07/26/12

Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
Hatching:
1.    BWOs (Eastern)
2.    Green Sedges (Caddisflies)
3.    Cream Cahills
4.    Little Yellow Stoneflies (Little Summer Stones)
5.    Slate Drakes
6.    Little Green Stoneflies

Most available/ Other types of food:
7.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8.    Inch Worm (moth larva)
9.    Beetles
10.  Grasshoppers
11.  Ants

Current Fishing Conditions in the Smokies

There has been some rather big swings in the weather patterns in the Smokies during the last several days.
It is interesting to me that just about the time visiting anglers begin to complain about the rain we received
for several straight days, things seem to change overnight. Now they are complaining about the heat and
low stream levels. After worrying about drought conditions returning, local residents were very happy to see
the rain we received in the Smokies during recent days. That same rainfall wasn't exactly welcome to those
visitors who planned their vacations during that time period. It just seemed like the very next day after
people stopped complaining about the rain, they started complaining about the heat and low water levels.
Now hear this! It takes rain to have water in the streams.

Personally, I prefer the low stream levels but when it's 77 degrees in Gatlinburg for the nightly low, and 94
for the predicted high for the day, low water levels are not exactly good for the trout. The less water in the
streams, the warmer it will get in a given amount of time. The big problem affecting the water in the middle
and lower elevations of the park is the warm nights. Put as plain and simple as I know how to put it, the
water just doesn't get a chance to cool off.

Although a relatively few anglers that fish for trout have one, next in importance to a fly, a fly line, and a fly
rod and reel should be a thermometer. If you have one, my advice is to stick it in the water for the
necessary length of time it takes to get an accurate reading and proceed as follows. If it is 67 degrees or
higher, leave and head to higher ground.

For those that don't have a thermometer and are not that familiar with the streams in the park, I'll offer this
free "where to fish" advice.

Until the weather conditions change and the nightly low temperatures drop down substantially, the daily
highs drop back down into the high eighties, don't fish below 2500 feet in elevation unless your fishing
before 10:00 AM in the morning. You will be much better off to fish above 3500 feet.

On the Tennessee side of the park on Little River, that means a good hike above Elkmont but no lower than
the campground, no where on the Middle or West Prongs the stream is still called Little River, No where on
Abrams Creek. On the Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River, no where below the parking areas at the end of
the road. On the West Prong of Little Pigeon (the one through Gatlinburg) no where below the Chimneys
trailhead.

In North Carolina, on the Straight Fork, no where below the metal bridge. On Big Creek, no where within five
miles of the campground. In Cataloochee Valley, no where lower than the campground (which is about 2500
if my memory is right). On Oconaluftee, no where below the first place (highest point) the river runs beside
#441 highway. On Deep Creek, Hazel Creek, Eagle Creek, Noland or Forney Creeks, no where you would
want to fish on a one day, non-overnight trip you would want to start out from anywhere near  Cherokee
Lake - meaning only where you would logically approach the streams from their headwaters. Otherwise, you
will be doing a lot more hiking than fishing.

For those that won't use a map, won't buy a GPS and won't instant answers about where to fish, that's the
best down and dirty information I can come up with.  

Can you tell I'm a little frustrated?
Copyright 2012 James Marsh