March 2015 Newsletter
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Big Little River brown trout from March a few years ago. We probably see more nice browns caught on dry flies in March than any other month.
Beautiful Smokies rainbow on a dry fly.

Spring Is Almost Here

Here are a few tips for catching more trout this spring.

  • Remember that hatches progress more or less regularly upstream. If you fished a good Quill Gordon hatch on Metcalf Bottoms yesterday, then the hatch may be farther upstream today.
  • While the big Quill Gordons are the popular choice, Blue Quills will hatch much longer and generally get the attention of more fish.
  • Little Black Caddis are around in good numbers at the same time as the early season mayflies. Pupa imitations in sizes #16-#18 will catch a lot of trout.
  • With the higher flows of spring, remember that you can normally get closer to trout than you would other times of the year. Take advantage of that to get good presentations and quick hook sets on a short line.
  • Remember that the best fishing will generally be in the low to mid elevations but don't overlook the brook trout streams either. Sometimes you may be surprised at how well they fish.
  • High stick weighted Wooly Buggers in #8-#12 in a tandem nymph rig with your favorite nymph pattern. The larger fly will account for some nicer browns and rainbows.

Here are a couple of articles from back in 2011 that highlight some fantastic early spring fishing on Little River in the month of March. The dry fly fishing is one of the reasons I love March and April so much.

This March rainbow ate a #14 bead head caddis pupa and was caught on Little River above Elkmont.

Spring Bass and Panfish


In between trout trips, consider fishing for bass and panfish. They provide a lot of fun on the fly rod.

Just down the road from the house is a large farm that runs a lot of beef cattle. The owner of the property is kind enough to let other people fish in his small lake and you better believe I take advantage of that. One of my favorite patterns for spring panfish is the Simi Seal Leech. If you tie your own flies, here is a great Youtube tutorial from the originator of the pattern. I tie mine with a bead in sizes #10-#16 but mostly in #12 and #14. Black seems to work best although don't be afraid to experiment.
Spring Panfish: A Fly Fishing Short Film Highlighting The Pursuit of Crappie and Bluegill

Guide Trip of the Month

Smoky Mountain Early Season Hatch Tour

Fly fishing in the Smokies is the most popular trip for clients here at Trout Zone Anglers. While tailwater float or wade trips produce some larger trout, it is hard to beat the dry fly action that is possible in the mountains this time of year.

In the early months of the season, we primarily focus on fishing the Little River drainage although extended day trips over to the Oconaluftee in North Carolina can be productive as well.

Anglers looking to learn how to fish the Smokies will appreciate the easier fishing that we usually experience this time of year. The fish have not been pestered much since early last November so they are not quite as wary as they will be by summer.

The majority of our fishing this time of year is with a dry/dropper rig and we see some of the better numbers on these early season trips. The fish aren't large but when you are catching so many on dry flies who cares? Besides, if you are like me you probably enjoy catching these beautiful wild jewels instead of the stocked fish in hatchery supported water.
Roger makes a fantastic high stick presentation on an early season trip in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We caught several nice rainbow trout that morning.

One of the advantages of early spring in the Smokies is getting to see some of the beautiful wildflowers that the area is known for. People travel from all over the world to see the wildlflowers in the Park. Some of the not so wild flowers are beautiful as well. Old home sites usually have daffodils and other spring flowers blooming nearby.
An old summer cabin at Elkmont with spring flowers blooming nearby.
Visit Trout Zone Anglers for information on guided trips or the Trout Zone blog for more great content!
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