Little River Outfitters Forum

Little River Outfitters Forum (
-   Smoky Mountain Fishing (
-   -   is fly pattern important? (

jross 01-29-2010 10:12 AM

is fly pattern important?
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

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.

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


Originally Posted by jross (Post 76272)
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

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 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.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:57 AM.

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.