on around them outside of the water. This fact is
due to Snells Circle. I won't go into that because i have very recently done just that.
If you don't understand it, you are far from being capable of understanding anything
about what a fish can and cannot see. You need to go back to the basics.

Anglers that are use to fishing the small, fast water freestone streams are in
general, far less capable of catching trout under low water conditions that anglers
that are use to fishing slick, smooth flowing tailwaters and spring creeks, in most
cases. Smoky Mountain anglers are use to making very short upstream cast. They
normally get within twenty feet or less of the trout they are trying to catch. This
becomes far more difficult to pull off under low water conditions where there is less
current than there is under normal water levels. Methods of fishing, like "high
stickin", also become far more difficult to accomplish under these conditions.
other words, if you continue to fish like you normally fish, you will have a
very difficult time for sure.

Everything you need to do under low water conditions in the Smokies is standard
procedures for spring creek anglers, especially those that fish the slow moving,
smooth flowing clear spring creeks that have few, if any, riffles. The bottom line is
you must stay hidden from the trout in both cases. If they become aware of your
presence, they probably won't be in an eating mood.

I actually enjoy fishing low water conditions because I can get around in the streams
much better than I can when the water is at a normal level, and far better than I can
when the water is high. It requires far less skill to catch trout in fast water simply
because (a) it is much easier for you to stay hidden from the trout and (b) they have
a much shorter time to examine your fly.

I haven't given any tips or advice about fishing low water conditions. Many of you
probably know most of the standard tips on fishing low water. Many anglers just
simply don't follow them. All of us finds it takes more effort and thought to do so. I'll
get into this tomorrow.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh