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
The Basics of Fly Fishing Series - Fish of the Smokies - Part One
Trout, bass and panfish of various species exist in the streams of the Smokies and
all of them can be caught on the fly. Most of the fly fishing is done for the trout which
includes the brook, brown, and rainbow trout. Although there's smallmouth bass and
some largemouth bass in the streams of the lower elevations of the park, as well as
several types of panfish, most of the sizable fish are trout. There's also several
species of small non-game fish such as sculpin, minnows and other types of fish
generally referred to as baitfish.
Originally, brook trout were the only species of fish that's called a trout that existed
in the Smokies. I say called a trout because technically, they are a char. They are
the only native trout in the park. We like to say that God stocked them. The rainbow
and brown trout were introduced by man during past years and have continued to
reproduce. These are referred to as streamborn or wild trout as opposed to native
or stocked trout. The streams of the park are not stocked with trout and haven't
been for several years.
The states of North Carolina and Tennessee both stock trout in the streams just
outside of the park. A few of these trout end up inside the park's boundaries but the
great majority of the trout you will catch in the park are either wild or native trout, not
trout from a hatchery. Although I don't intend to get into the differences in stocked
and wild or native trout just yet, be aware that there are big differences in stocked
and wild/native fish.
There are also big differences in the brown, rainbow and brook trout. Each have
their own habitat preferences. The techniques, strategies and methods of fishing
that are most effective in catching these different species of trout can vary.
The rainbow trout are native to the Western United States. They were at one time
stocked in the park. Rainbows probably average 6 to 8 inches in length but anglers
catch rainbows that are larger. Those that exceed twelve inches long are not
common. A wild rainbow trout that's sixteen inches long would be considered very
You will find the rainbows in faster water and usually out in the open, hiding only
under the cover of a broken surface of water. They tend to feed on the surface
more so than the other species of trout. Of course they will spook very easily if
danger approaches and they will consider you dangerous.
They prefer temperatures ranging from the mid-fifties to the mid-sixties. They can
survive a short time in water temperatures as low as 32 degrees F and as high as
80 F. The rainbow is the most sought after trout in the park. It's also an exciting fish
to catch. Rainbows tend to jump more than the brown or the brook trout. They are
found in most all of the streams in the park. They spawn in the Spring.
Rainbow trout have a pink or red line that runs from their gill cover to their caudal
fin. They get their name from this rainbow line. Rainbow trout are native to streams
in the Western United States and Canada that flow into the Pacific Ocean. Although
they were at one time stocked in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, they are
now managed as wild trout.
2011 James Marsh