One of my favorite flies is the sulphur dun, no-hackle, dry. I usually fish #16 and sometimes #20 and almost always late in the afternoon or evening when the sun begins to tumble behind the hills.
During the afternoons I'll use a bigger attractor, like a hopper or stimulator. If I get splashes but no real grabs, I'll tie on a tiny ant or beetle.
They all work well unless you are at the wrong place at the wrong time. It pays to pay attention.
Two weeks ago I was polishing off a peanut butter sandwich and washing it down with dark beer when one of those big ole SUV things pulled up beside my car by the bridge. An old man with a white mustache hanging on his upper lip like the remnants of a milkshake, asked if there was enough water anywhere around to fish.
He had on jeans held up with wide suspenders. I took him to be retired, with enough time on his hands to scout where to fish without any hurry about it. It was a Tuesday.
He had come up from Hendersonville by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and had passed Graveyard Fields up the road, a place I had planned to fish for brook trout later that day.
Don't bother, he said. There's no place to park.
In the middle of the day? Tourists descending like locusts already?
So, I spent the day on the Pigeon River. Caught a few, lost a few and had a good time. I was glad I had paid attention.
At least here, I thought, I had a place to park.
And the only crowd after the mustache man left was the amorous couple giggling on a big rock in the middle of the creek.
Life is grand.