11/04/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Little Yellow Quills (
Heptagenia Group)
3.    Needle Stoneflies
4     Slate Drakes
5     Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
6.    Grasshoppers
7.    Ants
8.    Beetles
9  .  Craneflies
10.  Great Brown Autumn Sedge

Update On Weather
It is 5:30AM this Friday morning and still raining outside our house in Pigeon Forge.
The National Weather Service has increased the length of time it will rain until as late
as 11:00 AM today. From looking at the precipitation map, it is clear that so far, the
North Carolina side of the park received more rain than the Tennessee side. So far,
most all of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that lies in North Carolina has
received over an inch of rain and as high as an inch and a half. The Tennessee side
ranges from a half inch up to an inch in places. The rainfall amounts are higher in the
mountains than the valleys, which is normal.

Little River is currently flowing at 280 cfs with a median at 108. The Oconaluftee River
is flowing at 677 cfs at this time with a median at 207. It could rain for another five or
six hours but from looking at the radar, I doubt the overall amounts will change very
much. Things should be just fine for this weekend.
Note: At 7:00 AM, Little River is up to 348cfs.

More Bear Problems:
I think I recently bragged about doing a better job of keeping the bears away from our
home in Pigeon Forge. I wrote about a cub I had a very close, peaceful encounter with
very near our house recently, but other than that, it has been a year since we have
spotted one at home.

By doing a good job of keeping them away, I mean we don't ever put food in the big
trash can furnished by the city. We use the garbage disposal and are even careful to
rinse off the paper or plastic packaging that meat and other foods come in before
putting such items in the trash. We certainly don't have bird feeders and we even
keep the trash can down at the end of the driveway until we fill it the morning the city
picks it up. We have learned that if you don't wash and clean the can very good, it will
attract bears even when it's empty. Such was the case last night.

Around midnight, Angie was preparing to walk Biddle before going to bed. By that, I
mean it was raining and she puts on a raincoat made for Biddle and a little plastic
covering on each foot. It's a big ordeal but she won't allow her to get wet. When the
preparation was finished and they walked to the end of the front porch, Biddle froze in
her tracks and begin to growl. Standing straight up at the end of the sidewalk about
twenty feet away was a huge bear.

She, meaning Angie, isn't afraid of bears at all. Neither am I, but she is so unaffected
by their presence that it really bothers me. Although I keep warning her and although
she has read about problems with bears many times, she still just acts as if they will
not bother her. She stood there and watched the bear who just stood still in the
driveway staring at the two of them. Keep in mind, bears have been known to charge
dogs more so than humans.

When she woke me up to tell me what was happening, I got very upset at her for
being so causal about it. I just can't get it across that they can and will hurt you under
the right circumstances. One big clue, according to the experts, is that when one
doesn't run, as most bears in the wild will do, you have problems. That indicates your
not the first encounter the bear has had with humans. When they become unafraid of
humans, they are even more dangerous.

I have a 300 Winchester Magnum rifle in the house that I've actually given to my
grandson but that I'm holding until he's old enough to have it. I don't have any shells
for it but I think I will buy some today. I would never shoot a bear unless it was an
absolute last resort. However, when there's a half glass door between food cooking in
your kitchen and a large bear is standing, looking inside the house, don't think for a
second it won't concern you. This exact thing happened twice in Gatlinburg.

Angie takes Biddle outside to walk in our yard every night. It wouldn't bother me so
much if she just wasn't so unconcerned about bears. I doubt anyone has ever been
attacked by a bear that thought they would be attacked. I'm also aware of how far
between and just how few such attacks have occurred. I'm also aware that not
everyone has bears in their yard very often. I know several people who live in Pigeon
Forge that has never seen one.

I'm not afraid of them, but I do have a big respect for them. I watched a cinnamon bear
(variety of black bear) just outside Yellowstone National Park completely destroy a
very large log eating ants from it. It would pick the log up and hit the ground with it,
breaking it into pieces, in an unbelievable manner. Three of the World's strongest
men working together couldn't possible have done that.

The bear that visited us last night is a very big one, obviously a male. I'm not going to
guess at its size but I will assure you it is well over 200 pounds. During the past
several years we have taken video of over a hundred bears from across the nation.
We have about three hours of digitally recorded footage of wild bears. The largest
black bear of them all, which I didn't video, showed up about six years ago in our yard
in Gatlinburg. The one in our yard last night, in terms of size, was within the top five I
have seen.

When I got to the front porch, the bear had walked down to the end of the drive, which
is just a few feet, near the location of the empty trash can. We have several porch
lights that lights up much of the front yard and driveway. When I turned them all on, I
expected the bear would leave but It didn't. I walked to the end of the porch and yelled
at it and just like the one I wrote about that was at our back door last year, that didn't
phase it. It just stood still and looked at me, holding its position between me and the
trash can. I think it considered me a threat to what it thought was a newly found stash
of food. It wasn't about to leave it. This morning, when I first got up,  I turned the lights
on and discovered the can was turned over. I'll bet the bear was disappointed.

We went through many encounters during the four years we lived a block from the
park in Gatlinburg. Two years ago, here in Pigeon Forge we had one almost come
inside the garage when Angie, Biddle and my mother-in-law had the door up half way
doing laundry. I just laughed and joked with Angie, insisting that from then on, she
made certain her mother stayed between the door and her and Biddle.

We have seen over a dozen during the daytime in our yard during the four years we
have lived in Pigeon Forge.. We know from turned over trash cans that they have
been by many nights. It's just amazing at how many are around here in the Fall when
it isn't much over a mile to the Pigeon Forge City Hall. The problem is that even
though it is a good distance to the park, there's not really anything behind our house
but woods all the way to the park. I don't know if the bears come out of the park in the
Fall looking for food, or actually live outside the park. I do think the overall population
is growing fast and that there are far more bears in the area than previously thought.

Our New DVD Release "Stalking Appalachian Trout".

Copyright 2011 James Marsh