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jross
01-29-2010, 10:12 AM
I've been thinking about this.... I got a lot of replies to my "spring flies" question... Some people like type A, others don't use type A but like fly B...So does type of fly matter that much? Or is it more about technique/skill of the fisherman? Won't these fish pretty much eat anything that looks like a bug if it gets near?....(just an observation in the form of questions? )

Hugh Hartsell
01-29-2010, 10:48 AM
Jross,
It is hard to over emphasize how important presentation and technique are. By the same token, it is very important to know what flies are hatching and just what insects the fish are keying on. The fish in the mountain streams are more opportunistic than tailwater fish and they tend to take almost any good presentation that passes by them. However, if you carry this thought into any type of fishing that you might do, get ready to have some days on the tailwaters that are humbling. This can also happen on streams like Cataloochee or the Davidson River.
Try to perfect your presentation first of all, and be very aware of the insects that you observe on the stream. It's not too hard to identify something like a Little Yellow Sally and match it with a good yellow Caddis pattern. It is a little harder to present that pattern in a light and delicate way to that nice brown that is slowly feeding back under an over hanging log that goes almost into the water. Work on both of these things but get the presentation down to an art.
Hugh

Knothead
02-02-2010, 09:10 AM
I have had my best luck with an #12 or 14 Elk Hair Caddis or #14 or 16 pheasant tail. I don't carry a lot of flies when I fish the park (which is not often enough).

MadisonBoats
02-02-2010, 10:01 AM
Won't these fish pretty much eat anything that looks like a bug if it gets near?....(just an observation in the form of questions? )

Matching the hatch is very important if you want to increase your odds significantly. This can be the difference between 5-6 fish and 25-30 fish. Also, be mindful; the hatch can change 2-3 times a day and from larval-pupae, etc...

That being said; you can catch fish with just about any type of fly. Trout will hit for food, instinct, and protection of beds among other things (key with some streamers)... So, fishing attractor, stimulator, or imitator flies will work just fine.

Now, back to matching the hatch; this is the holy grail in my mind of fly fishing. You have to take in to consideration of so many variables.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to better your game is to listen to an old timer. These dudes know the technique of trial and error - dialing in what works best, when and where! So; if you get an old timer offering some advice; stop and listen intently - then, thank them very much!

Probably the best way to enhance your fishing experience would be to study some basic entomology of local rivers and streams. This will explain more of the why and how of matching the hatch.

Good Luck!

Jim Casada
02-02-2010, 10:41 AM
jross--My view is that in the freestone waters of the Smokies (inside the Park and out), when dealing with wild trout, presentation is always more important than pattern. These streams are not overly fertile and as a result trout have to be, to an appreciable degree, opportunistic feeders. If there was one tip I would give to the serious Smokies' angler, it would be to focus on precise presentation and drag-free drifts.

That being said, you should by no means ignore the matter of pattern. There are times when it makes a world of difference, but those times are but a small percentage of the entire amount of hours you are likely to spend fishing. If a hatch comes off by all means observe and try to match it; otherwise, pick a pattern such as a Parachute Adams, Cahill, Adams Variant, some type of stimulator, or, in season, a terrestrial for the surface and something like a Prince, Copper John, or Tellico beneath the surface.

Tailwaters are a whole different story, and there pattern becomes of great importance.

Those are my general thoughts, and I'll go back to the beginning--learn to case with great precision at distance up to 40 feet, add to that the ability to read water well, and you are on the road to success in the Smokies.

Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Knothead
02-02-2010, 11:09 AM
I see the Tellico mentioned. I have fished it and never caught anything with that fly, even on the Tellico! Has anyone fished the brown hackle peacock in the park? I agree with Jim C. that presentation is very important. Matching the hatch can be to your advantage. Three years ago I was on vacation at the Little River Village campground (now KOA). That week in May, I caught a hatch behind the campground of what I believe were dark hendricksons. I used a #14 EHC, the closest pattern I had, and probably caught over a hundred fish out of two spots in the course of a few days.

jross
02-02-2010, 11:39 AM
thanks guys!

I have no old guys to watch or ask about this type of fishing. You guys are the old timers I watch! In SouIN I have no streams like those in TN.

I learned all I have from reading and weeklong experiments called vacations:smile:.

David Knapp
02-02-2010, 11:41 AM
Pattern is often more important than people realize. I've had days where a specific pattern will catch tons of fish but the slightest change to another fly will cut my success at least in half...

Varmitcounty
02-02-2010, 12:35 PM
Technique is a must, but knowing what is in the water for the fish to feed on is paramount to turning a good day to a great day. Also, you may have the technique down pat and the right type fly on and it will still be hard fishing.

Case in point....

This past spring I was on the Clinch. Sulphers were abundant but no one seemed to be having much luck. I tried nymphs, dries, emergers. Everyone in that part of the river was struggling. Then...on a whim, I tied on one of those flies that I only tied one of...a sulpher nymph with two or three wraps of starling. Wham! I stood in one spot and caught a bunch of fish. The only thing that slowed my day down was when the fly was so tore up that it was unusable. Thinking I had found the key to the kingdom I went home and tied up a bunch...never caught a fish on em since. Go Figger?!

Waterborn
02-02-2010, 12:46 PM
When saying type of fly to use - are you meaning what what category of fly to use when or the nuts n bolts of what the fly is made of in that there's a million variations of the same fly pattern so what makes this one better than that?

Either way, I think it boils down to being confident in your pattern regardless the water. The confidence being the culmination of combining the understanding of what to use when and how to use it. Pattern the fish first - make an objective judgement on what the fish are doing in order to select a category of fly (i.e. nymph, emerger, dry) then narrow down size and color if you can.... then make your subjective choice of what fly you actually tie on - what you like that can fit the situation ....sort of generally "matching the hatch" but more like "close enough for government". The actual fly you end up tying that can best resemble those criteria is normally a personal preference. Example, I may notice that fish are active at the surface and see that they are taking surface emergers - I may throw a greased leader generic soft hackle with traditional materials with similar color n size, but my buddy may fling his his flush riding, cut wing, biot bodied, microfibbeted, pantoned color matched corvette of a fly - and we both have a great day of catching....
Not that this is a debate on this thread - I'd have to be neutral on pattern over presentation or presentation over pattern....- It's like light and dark -you can't have the one with out the other...so I think it's definately a combo and that combo depends on the water your on as to what is priority - ultimately, though if you don't have any confidence in your fly, it won't stay in the water long enough to catch fish.

Jim Casada
02-02-2010, 02:10 PM
Knothead--Can't say why you aren't catching fish on a Tellico nymph. It has long been one of my favorites and there's no telling how many trout I've caught on Tellico nymphs over the years. Yellow is a magic color whether in a Tellico or in other flies. Incidentally, were you aware of the fact that there are two streams with the name Tellico? The one you likely mean is in Tennessee. There's another one in Macon County in North Carolina.
Jim Casada

jeffnles1
02-02-2010, 04:03 PM
I'm not the most scientific angler out there (although I have used their lines from time to time...), nor would I ever try to lay claim to being the world's greatest fisherman. I can say that I doubt if anyone has more fun fishing than I do (as much fun yes, more, never).

My approach is much the same as others have stated.

I first try to determine what the fish are doing. Are they hitting at the surface, in the film or are they holding to the bottom. I then try to make an educated (or just wild) guess as to what they may be eating. What size of bug they're looking at and as best as I can gauge the color.

If they are eating something off the surface, and it's dark, I'll most likely tie on an adams of about the right size and give it a shot. If they are eating bugs that look light, I'll tie on a light color fly. etc.

For dry flies, basically, I have light color and dark color flies in a variety of likely sizes. I also carry a wide range of flies, but I tend to stick to generic light and dark dry flies of an approximate size to what I think they're eating.

For nymphs, I'll try a hare's ear or a prince or a pheasant tail (if one doesn't work I'll try the other) until I find out what they are keying in on. terrestrials sometimes (beatles, ants, hoppers, green weenie, etc.).

On tail waters, I start small and go smaller until I either can't see the fly, or start getting strikes.

I approach bass and bluegill the same way.

Nothing scientific about what I do, it's try different stuff until I find something that works. I usually catch fish. Some days it's 3 or 4 some days it's 50 with most days being somewhere between and on some days I get skunked.

I have equal fun on all of those days because I just love being out there fishing. It's not about catching fish, for me, it's about fishing.:smile:

Jeff

buzzmcmanus
02-02-2010, 04:34 PM
I usually just use what I still have tied on from last time I went, and if I don't get it snagged, it's what I'll be starting with next time. I think the presentation is far more important than the pattern in the mountains.

Rockyraccoon
02-02-2010, 04:52 PM
All of the above advice sounds solid.

I'd also recommend being confident in what your fishing. People seem to perform better and make better presentations when they are fishing bugs they are confident in.

I'd also recommend trying to always make great presentations. If your presentation is right, and your not getting bites....you know your pattern is wrong.

Wild mountain trout can be a lot less picky, but if there is a hatch going on.....you need to be able to pick up on it. You also need to identify quickly what stage of said bug the fish are taking.

Now this is where you need to work on how to match the hatch. I'd shoot for matching the size and fly type first over color most of the time. Then try to match color if you've still not busted it.

Same case for tailwaters. You just have to be ready to go smaller.

Now, in times of no hatch, and no fish activity, pattern can be crucial. But the best pattern in the world will only be effective as the presentation that put it in front of the fish.

Anyway, Lots of good advice already posted.

highstick
02-03-2010, 12:12 AM
Silhouette, size, then color when choosing a pattern.

Presentation, location, and stealth are much more important than pattern in the park.

Confidence is on both park and tailwaters. If you are not fishing with confidence you are probably not focusing as well on the presentation and location of your casts. We all probably have way to many bugs in our boxes, which means we are often thinking of what fly to tie on next and not how and where we should be fishing. Or at least I have found that to be the case on both watery venues.

I can not count the number of times I have stumbled up a park stream trying pattern after pattern only to realize:

1. If I would slow down I will quit stumbling
2. If I would slow down and fish the fly I had on where it need to be and how it needed to be there............I would catch more fish. Pattern is not always that important.

Tailwaters can be a whole new ball game. Floated the SOHO last fall. Possibly the prettiest day on the water. Sulphers where coming off everywhere and fish where actively rising. I tried dries, emergers, nymphs, and then repeated the process in differing sizes many times with no luck. Switched to streamers and had a great last part of the day, but talked to a guy at the ramp who said he caught his fish on bwo's....I didn't see a bwo all day. Got to focused on those little yellow easy to see bugs missed several hundred fish that I left rising along that river. Pattern can be very important.

Knothead
02-03-2010, 08:22 AM
Jim, I have fished the Tellico in a number of trout streams and tailwaters. Nothing! Zilch! Nada! Nichts! :confused:

flyman
02-03-2010, 12:21 PM
Not really, I just use whatever I find in the rhodendrum bushes. I figure if that's what everyone else was using, then it's good enough for me.:biggrin:

MtnMike
02-03-2010, 01:01 PM
I like Flyman's idea of getting them out of the bushes. But then I remembered that it is usually when a fly isn't working that I am willing to give it up. When a fly is working, then I am going in after it.

I had a buddy leave an orange stimulater just out of reach while we were watching Elk one evening in Cataloochee. We were on Rough Fork. He went back a couple of months later with the family and pulled over in that spot, climbed on top on his SUV and retreived his orange stimi.

I think I'm going to spend a little more time looking in the bushes.

Mike

MtnMike
02-03-2010, 01:11 PM
I guess I should say in all seriousness that while I don't think that fly pattern is nearly as important in the smokies as it is in the tailwaters, there are days that it does make a difference. For the most part the fish in the smokies are opportunistic feeders by nature. But I do believe that you need to pay attention to the types of bugs available. Caddis, Stoneflies, Mayflies, Hoppers or Bettles. I usually have 3 "go to" dry patterns in different sizes, Parachute Adams, Mr. Rapidan, and Orange & Yellow Stimulators. I have certainly seen days when 1 of these patterns would clearly "outfish" another. So while, I don't carry a ton of the "match the hatch" stuff I am willing to try another fly. The 4th dry that I always carry but don't seem to fish a lot would be the BWO for when they want the small stuff.
Mike

Crockett
02-03-2010, 02:12 PM
I seem to almost always use a yellow neversink caddis in the smokies for the dry and change out the dropper more frequently between bh prince nymphs, rainbow prince nymphs, or a copper john. In the heat of summer I will switch to greenie weenies. I probably should mix the dry up more often but I don't like changing out flies a lot and find myself doing like buzz and leaving on what I was using the last time I was fishing often.

nocona
02-11-2010, 01:06 AM
Jross,
It is hard to over emphasize how important presentation and technique are. By the same token, it is very important to know what flies are hatching and just what insects the fish are keying on. The fish in the mountain streams are more opportunistic than tailwater fish and they tend to take almost any good presentation that passes by them. However, if you carry this thought into any type of fishing that you might do, get ready to have some days on the tailwaters that are humbling. This can also happen on streams like Cataloochee or the Davidson River.
Try to perfect your presentation first of all, and be very aware of the insects that you observe on the stream. It's not too hard to identify something like a Little Yellow Sally and match it with a good yellow Caddis pattern. It is a little harder to present that pattern in a light and delicate way to that nice brown that is slowly feeding back under an over hanging log that goes almost into the water. Work on both of these things but get the presentation down to an art.
Hugh


lol. drift is more important. you can (if you're lucky) see a hatch and match it, but if your drift is bad, you won't catch (m)any at all. as long as your flies aren't ridiculously out of place.

Dawgvet
02-13-2010, 01:44 PM
I have to concur with the thoughts of highstick and Mr. Hartsell. I have learned to slow down and seriously fish the pattern I have on and not want to switch after 2 casts without a rise. Fewer patterns with alot more focus and concentration will almost always garner more fish. Now if I could just fish as well as Mr. Hartsell I might worry more about my patterns ;)