09/28/12

Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
Hatching:
1.    BWOs (Little and Eastern BWOs)
2.    Little Yellow Quills
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
4.    Slate Drakes
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Mahogany Duns

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

Quick Fishing Conditions Update:
If you read my Fly Fishing Strategy article this past Tuesday, you noticed I wrote that I expected
the National Weather Service to increase the then predicted 30 percent chance of rain the closer it
got to the weekend. I don't know why, but they seem to always do that as the fronts move closer.
They did increase it but so far, not that much. They are showing a 50% chance for Saturday at this
time early Friday morning.

If it rains a substantial amount be sure to consider terrestrials. I have made two short trips to the
park yesterday and the day before and both times I noticed a lot of ants and beetles. My yard and
driveway are also crawling with them. Some of the Carpenter ants are big.  If the rain is heavy
enough to stain the water, be certain to try streamers on up during the day, not just when there's
low light conditions. I have seen a few browns that exposed themselves obviously on their way
upstream looking for spawning areas.

The bottom line is the fishing conditions are excellent, as good as they could possible be. Unless
the rain is too heavy, and I doubt it will be, the conditions should remain excellent for the next few
days.

Midges - Part 3
Fishing imitations of midges in the park, or any small freestone mountain stream, is a lot different
than fishing them in tailwaters or spring creeks. That written, there's also a lot of similarity. There's
several reasons for the differences. The biggest difference is the streambed makeup. A solid rock
substrate doesn't allow midge pupae any chance of having burrows. Lower pH levels is also a
factor. In general, all other things equal, you will find lots more midges in water with a higher pH.
That's also true of most other aquatic insects. The third thing is that fast water and conflicting
currents make fishing midge imitations more complicated than fishing them in still or slow, smooth
flowing water.

Now that I mentioned three important reasons midge fishing is different in small freestone streams,
you should also be aware that in water more suitable for midges, they represent the great majority
of aquatic insects. Streams like the San Juan in New Mexico I wrote about in the first part of this
series has hundreds if not thousands of larvae per square foot of bottom. It does have rock
bottoms in places and some runs and riffles but a lot of soft bottom

The streams in the Smokies mostly have rock bottom; however, If you look closely, you will also see
a lot of soft bottom areas and silt, sand and soil that's layered over rock where midge burrows can
exist. There's lots of banks that have soil suitable for midges. It doesn't take a lot of area for
billions of midges to exist. In other words, there's a lot more midges in the streams of the Smokies
than you may think there are.

Again, these little insects can hatch several times a year. It's a rare day you won't find any
emerging. I haven't mentioned it yet, but not all midge species are burrowers. They can also exist
in piles of leaves, rotten wood, silt, and many other types of places.

I will again point out that in the Smokies, I'm not suggesting anyone should consider midges
year-round, even though they hatch year round. What I am suggesting, is that when the water
temperature is below the mid 40's, that's usually your best bet. Don't think for a minute you can't
catch trout in that cold of water because you certainly can. At times you can catch very good
number of them. I'll get into the details of the methods and techniques of doing this in the
forthcoming articles.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh