08/23/13

Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
Hatching:
1.     Slate Drakes
2.     Little Yellow Stoneflies (Summer Stones)
3.     Needle Stoneflies
4.     Mahogany Duns
5.     Little Yellow Quills
Most available - Other types of food:
6.     Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
7.      Inch Worms
8.     Grasshoppers
9.     Ants
10.   Beetles
11.   Craneflies
10.   Beetles



Getting Started - More Brook Trout Streams #6
Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River
For the first three years Angie and I lived in Tennessee (several years ago), we lived
in a log cabin in Gatlinburg not far from the Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River. It's
known locally as Greenbrier or Greenbrier Creek. It was about a mile to the stream
and downhill all the way. It provided a quick place for us to go to fish when we only had
a short time to do so.

We could be at the end of the road on the Middle Prong is less than 30 minutes.
Often, we would go in that far without seeing another angler, or even what appeared
to be an angler's vehicle. I guess it's just one of those entrances to the park that
few pay any attention to. When visitors are in Gatlinburg they usually enter the park at
the main entrance, or if in Pigeon Forge, via the Gatlinburg by-pass to the main
entrance.

We usually didn't go to the end of the road because to get there, you have to pass
miles of good water to fish. The only time we went to the parking area at the end of
the road (where the Ramsay Cascades Trailhead is) was when we wanted to catch
brook trout.  Sometimes there would be a few vehicles there, but those there were the
vehicles of people who came to see Ramsay Cascades or to hike into the
backcountry. I don't ever remember seeing anyone there fishing for brook trout. I
guess I should also mention that wouldn't be easy to do, even if several guys were
there fishing because most of the best water is hidden from the trail. I can't say for
certain, but I've always had the impression it's not fished very often.

You can catch brook trout before you get to the trailhead at the parking lot. We
have caught some as low as a mile below the trailhead but they are by far more
rainbows than brook trout. I know this is about brook trout, but I would like to mention
that the numbers of rainbows in that area of the stream always seemed high. On one
October afternoon, I video taped Angie catching over 50 rainbows on the upper
section in less than four hours of fishing. That's according to our tape logs, not
guessing. She caught as many as three on three consecutive cast and on more than
one occasion that afternoon.

I have introduced several of our out of town visitors to brook trout fishing at the
parking lot area. Many were from Florida, where I lived for over twenty years as well as
Angie's home state. Most of our visitors that were from Florida had never seen a trout,
much less a brook trout, so, I would just hop in the SUV and run up to Ramsay
Tailhead and show them one. I could usually do that within a few minutes of fishing in
sight of the trailhead parking lot. From the foot bridge at the parking lot upstream, the
population changes from mostly rainbows to mostly brook trout.

Fishing the upper part of the Middle Prong or any of the small tributaries is a problem
for most anglers. It's about a mile and a half above the last trial access to the
stream where the river splits into its tributaries of Chapman Prong, Eagle Rocks
Prong and Buck Fork. Below that point, it's a very difficult stream to fish with
larger, deep pools and plenty of plunges and short cascades. There's also plenty
of boulders the size of your bedroom. From the bridge at the parking lot upstream,
it's very difficult to fish. I have fished it several times but always during low water
conditions. If the water levels are normal or high, it's an almost impossible stretch of
water to fish. You can proceed up the trail about a mile or more and do much better.

The stream isn't easy to access from the trail because it is high above it in most
areas and as far up as the Ramsay Prong confluence. Above that point, there isn't a
trail that follows the main stream. The trail follows Ramsay Prong which is smaller
and more like the typical brook trout stream. The main stem heads off to your right.
It's rather large with huge pools that are, by the way, full of brook trout but difficult
to fish. It's easy to access the water at the confluence, but only Ramsay Prong is
easy to access above that point. It's about four miles from the trailhead to the
Ramsay Prong Cascades.

If you are a great climber and can get around in this type of stream, you have
plenty of water to fish on the main stem above the confluence of Ramsay Prong. It
is a beautiful stretch of water. Above that point, the main stem has several small
tributaries but we have not ventured any further up the main stem than a short
distance and then, only during low water. You either wade upstream in the water or
crawl under dense rhododendron bushes with the timber rattlesnakes.

Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River Tributaries
Ramsay Prong:
Ramsay Prong is the easiest to fish brook trout water in the entire Middle Prong of
the Little Pigeon River. That's simply because it has a trail that follows along,
although access isn't exactly easy from the trail at many places. The banks of
Ramsay Prong are steep and access is still tough in most places. It's a smaller
stream than the main stem of the river and all in all, much easier to fish.

It has been written in everything I can find, that this stream's high pH level keeps the
brook trout population low. I'm not sure if that's just repeated information or what,
but I do know that it hasn't reduced the population enough that it affects the
numbers of trout I can catch from the stream. They seem to average just as large
as those brookies from most any other stream of its size, and we seem to catch
them about as fast as we can maneuver around in the stream. That's usually not very
fast though.

Chapman Prong
I have made it to the mouth of Chapman Prong only one time and it was under very
low water conditions. I doubt I will ever do that again because I cannot think of any
reason to do so. It's about a mile from the confluence of Ramsay Prong to the
mouth of Chapman Prong and you have to get there in the streambed. There's
more than a complete day of brook trout fishing water downstream of it that's
probably better than Chapman Prong, although I have only fished a very short
distance up Chapman Prong.  When and if you get there, you will also have the
choice of fishing
Buck Fork. Buck Fork is even smaller stream that we have never
fished.

Eagle Rocks Prong comes into Chapman Prong approximately a half mile
upstream. We have never been there and I will assure you I probably never will. It
would require far more effort than I could possible muster up in a day trip.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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