Wet Wading and Dry Flies in the Smokies

Excellent summer conditions

Excellent summer conditions

With the warm weather firmly in place here in the Smoky Mountain region we’ve been wading wet for some time. There was a day last week with scattered rain showers all day that we put the waders on since the cooler weather and lack of sunshine made for chilly wading, but we’re happy to feel the river on our legs.

There’s not much new to report as the spring hatches have come and gone. The fish are in their summer time opportunist mode. Essentially the fly you feel the most confidence in will work the best. Sometimes nymphs will outfish dry flies, but that’s not the norm. Last weekend I had Gill (pictured above) rigged with a dropper rig make up of a Stimulator on top and beadhead Pheasant Tail on bottom. At one point I assured Gill the fish would probably eat the nymph if the dry fly wasn’t there. After a number of hooked fish with not so much as a single take on the nymph we just cut it off.

Charity had a similar experience that day on a neighboring stream. Her anglers did catch some fish on nymphs but the bulk of activity came on the dry fly for them as well. There have been very good numbers of “standard issue” fish in that 7″-9″ size range this year along with several doing better than that.

Charity had a couple of days last week when she would’ve liked to have had a better look at fish that were hooked. On two separate occasions she had relatively novice anglers hook heavy fish that ran upstream against heavy water and broke off the inexperienced fly fishers. One of her anglers saw one of the fish and assured it her it was significantly larger than other fish they caught that day.

So there you go… There are still some hefty fish out there eating too.

A number of brief thunderstorms are keeping flows pretty good. Flows are still on the low side in the Little River watershed, but fish are pretty cooperative in pocket water.

My old friend

My old friend

I’ll include this photo of a copperhead I saw a few days back, if only because you guys always seem interested. I say this guy is “my old friend” because I suspect I’ve seen him on many occasions. If it’s not him there’s something about this spot copperheads must like.

The spot is pretty non-descript and not anywhere that someone might end up stepping on the snake. It’s not on a clear spot to the water and brush between the trail this this lie are pretty thick so it’s pretty random to end up there. I first saw a copperhead in this exact spot about six or seven years ago when the brush wasn’t so thick and for some reason I picked it out of the background which camouflages it so well. Every time I walk past this spot on the trail I always make an effort to look and about once or twice a year there he is. Not exactly a constant presence, but enough the pay attention. More importantly, he’s way up in the park and nowhere near my house or vehicles. Click here if you don’t get the reference.