01/20/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3.    Midges



I Have A Solution For Al Gore's Big Problem
Before I reveal my solution to at least the part of the Global Warming problem to do
with starving polar bears, let me point out that
today is the day you need to go
fishing in the Smokies
. For one reason, it's about the first reasonable day to go
fishing in a month. For another reason, you'll be fishing under pre-cold front
conditions. The temperature should go into the high forties today, the water levels
are good, and although the water is still cold from the low night air temperature and
snow runoff, you should still be able to catch some trout if you fish the right water
the right way.

After today, I'll be willing to offer my own yard again as good habitat to help solve
the polar bear habitat crisis. After several days, almost all the snow in my yard has
melted but it doesn't look like that will be the case for very long. There's one to two
inches of the white stuff predicted to fall tonight. Worse than that, the seven day
weather forecast has the word "snow" in it every day for a week.
Everyone that
lives in Pigeon Forge knows that all Al Gore needs to do is move the
starving polar bears to Tennessee. There may not  be any seals around for
them to eat but according to many anglers, we have enough otters in the
park to keep them healthy.
That's my clever lead in to the next article.

Otter's in the Madison River
I haven't got to the western trout streams in my "Tips and Recommendations for Fly
Fishing Destinations" yet, but when I do, you'll see that I will give the Madison River
an "A" rating. I have previously written about the otters in the Grayling Creek in
Yellowstone National Park. I mentioned that even though they appear to be rather
plentiful in the stream, on a good day you can easily catch a hundred trout in the
stream although most of them will be smaller size cutbows. I have also written about
otters in the Madison River inside the park. I have a very nice video of a family of
otters that Angie and I shot just prior to the end of the fishing season about three
years ago. Not long after that, we fished the same meadow (within fifty yards of the
otters) and caught several nice trout. We have done that many times at various
other trout streams in the western states.

Don't take this the wrong way. I'm not an expert in otters by any stretch of one's
imagination. I'm only mentioning the fact we have caught plenty of trout in the same
streams that otters exist in. I can give dozens of examples of the same situation in
Yellowstone Park as well as many western trout streams.
I really don't have any
idea of just how much otters affect the population of trout in any stream.
I
do know they scare the trout. I have witnessed that many times. I also know that
otters eat fish. I've also witnessed that. I also know that one problem that can exist
with the trout in GSMNP is over population. At least it's obvious that a year or two
after drought conditions occur the rainbows seem to get larger. Regarding the effect
of otters, I'm merely pointing out that we have caught plenty of trout were both trout
and otters exist. My guess is that it's a matter of balance but balance is what can be
a huge problem.

I enjoy reading Craig Mathew's articles that appear on his West Yellowstone's Blue
Ribbon Fly Shop blog and noticed that in his last article, he mentioned that a study
is forthcoming on otters because of the decline in the whitefish population of the
Madison River. He has some very interesting comments regarding otters in the
article. He mentions the trout will move to the center of the river when the otters are
present. He also mentioned that a friend of his did his masters work on otters in the
Madison River and discovered that they ate mostly crayfish and whitefish. Here's
Craig's article.

http://www.blue-ribbon-flies.com/blog/

IS:
Looks like there's some nice polar bear habitat in Montana

Copyright 2011 James Marsh