07/31/09

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

Rain, Rain, Rain and Some Tips
I am back home from another fishing trip working on our video for those trout in
spring creeks so clear that you can tell what sex a scud is from a hundred-feet
away. Well, maybe not quite that clear but certainly much clearer than some of the
streams I passed over coming home. It is raining as I write this and warnings of flash
floods are constantly being broadcast over the radio I am listening to early this
morning. I doubt there will be much fishing going on in the Smokies today. The
streams look like they are pretty well blown out and probably getting worse.

Although this may have fouled up some peoples fishing plans for this weekend, it
doesn't hurt the trout in the park. When I think about the last couple of years, it is in
fact wonderful, that is unless it changes to a major flood. I haven't thought about
that. It certainly didn't affect the number of people in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
Theres no shortage of visitors.

I have been concentrating on stalking fish and casting to them in gin clear water.
Now I am thinking about writing something about fishing stained water and it
occurred to me that some of the things you need to do are just about opposite of
each other. You don't have to worry about staying low and hidden from the trout.
They want be able to see you well for a while, or until the water clears back up. I
want be fishing today or tomorrow it looks like. Its not because I wouldn't like to
experiment with the water but because I have other boring things to do. It made me
think of this situation about three or four years ago.

I don't remember the time and I don't want to have to look it up my video log books
but it was during hot weather and the water was up and out of the banks in most
streams in the park. I wanted to try to catch trout under the adverse conditions. I
knew large brown trout would take advantage of the low visibility situation caused by
the stained water and come out of their hiding places to feed in the daytime. I didn't
know exactly what I wanted to do but then I thought about fishing the Alabama River
above Mobile Bay for bass. Around 1980, when I was living in Mobile and wasn't
saltwater fishing, I fished some local bass tournaments. We would run our bass
boats about thirty miles out of the Delta and up in the river to fish simply because
the bass were larger. It wasn't exactly a bass fishing heaven up there but the fish
did tend to stay in isolated locations and move around with the changing water
levels of the river. Normally, when you are fishing lakes and the water rises, you fish
the shallower water around the banks. Thats because the bass will move to the
banks to feed. When the lake start falling, the bass will move off the banks back into
deeper water on structure.

My friend Ed Catrick, convinced me things were just the opposite in the Alabama
River. When the water was high, it ran out of the banks of the river and into the
woods where it normally wouldn't be. When it dropped back down into the banks,
you would find little streams of water flowing out of the woods into the river draining
the flooded land around the river. In the water draining into the river was all kinds of
food for the fish. Several kinds of terrestrial insects, worms, grubs and etc. The  
baitfish and bream would gather to dine on all the available food being washed into
the river in the small drainage streams. The bass would gather around those areas
and feed on the baitfish and bream. That is where you fished a small crankbait or
spinnerbait to load the boat with bass for about a day or two when this situation  
occurred. Our limits of ten bass would double the those guys that fished the lower
Delta area of Mobile Bay.

Now back to the park and trout fishing, after the Alabama River situation ran
through my mind, I decided to try to find the same thing happening when the water
was running back into the streams of the Smokies. The first day, all I could find was
flooded streams where the water was out of its banks some. It was not draining back
into the streams. The second day I found some drainage areas just like I was
looking for. I fished the Little River not far below the turn off the main road to
Elkmont. Fishing the areas where the water was draining into Little River from the
woods, I was able to catch several trout in a short time. They were about fifty-fifty
browns and rainbows that ran about the normal size except for one brown that was
a solid fifteen inches. That one took a chartreuse Wooley Bugger. I fished a variety
of flies and did very well but if I had of stayed with streamers, I think I may have
scored well on larger brown trout. That was my thinking after I caught the larger
brown trout anyway. The next day I tried it but the water coming into the streams
was only little trickles. Most of the water had drained back into Little River. The
streams tend to drain back down in their normal range very fast.

Even if we do get too much rain today, I doubt it will be very long before everything
is back in perfect condition, water level wise anyway. It usually only takes a day, or
maybe two if it has blown out very much. If you do go, stay out of the dangerous
water and fish the areas where water is draining back into the stream from the
bank. For large browns try your favorite streamer. Normal size nymphs fished below
an indicator will probably catch plenty of trout in the type areas I am writing about.






At 5:00 AM this morning, Little River is still at 2.5 feet, down from 3.00
Copyright 2009 James Marsh