09/22/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives (Little BWOs)
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Quills (
Heptagenia Group)
4.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Slate Drakes
7.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8.    Grasshoppers
9.    Ants (includes Flying Ants)
10.  Beetles
11.  Craneflies
12.  Great Brown Autumn Sedge

Where To Fish In The Smokies
I keep getting questions about my Fly Fishing Strategies - What Fly To Use Articles,
about where to fish. Where to fish isn't a part of the topic but I can understand why I
receive email about that. It is a part of the overall strategy you should use and an
important one I might add. Right now, at this particular time and with the current
stream and weather conditions, you have a lot of choices. I'll explain what I mean by
this.

I'll give a few different scenarios. Lets say you want to catch a, both brown and
rainbow trout, b, only rainbows is fine, c, you are mostly interested in brook trout, d,
you want to catch only brown trout, or e, you want to catch all three species. I am
outlining the strategy you use in this manner because this is the first basic question
you need to ask yourself. The simple reason is that not all the streams have both
rainbow and brown trout and very, very few have all three species in close proximity. A
quick down and dirty analysis, but with exceptions, is that the rainbows and browns
are found in the lower elevations, the rainbows and some browns in the mid elevations
and the brook trout in the higher elevations. Some higher elevation streams also have
rainbow trout.

If your not familiar with all the streams, you should first look at our stream section of
this website which will tell you which species are available in the streams. For
example, If you wanted to catch brown trout you sure wouldn't have much chance of
doing that in Walkers Camp Prong in the high elevations, or in the Middle Prong of the
Little Pigeon River although it may be possible to catch one near the park's boundary.
If you fished Deep Creek near the campground, your odds of catching a brook trout
would be near zero.

As I mentioned above, at this particular time just about every stream in the park could  
be fished successfully. Even the lower elevations of streams that just a couple of
weeks ago were too warm, can now be fished. The very lowest elevations where trout
exist can be fished early and late in the day. This weekend, the weather will be even
cooler and just about all the water in the park is fishable.

What your probably thinking now is "just which ones of these streams is the best". The
short answer is if your not planning on catching specific species, it doesn't matter.
They all have plenty of fish and there's little difference in them. You success will
depend far more on your skills and knowledge than which stream you fish. The stream
usually makes little difference provided you choose one with the particular species
you are after. Some have good reputations for certain species. For example, Deep
Creek, Little River and Hazel Creeks all have good populations of brown trout but
there's many others. I doubt you'll find a stream with more rainbows than the Middle
Prong of Little Pigeon River, but again, it's not a brown trout stream.

There's another thing that MOST anglers just don't get. Most anglers think the more
trout there are in a stream, the more you will catch, or the easier it is to catch them.
Provided the numbers are not extreme in the low quantity end of the range, it actually
makes very little difference. Catching trout isn't a direct product of how many fish
there are in a stream, again, assuming there's a reasonable number that exist in the
stream. You may be shocked at the difference in your results when fishing a stream
with 6000 trout per mile, versus one with 2,000 trout per mile. By the way, these
numbers are numbers of the streams in the Smokies, just examples. You can fish a
stream with a huge number of trout versus one with an average number of trout and
the results from day to day may be exactly the reverse of what you think it should be.
This is far to involved to explain in this article but just let me say that, in the case of
the streams in the Smokies, low numbers isn't a factor in any stream if you are
considering the main species that are prevalent. The short reason for it is that it isn't
the numbers of trout that see your fly that's important, it's how many that see eat it.  
So for now, just forget trying to add fish populations into the consideration. All of the
streams in the park have good populations of the main species that exist there. In
fact, if your interested in catching larger trout, fishing one with a low population
usually produces larger trout. This too, has its exceptions but in general, the fewer the
trout, the larger they are.

Some streams are easier than others to fish and that's a factor that's goes beyond
what I have time to write about today. I hope this helps those of you that are not that
familiar with the streams.

PS: The stream levels can vary when there's rain in the picture, and this doesn't get
into that part of the strategy.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh