03/10/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3.    Little Brown Stoneflies
4.    Quill Gordons
5.    Blue Quills
6.    Little Black Caddis

Current Conditions In The Smokies - Not Good
Late last night the streams were on the way down and it appeared we had missed
what could have been flooding situations on the Tennessee side of the Smokies. I'm
not sure of the situation on the North Carolina side of the park. At one point you
could sing the lyrics of Johney Cash's song "how high's the water mama, 6 feet high
and rising" in real-time.
You can see where the water level on Little River went over
6 foot and near 3600 cfs but then started back down rather fast. That's slightly
worse than the levels reached last week and again, short of flooding. The problem
is another line of showers in currently moving through and at 6:00 AM, the graphs
are turning back up.

The rain showers are to continue until early this afternoon and then another snow. I
doubt there will be much accumulation in the foothills and valleys but the National
Weather Service is predicting anywhere from 8 inches on the high mountains to one
or four inside the park. I guess it depends on exactly when the temperatures drop
enough for the change. That has to be difficult to predict accurately under the
rapidly varying conditions.

The
precipitation map at 6:00 AM only shows from 1.5 to 2.Inches of rain over most
of the Smokies; about 40% shows 2 to 2.5 inches; and then there's the one little
area above the Middle Fork drainage that shows 2.5 to 3 inches. There's a very
large area in the Smokies directly east of Townsend and Cades Cove showing 2.5
to 3 inches. Remember you have to enter a location. I just use "smoky mountains".
Also, remember that later today you should check the last 2 day box to get the total
rainfall because it would have been raining for over 24 hours.

They are saying it will continue to snow until about 10:00 AM Friday morning and
then change back to rain but little is expected by that point in time.

I doubt I need to provide anything in the way of advise, but if I didn't live nearby, I
sure wouldn't be headed this way to fish unless I just wanted to experiment with
unusual tactics dealing with the high water levels and snow. Finding the small
streams in the upper headwaters for the solution to high water doesn't look
appealing unless you want to hike in the snow. That can be fun, as long as it's what
you want to do. On the other hand, it's still plenty possible to catch trout. Hatches
will be ongoing and although wading would be considered a stupid thing to try, you
can still fish from the banks. The larger brown trout will actually be much easier to
catch than normal using special techniques and some of locals will still fish. I plan on
going in the park for some pictures if and when the roads are open and maybe try
what I call "flipin" for trout in one of two areas.

Down and Dirty  (some are clean) Tips and Recommendations for Fly
Fishing Destinations - Part 34
Just keep in mind that it is strictly one opinion that happens to be mine. The intent is to hopefully
give those interested a general idea of what to expect. Most likely every guide, affiliated business
entity and local angler will have a different opinion. These streams also have full coverage on our
Perfect Fly Stream Section.

Madison River
The Madison River is another of Montana and Wyoming's long rivers that begins in
Yellowstone National Park and eventually joins two other rivers to form the Missouri
River. It's probably the most famous of all the trout streams in the nation. It's formed
by two unique rivers in Yellowstone National Park, the Firehole and the Gibbon
Rivers. For such a long river, it actually has few tributaries, although there's some
small ones.

You have to break this river down into at least two sections - its tailwaters and its
freestone part which exist almost entirely within Yellowstone National Park. To
understand much about it, you have to break it down into hundreds of sections.
There's bottom discharge tailwaters below the concrete dams at Hebgen and Ennis
Lakes, and there's a top discharge tailwater formed by an earthquake below Quake
Lake. The part between Hebgen and Quake is usually is rather short but the part
below Quake isn't. It's called the Forty-mile Riffle. The flows are generally so stable
and steady that many outdoor writers haven't even recognized that it's a tailwater. I
have read full features in major national fly fishing magazines where the Madison
River below Quake Lake was called a freestone stream. That wasn't accidential. It
was done because it fools many anglers and apparently, many of those writers that
like to write about  (and those magazines that print articles about) what they actually
know little about. There's also the tailwater below Ennis Lake, which is a one of a
kind area called the Bear Trap Canyon.

There's trout in the Madison River from its beginning to its end. For purposes of our
stream section part of the Perfect Fly website, I break the Madison River into two
sections, its tailwaters and its freestone section in the Park.

Here is the freestone
Yellowstone Park section and here is the Tailwater sections.

If you rated the entire Madison River as one big river, I would have to give it an "A
plus". If I rated it as I have it broken down into its two sections, I would give the
freestone section an "A minus". The minus is because of the warm water influence,
mostly from the Firehole River, which shortens the already short fishing season. In
warm, low water years, the section in the park gets too warm during the hot summer.

I rate the tailwater section as I have it broken down, including all three tailwaters, an
"A Plus" stream. So far, this is only my third A plus stream.

Now, I know some of you may mention the whirling disease problem the Madison
suffered. For the most part, that was a few years back. Although the problem isn't
totally gone, as far as I am concerned, it just isn't a factor at the present time. The
Madison has large rainbow trout and large brown trout and there's plenty of them. It
is about as good as a stream can get. It has a tremendous aquatic insect population
and plenty of hatches to keep its dry fly fishing opportunities top notch.

2011 James Marsh