07/24/09

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

The Learning Process - Part 33 - Destinations
This continues with the same subject of yesterday's article - destination trout
streams that are stocked, streams with wild trout and streams with native trout. As
mentioned yesterday, the subject becomes far more involved than just labeling a
stream with one of these three designations.

The first complication arises when one stream has all three types of fish - stocked,
wild and native. There are some streams that have all of the above. Those are
usually streams that have native fish, which are usually either cutthroats in the West
or brook trout in the East usually found in the headwaters; wild trout that have
reproduced from stocked trout, either brook, rainbow and/or brown trout; and trout
that are stocked by state agencies. We have that situation in the Smokies. For
example, the Little River and Little Pigeon River in Tennessee and the Raven Fork
in North Carolina, have native, wild and stocked trout. Although trout are no longer
stocked in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, they do sometimes swim inside
the park after being stocked outside of the park. However, rarely would you find all
three types of trout in the same area of water.

Now I guess some of you are wondering what the big deal is with this. There is no
big deal. Its just that when anglers are discussing fishing for trout in a stream that
has all three types of trout, whatever it is they are discussing involves one or more
of these three types of trout which can and do act differently not just as to species,
but as to origin. You have anglers that are just as content in catching a stocked
rainbow trout from the Little River in Townsend as they are catching a wild trout in
Little River at Elkmont. You have anglers that prefer catching stocked rainbows and
hybrid trout in the Raven Fork in Cherokee to wild trout upstream in Straight Fork
Creek inside the park. One reason for this is the size of the trout. You might catch
an eighteen inch rainbow in downtown Cherokee but you would never catch one
that large from the Straight Fork unless a large, stocked trout happens to swim up
in the park.

We learned years ago that you couldn't just simply designate a stream as having
wild, native or stocked trout, even if you designated a combination that exist.
Angers will be quick to point out that such and such stream has a huge "holdover"
population of trout. For those of you that aren't familiar with what holdover trout are,
those are trout that have survived the hot summer (or cold winter in rare cases)
after being stocked and continue to grow and thrive the following year or years. The
longer a stocked trout survives in the wild, the more it adapts the behavior of wild
trout. It no longer gets fed with pellets at a hatchery. It must learn to eat the food
that is available in the stream its been stocked in.

Most of the time those streams that are stocked during the winter months and have
few or no trout that survive the hot summer, are called "put and take" trout streams.
The states "put" the trout in and anglers "take" them out or they die. Theres few or
no "holdover" trout. Put and Take streams are not well accepted by serious fly
fisherman. Those are the streams with the empty cans of corn left along the banks.
If you want to start a heated argument among anglers, start talking about how a wild
trout compares to a holdover trout in terms of how difficult the fish are to fool with a
fly. Some anglers will argue there is no difference and others will argue there is no
comparison between the two types. I can just about tell you the type of stream each
angler in the argument fishes the most. The anglers that say there is little or no
difference in the two types of trout, wild or holdover, usually fishes a stream where
holdover trout are the big deal. Anglers that fish streams with only wild trout, will
usually argue there is no comparison between the two types of trout.

We learned very quickly to be careful to qualify the type of trout we were talking
about when we were producing
our series of 18 fly fishing DVD. What you say or
write about one type of trout, may or may not apply to another type of trout. When
we produced
"Strategies That Catch Trout", we had to be careful in designating the
type of trout we were talking about. I mentioned that title because we got six orders
for that one DVD from six different anglers across the nation just last night.  

Several years ago, I scheduled a DVD production I planned to title "Top 100 Trout
Streams". That sounded like a great title that would sell well. We would not only
rank the top 100 streams in the nation, we would show the streams and the fish
being caught from each one. It didn't take very long for us to figure out that we
would have 99% of the anglers in the United States disliking us. The only ones that
wouldn't would be the anglers that fished the stream that we rated number one.

By the way, I want to know how you go about rating a stocked trout stream with one
that isn't stocked. How do you rate one with large holdover trout with one that has
only wild trout? If any of you know, please clue me in on the secret in doing that.