07/23/10
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 5

I have mentioned some of the differences in rainbow, brown and brook trout in the
first four articles in this series but I haven't really gone into any of the details of
these differences that are so important in catching them. Remember, the brook
trout isn't a trout at all and the brown and rainbows came from different parts of the
world - the brown Europe and the rainbow the western coast of North America.
When you think of it like that, it isn't odd that big differences exist between the
species. Also, I must remind those that haven't read the first three articles, I am
strictly referring to those wild or stream born trout, and in the case of brook trout, I
am only referring to native trout (Char). I am not referring to stocked trout.
In addition, I am only referring to those in freestone, mountain steams. This doesn't
necessarily include any spring creeks or tailwaters even though some things may
also be applicable for these other types of water.

I'll start with the Great Smoky Mountains only native species of the three, the brook
trout, a member of the Char family of fish. As pointed out in one of my other three
articles, I there's big differences in the Southern Appalachian brook trout and what
is called the Northern brook trout. It is thought that the brook trout south of the New
River in Virginia are genetically different from the brook trout north of there. The
different populations have evolved separately.
This publication gets into this
difference.
This book brings out some other points about the differences. The
Northern strain generally grow larger than the small Appalachian Brook Trout. Like
many other species of fish, their size depends greatly on the food they have to eat.

When I traveled to Southeast Canada in my younger years to fish, I caught some
very large brook trout, up to three pounds. This was done on spinning tackle and is
something I almost forgot about until I found some old pictures. I'm sure many of you
have seen pictures of large ones caught on fly gear and some of you have probably
even caught some of these brook trout on the fly. Most of these large brook trout
feed on other small fish. Most of them live in lakes at least for most of the year.
They normally move back and forth between lakes and streams connecting the
lakes. Those brook trout that have been stocked in our tailwaters also grow to large
sizes and again it is due to the food they have available to eat. The Northern Brook
Trout grow larger in some streams, but again it all depends on the food.

I received pictures of some Northern Brook Trout from a guy in Canada via email a
few months ago. He said that I should come up there and fish for brook trout. I wrote
back and ask where he caught them and asked if they were wild or stocked. He
didn't know. That ended my inclination to want to investigate that any farther. I also
discovered his intension was only to try to make fun of the small brook trout shown
on this website. The joke is on him, although he is too stupid to realize it. He didn't
know there are any differences. He just though he was great at catching large brook
trout. I just had to throw this in today's article, mostly because it still irritates me as
you can probably tell.

The small brook trout that are native to the Smokies don't grow very large. The
largest we have taken is one by Angie that measured eleven and a quarter inches.
She has caught several very near that size, far more than I have. My largest is
about ten and a half inches.

One reason for the small size has much to do with the physical size of the streams
they live in. The big reason is the available food. Like many other species, these
little fish tend to overpopulate. When that happens there isn't enough food for them
to grow large. For decades, this has been misconstrued by writers contending there
is little food for the brook trout to eat in the small, high elevation streams of the
southern Appalachian mountains  This is very misleading and I will get into that
tomorrow. Per area of stream bottom, the small high elevation streams have as
much food as the average lower elevation stream in the Smokies.

Of course, as most of your probably know, in most cases these small brook trout
have to compete with rainbow trout for the available food, making it a bigger
problem than it is when the brook trout are the comparatively large species. The
average size of the brook trout in the Smokies is probably only about five inches.

Continued