06/22/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Cinnamon Sedges (Caddisflies) (Abrams Creek)
3.    Green Sedges (Caddisflies)
4.    Little Sister Caddisflies (Abrams Creek)
5.    Eastern Pale Evening Duns
6.    Sulphurs
7.    Little Yellow Stoneflies -Yellow Sallies
8.    Slate Drakes
9.    Light Cahills
10.  Little Green Stoneflies
11.  Golden Stoneflies
12.  Ants
13.  Inchworms
14.  Beetles
15.  Grasshoppers
16.  Hellgrammite
17.  Cranefly
18.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)


If you read it, it is a fact, Right?
I learned many years ago that it is very difficult to make a general statement about
fishing that's always true. Just about anything you say about the subject has
exceptions. There are good reasons for this. General statements made about
fishing usually involve far too many variables to do that accurately. The first obvious
variable comes from the word "trout". There are three species of trout in Great
Smoky Mountains National Park. Well,
here we go already. I just qualified that
statement by adding "Great SMNP". Let me further qualify that statement. There are
actually only two species of trout in the Smokies - the rainbow and brown trout. The
brook trout is actually an Arctic Char. Now that I have made those two exception, let
me get back to exceptions. That didn't make much sense, did it?

Like any general statement made about fishing, a general statement about trout
fishing usually has exceptions. For example, take a statement I just recently read
that stated "you should fish the shaded areas of the stream during the day", Well,
what if the sky is covered with the dark clouds of a thunderstorm and it's about to
rain. Would that statement hold up? No, because the assumed implication of the
statement is the higher trajectory of the sun places more light in the water. There
wouldn't be any shaded areas of the stream under these conditions. Since that
statement was made in reference to fishing at this time of the year the assumption is
the sun is more directly overhead during the middle of the day unlike its low angle to
the horizon during the winter. Okay, lets revise that statement.

Lets change it to "since the sun is getting higher in the sky during the summer
months and since if is a clear day, you should fish the shaded areas of the stream
during the day. Now, If a father said that to his fourteen year old son, the boy might
ask "why dad?. Is the water cooler in the shade, or is it the trout just don't like the
bright sunshine?"  

Now, those are completely legitimate questions, aren't they? Okay, lets make
qualifications to the statement and say "since the sun is getting higher in the sky
during the summer months and since it is a clear day, you should fish the shaded
areas of the stream because the water is cooler in the shade". Now that statement
makes sense if the water is still, or in a lake or pond, but it doesn't make any sense
if the water is moving such as it is most anywhere in the streams of the Smokies. If
you take the water temperature in the shade and then in the sunshine in the same
area of the stream with a good thermometer, you will find it is always within a degree
of being the same. In fact, it is usually exactly the same. The only difference would
be in the accuracy of  the thermometer.

Now considering the dad made that statement to his son about fly fishing for trout in
the Smokies, he would be left with another big question. Lets assume he answered
by saying, "they just don't like the bright sun". Now if the kid has read very much
about fishing like I did at that age, he probably has already learned that there's a
big difference in the way a rainbow trout feeds and a brown trout feeds. So, if the
kid said, "Dad, that may be true of the brown trout because they tend to be
nocturnal but not the rainbow trout. According to Field and Stream Magazine, they
feed when the bright sun is shinning on the water, dad."

Obviously, the dad is left with having to make more exceptions to his statement. Lets
assume he says, "I was talking about brown trout" son. Surely, that is enough
qualifications, or is it? Lets suppose the son recalls a fishing trip to the Smokies the
past season and replies "Dad, do you remember those brown trout I caught last
year on the Bradley Fork. I caught them in the bright sun during the middle of the
day." Now the father is left with having to make even more exception to his
statement. He must reply, "I was referring to large brown trout, son". Those you
caught were only about ten inches long".

As most of you probably already know, brown trout are very different in that respect
from rainbow trout. Smaller wild brown trout (notice I added yet another exception
and specified wild as opposed to stocked) will feed on insects similarly to the
rainbows. They will often take dry flies from the surface whereas large brown trout
rarely will. Large brown trout tend to say hidden and feed in low light conditions.
They must resort to feeding on baitfish and crustaceans in the streams of the
Smokies in order to acquire enough food to survive. They rely on the element of
surprise to do that they stay hidden most of the time during the day, especially
during bright light conditions. So, obviously, the statement would have to be revised
to state that "If you are only fishing for large brown trout, etc. etc, etc.

Well, I could go on and on with this but let me end it with this statement.
The next
time you hear or read that you should be fishing the shaded areas of the
streams in the Smokies because it's Summertime, you better disregard the
information.
You will be surprised where such misleading, worthless information
may come from. You may get it from those you would assume know what they are
talking about. You may even get it from a fly shop.