Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

Trout Foolery

The sound of the plane running along the form as it planes fine ribbons of cane has become quite soothing to my ears.  Each pass brings anticipation of the day, I can tie a hand tied fly to the end of it to fool a wary trout to the surface and hopefully coax it back to my hand.  Hand split and hand planed bamboo rods have become a new chapter in my outdoor pursuits.  Much like fly tying, I once had no desire to invest the time or effort to craft my fishing tools, yet it has added a whole new dimension to my pleasure found in the outdoors.  The often sixty or more hours taken in the crafting of one bamboo rod, also has given me plenty of time to reflect on all that an angler puts into fooling a fish.

It’s funny how a sport can be so different, or even change over time, for the individual angler.  There are anglers who simply love to fool as many trout as one can in a given outing, while others only want to trick the biggest.  Some want to tempt the trout to the surface with a dry fly while others want to nymph. There are those who tie their own flies or make their own rods while others are throwing the latest and greatest from the local fly shop.  Enjoyment of the sport is simply a matter of perspective and in fact each angler enjoys it, and pursues it, in their own manner. The ultimate end is typically the same….dupe a fish.

Fly fishing as a premise seems to be to be hard enough as it is.  Using a long, flexible lever to throw several feet of line connected to an almost weightless imitation of a bug tied out of feathers and fur.    All of this to deceive the best sense a fish has, his vision.  Whether it is dry or wet fly, or bamboo or graphite, the fly angler makes fooling the fish hard on himself.  The cast takes practice, tying flies is verging on an art form, and gaining the knowledge to do it all right can be a lifelong pursuit.  But the chance to bamboozle a trout at his own game is what keeps anglers of all kinds on the water.
April is a great month for fly fishing in East Tennessee. The Smoky Mountain National Park streams are typically alive with wild trout willing to eat a dry fly.  March brown mayflies typically take the spot light for the month and provide great dry fly fishing opportunities.  Some of my favorite patterns for swindling those wild mountain fish are the Mr. Rapidan or the peacock caddis dry flies. The tailwater generation schedules typically play into our favor starting in April. The Holston River can provide some fantastic float trips on either dry or wet flies. The tan caddis will begin hatching on the Holston and trout can typically be fooled into taking dry flies, soft hackles, and nymphs.  I favor the Lawson’s E-Z caddis dry fly or a partridge and herl soft hackle for fooling Holston River trout.
Be it swindling, hoodwinking, coaxing, duping, or deceiving, April is a great month to be on the water from the beginning to the end.  No matter your tactics, find a way to get outside to enjoy the outdoors and fool a fish.
Small fish and big memories….

Alex Quick, Fly Fishing Manager