07/05/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Green Sedges (Caddis)
3.    Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
4.    Little Sister Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
5.    Cream Cahills
6.    Sulphurs
7.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
8.    Little Green Stoneflies
9.    Golden Stoneflies
10.  Slate Drakes
11.  Streamers (Sculpin, Minnows)
12.  Inch Worms
13.  Grasshoppers
14.  Ants
15.  Beetles

Current Smoky Mountains Stream and Weather Conditions:
My guest and I were in the Smokies from just after noon until about 6:00 PM
yesterday. It was our third straight day of fishing. We cut the fishing shorter than usual
because of heavy rain. We also wanted to see the fireworks show in Pigeon Forge
last night.

We started fishing at 1:00 and within the first two hours Chris caught 17 trout, most of
which were brook trout with some rainbows. All but about three of the brookies were
over five inches and all the rainbows were over six inches. The fish averaged larger
than usual as they did the two days before. Two rainbows were over ten inches with
one almost eleven inches. Four of the brook trout were eight inches. On the average,
this is much larger than what Angie and I have caught on the same stream in other
areas. These trout all came from the lower part of Walkers Camp Prong in very
difficult to access and fish areas. We wanted to make sure we didn't fish behind
anyone and that's how we did it.

Although we were catching trout at a good pace, I wanted to show Chris some streams
on the North Carolina side of the park. We first went to the headwaters of Oconaluftee
River to find we were fishing behind someone. We then moved downstream to near
the beginning of the Oconaluftee where I took my second hard fall of the day. I have a
hurt back, hip and leg from two falls. My large, full size Sony professional hi-def
camera still works but I'm not sure how it is still working. It got banged up pretty bad.

It started raining hard on us right after my fall and we moved back over the mountain
to try and avoid the rain. That didn't happen. It rained hard all the way to the
headquarters at the main entrance to the park. From there we headed to Little River
thinking that area may be clear of the heavy rain. It turned out that it had stopped
raining but the river near the turn to Elkmont was very dingy with about a foot or two
at the most of visibility. Chris tried a streamer just below the turn to Elkmont and on
his first cast after getting into position, a brown trout chased the fly across the surface
of the off colored water for several feet. On his next cast, the a good size brown
grabbed the fly but his hook-set failed and the trout got off. The trout wouldn't
respond again after being stuck. Within five minutes, the water turned to what would
best be described as muddy.

From there, we drove to the Middle Prong of Little River where we found the lower end
clear to near the beginning of the unpaved road. It too was badly stained from the
rain. I then tried the upper part of the West Prong of Little River which was clear, but
too warm. We fished a few minutes in Laurel Creek where Chris managed one very
small rainbow. We gave up at about 6:00. The rainfall was very helpful and although it
ruined our day of fishing, I was happy to see it. The streams were very, very low.

A quick summary of the two previous days:
On Saturday, the first day of our fishing, Chis caught two nice rainbows at point the
East Prong of Little Pigeon begins near the Chimneys trailhead. We moved to the
upper end of Walkers Camp about two miles above Alum Creek confluence where he
caught over a dozen brook and rainbow trout. We then moved to Little River and
hiked about a mile up Little River Trail. He managed a few nice rainbows there but all
in all, the water was too warm and it was slower fishing. I was surprised that the water
was in the high sixties even above Elkmont.

On Sunday afternoon, starting at about 1:00, Chis again caught about 15 more brook
trout and rainbows in new areas of Walkers Camp Prong in less than two hours. Some
of the brook trout were very large for the stream, meaning near eight inches instead
of the normal five inch range. Two were larger rainbows that went at least ten inches.
In order to show Chris some new areas, I took him to the Middle Prong of Little Pigeon
River where we fished the main stem above the Ramsay Prong Trailhead. That's very
difficult fishing, requiring climbing over huge boulders and staying in the stream. Chris
managed some nice rainbows but not any brook trout. I was surprised at the fact we
didn't catch any brook trout there.

All in all, he caught lots of nice size trout all three days. Yes, the fishing required good
presentations and staying very low and sneaky but that's the way I like it. He did an
excellent job of that, being very fit and agile.

In short summary, the water was too warm in all but the higher elevations. Except for a
few Slate Drakes, the insect hatches had just about all subsided below about 2500 -
3000 feet. There were good hatches of Eastern Blue-winged Olives (
Drunella
species) in the high elevations along with plenty of Cream Cahills. Most all of his trout
came on the Perfect Fly Cream Cahill dun, size 16. A few came on the size 16 and 18
Perfect Fly BWO dun. We didn't see any stonefly egg laying activity, Little Green or
Little Yellow.

I will put together some images of Chris and the fishing for tomorrow's article. Right
now, I am black and blue all over and can barely move.

Chris will be leaving in August for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the Army Infantry.
This will be his forth tour of overseas duty, including Iraq during his previous eight
years of service to our county as a Marine.
He is a wonderful young man that
believes he should put his life up to protect our country. It was a real
pleasure and an honor to get to fish with such a fine young man on the 4th of
July weekend.

Brook Trout Streams - Part 13
It's the time of year when the high elevation streams really become important, so for the next few
days I will be pointing out some high elevation brook trout streams (and some not so high), many of
which you may be familiar with and some you may not be familiar with.

Coming Again Soon

Copyright 2011 James Marsh