06/04/12
Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
Hatching:
1.    Little BWOs
2.    Green Sedges (Caddisflies)
3.    Cinnamon Caddis (Mostly Abrams Creek)
4.    Light Cahills
5.    Little Yellow Stoneflies (Yellow Sally)
6.    Sulphurs
7.    Slate Drakes
8.    Golden Stoneflies
9.    Little Green Stoneflies

Most available/ Other types of food:
10.  Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
11.  Inch Worm (moth larva)
12.  Beetles
13.  Grasshoppers


Where Have All The Anglers Gone
I don't know if it's a Troutfest lull, a Memorial Day Weekend lull, or what, but from my
observations driving around the park (waisting gas at the price of milk) a few times during the
past few days, it appears that anglers have abandoned the Smokies. I guess it could be they
just abandoned the roads and they all hiked into the back country, but I doubt that's the
case. Maybe they just abandoned the tourist and decided to fish somewhere else because
there's no shortage of visitors in the area. What appears to be billions came to Pigeon Forge
and Gatlinburg on Memorial Day weekend and took up permanent residence. The main drag
in PF looks like Manhattan without the tall buildings.

Visiting upper Oconaluftee River, Little River, Little Pigeon River, the Middle Prong of Little
River (some areas two or three different times) I discovered a total of three anglers fishing.
One of them was using spinning gear. I did talk to several anglers planning trips into
Cataloochee Valley, the Raven Fork and some other remote locations during the past couple
of weeks. I haven't been to either of those locations recently.

It could also be that everyone is taking my advise and getting off the roads. I hope that's the
case because stream and weather conditions have continued to be excellent for some time
now. There are fewer insects hatching but that's normal and to be expected. That doesn't
mean there's a shortage of them as the above list indicates. It is just that the unusually warm
weather we have experienced for the past few months still has the development of all the
insects at least a couple of weeks ahead of an early schedule and probably closer to a
month ahead of normal schedule.

Living With Bears:
I was watching TV late Friday afternoon at about 9:00 PM when a loud scream came from the
kitchen. It was my mother-in-law having one of her panic attacks. She screamed
"James,
there's a bear at the back door".
I should have said "let him in" but I couldn't think that
fast.

Angie was taking clothes to the laundry room when she noticed a bear just causally walking
up the driveway just outside the half glass side entrance door. It was staring back at her
standing in the little side foyer with an arm load of clothes. She mentioned it to her mother (a
life long Florida resident) who instantly ran to the door from the kitchen and screamed
bloody bear murder.

The scream caused Biddie, our child dog, to start barking and Angie to start telling both her
mother and Biddie to hush. When I got to the door the bear had walked around the Jeep,
knocking one of my tomato sticks down and breaking off one of the prize plant's limbs. I
guess the bear didn't realize, or otherwise didn't care, that those plants cost me $3.99 each
at Walmart plus high Sevierville taxes, about $20.00 bucks worth of potting soil, and $6.00
worth of that plant food stuff that makes them grow fast. I haven't purchased the poison for
them yet.

I walked out into the parking area of the drive as the bear walked out from behind the Jeep,
stopped and turned to look at me and then just causally wobble off into the woods. I
proceeded to beat the hood of the vehicle to scare the bear off but that just made him (I
think it was a him because I didn't see any cubs) stop and turn to look at me again. It
occurred to me that nothing I was going to be able to do was going to scare the bear. That
effort just slowed his progress down. Just a few feet from there he disappeared into the thick
woods surrounding the back of the house. There could be ten bears within thirty feet of the
side door that's between the garage and kitchen and never be seen. We live in the woods.

As I have written before, for four years we lived about a block from the park boundary in
Gatlinburg where we had regular visits from bears. We quickly learned what to do and not do
to live peacefully among them. When we moved to Pigeon Forge a few years ago (inside the
City limits with sewer, garbage service, water and all the things available in the largest metro
areas of the nation) we didn't expect to still be living with the bears. That proved to be wrong
the first month. After picking up our garbage strewed out all over the woods a few times,
finding our bird house destroyed (ripped out of a tree by a bear that broke a ski rope to get
it), and finally seeing several of them, we had to revert to the "living with the bears strategy"
again.

Our huge, city of Pigeon Forge rolling plastic trash can stays at the end of the driveway on
the side of the road until it is loaded with trash within an hour of the pickup time. We don't put
any food in it, but empty bags that had food in them at one time is all it takes to attract bears.
Those are stored inside the house until trash pickup time. All food waste goes down the
garbage disposal. We do have a large BB grill just outside the side door and we do grill
every once in a while and that does attract bears. If I have to give that up, I will move.

For the past year or so, we have seen just a few in our yard. Those just passed through the
yard. I'm sure there's plenty we didn't see. That's all the bear did Friday afternoon - just pass
through. Angie has zero fear of them, and that's really what bothers me. She thinks of them
as pets. We have captured several hours of video of wild bears from across the nation.

The circle we live on goes around the top of a high ridge and has only a few cabins and
homes on it. Two or three are rented to visitors. Between the ridge behind the house and the
Spur, National Park, and Wears Valley there's nothing but woods. Since realizing we still live
with bears, I think the only reason we see them is the people that rent the cabins don't know
to follow the bear rules. As long as anyone puts any type of food outside, you can bet your
last dollar there will be visitors.

The bottom line is we live with bears and in my pure layman opinion, I think that will continue
to be more and more of concern. I think the population is increasing. I should also mention,
that in my professional, highly experienced opinion, living with bears is better than living with
your mother-in-law.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
..........New! click to see the...............
.....2012 Troutfest Journal article:
"Smoky Mountain Trout Flies"