07/13/09

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Cinnamon Caddis - Mostly Abrams Creek
3    Little Sister Caddisflies - Mostly Abrams Creek
4.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
5.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching (Little Summer Stones)
6.   Slate Drakes - hatching
7.   Little Green Stonefly - hatching
8.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
9.   Beetles
10. Grasshoppers
11. Ants
12. Inch Worms
13. Crane Flies
14. Helligramite
15. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

Current Fishing Conditions in the Park
The thunderstorms continue to provide water for the Smokies like the text book
version of the weather for the mountains. I will hear loud thunder followed by the
loud downpour of heaving rain hitting the roof every once in a while and then
everything calms down again. If you read anything about the weather in the
mountains that has been written during the past fifty years, you will find it fits the
current conditions closer than it has in the last three or four years.

The higher you go in the mountains, the more common the quick storms come and
go. The storms may completely miss one watershed yet another one a few miles
away may see a quick rise in the water level. In other words, everything is normal
for summertime in the Smoky Mountains. It may sound a little strange but for the last
few years, nothing has been very normal. The water has been getting very low and
the non-native trout have been in trouble.

Realizing that last sentence isn't quite true, I started to erase it but decided to let
you get the point like I just did. Instead of the trout being in trouble, the low water
probably actually helped. There is such a thing as having too many fish in any
given habitat and that has occurred before in the Smokies. I'm sure the park
fisheries people could give you plenty of detailed info on that subject but basically,
when there are too many fish in a given amount of water, the fish won't have as
much food to choose from and they want grow as large as they normally would. The
conditions of the past few years may have helped far more than they hurt the wild
trout. We certainly haven't been able to tell any difference from a "catching"
standpoint.

If you will look at the list of insects above, you will notice huge changes have taken
place during the last month. If you eliminate the two Abrams Creek insects listed, it
leaves only a half dozen aquatic insects, none of which you can expect to blanket
the water or even appear in good quantities except in very isolated locations. I
couldn't tell you any particular location to sit down and watch for you to see any one
of those hatches occur for certain. They probably wouldn't happen in any one
location yet they very well could. All six of the insects hatch somewhere about every
day. It is just that they are very isolated and scattered about. In other words, you
need to be aware of what may hatch, but you shouldn't expect any one of them for
certain.

If the rises in water levels due to thunderstorms aren't to drastic, you may find the
fishing conditions improving. They wash the terrestrial beetles, ants and other food
in the streams for the trout. The slightly off color water isn't bad at all. It may even
help depending on how you go about fishing it.

Even though you may catch a few trout anywhere in the park with the current
conditions, my advise would be to fish only the higher elevations. If the elevation is
less than 2500 feet, I wouldn't recommend you fish there. That eliminates a lot of
water in the park. A quick check of your map will show that. You will also eliminate
most of the tubers, kayaks and swimmers.