07/22/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Little Sister Caddisflies (Abrams Creek)
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies -Summer Stones
4.    Slate Drakes
5.    Cream Cahills
6.    Little Green Stoneflies
7.    Ants
8.    Inchworms
9.    Beetles
10.  Grasshoppers
11.  Hellgrammite
12.  Cranefly
13.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)


Advice on Fishing Techniques, Strategies and Methods - Part 4

There can be some confusion when anyone makes general statements about
fishing in the shade. I have often said that you should fish the shady streams during
the middle of the day during hot weather or something to this effect. I often fail to
qualify or explain the exact conditions I am referring to. There's a big difference in
fishing shady streams than fishing the shady areas of a stream. Here's why.

Some of the streams in the Smokies are almost completely shaded. This is
especially true of some of the smaller streams in the high elevations. Sunlight rarely
gets through the thick canopy above some of the small streams. In those cases, the
water temperature is cooler than it is in a stream at that same elevation that's mostly
exposed to the sunlight during a bright, sunny hot day. It makes sense to fish the
shaded stream versus a stream that is mostly exposed to the sun during a hot
summer day. When water temperatures are approaching the higher sixties, this can
make a difference. However, this is a completely different thing than advising
someone to fish the shaded areas of a stream. Here's why.

I brought this subject up yesterday. When the hot sun is hitting various spots on a
stream but some of the water is in the shade of trees along the banks of the stream,
you will find that the temperature of the water in the shade and that in the direct
sunlight is exactly the same if the water is moving. In the Smokies, there is very little
if any, still water. Since the water in a stream is almost always moving and usually at
a pretty good clip of speed, water that is in the shade one minute is exposed to the
sun a minute later. From purely a temperature standpoint, fishing the shaded areas
of the stream doesn't make any sense. The water temps are the same.

There are factors other than water temperature to consider, however, and this was
also mentioned yesterday. Although you will find plenty of rainbow trout exposed to
the sun in such a stream, you would rarely find a large brown trout.

On a hot August day last year, Angie and I fished the West Prong of Little River, not
far above the Y. We were fishing the section of the stream that runs along the
Cades Cove Road, not far downstream from the point it crosses underneath the
road. This isn't very far above the intersection of the Middle Prong of the Little River
with the West Prong. It isn't very much higher in elevation, either. Fishing one at a
time, we caught over thirty rainbow trout in less than three hours of fishing. The
water temperature was 64 degrees.

The water temperature at approximately the same elevation on the Middle Prong,
was almost 70 degrees. Of course we didn't fish the Middle Prong. I just wanted to
compare the temperatures. The temperature of the water in the East Prong at
approximately the same elevation, was even higher. It was 72 degrees that same
afternoon. Some of you know why there was a difference but some of you may not.
The West Prong is almost completely shaded upstream of the road and the water
stays much cooler as a result of the shade. The Middle Prong of Little River has a
road running parallel most all of its length from a much higher elevations than the
elevation of the area we fished the West Prong. This road eliminates almost half of
the trees and shade they would provide otherwise. You want find many trees or
shade between the road and the stream along most of the Middle Prong.

The East Prong, or what most anglers just call Little River, has the same problem. It
has a road that runs along side the stream that eliminates much of the shade along
the stream. It's also much wider, meaning it has more water directly exposed to the
hot sun than the Middle Prong and the result is, it stays even warmer. There were
plenty of willing rainbows in the East Prong but at the same elevation, we would
have been hard pressed to catch the first rainbow on the Middle Prong or East
Prong.

The sky was blue-bird clear that day. We fished along the road where there was
little shade, mostly directly in the bright sunlight. The rainbows ate the dry fly
aggressively. As normal, under the same circumstances, it didn't make any
difference where our fly was in the shade or bright sunlight. There's a huge
difference in fishing a shaded stream than fishing shaded spots in a stream that is
only partially shaded. If you only fish the shaded spots of the stream on hot, sunny
days, you will miss out on many possibilities you may have to catch trout.