07/28/10
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)

Useful National Weather Service Website Data:
My friend Dennis McCarthy from New Jersey sent this to me some time ago and I
wanted to share it with you. It's very useful because it shows you where the rain has
fell every hour on the hour anywhere in the nation 24 hours a day. Check it out.
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/rfcshare/precip_analysis_hourly.php

Advice on Fishing Techniques, Strategies and Methods - Part 10
Continued from part 9
I mentioned a couple of days ago that we found other insects the brook trout keyed
in on the same way they would the Little Yellow Quills. This varies depending on the
elevation. Now i know you probably think all brook trout are in the high elevations
and generally they are, but there's a big difference in those at what I call the middle
elevations and those in the high elevations. Lets take the Little Pigeon River for
example. There are brook trout at the upper end of the Chimneys Picnic area. In
fact, there are some large ones in the big pools there.

The insect population at that point of the Little Pigeon River is quite different from
the two headwater tributaries, Road Prong and Walkers Camp Prong. The Ph level
has an effect on the population but so does the elevation. It changes the type of
water and that makes a big difference because there are more clinger nymphs and
fewer crawlers and swimmers. In general, the water stays colder year-round in the
upper parts of these two tributaries and even though you wouldn't think of it as
being much different, it makes enough difference to have an effect on the insect
population.

It also makes a difference in the growing season of the fish. You will always find any
species of fish grow larger at the highest end of its temperature range (longest
growing season) it survives in. For example, the largest smallmouth bass in the
country are in Wheeler and Pickwick Lakes of the Tennessee River in Alabama.
That's the farthest south smallmouth bass exist and also, on the average, where the
largest ones exist. There's plenty of smallmouth over seven and eight pounds there.
The reason is simple. The water provides the longest growing season.

The species of aquatic insects at the Chimneys Picnic area consist of more
caddisflies (due to the higher pH), more crawler and swimmer mayflies and a
difference in the species of stoneflies. There are not any brook trout at the Little
Pigeon's exit from the park at Sugarland, but just for explanation, there's a big
difference in the insects. There are plenty of caddisflies with dozens of more
species; still a difference in the stonefly species; and a huge difference in the
species of mayflies that exist there. There are plenty of swimming nymphs and lots
of crawler nymph species. It's due both to the change in the pH and the difference
in the average temperatures of the water. Its also due to the changes in the type of
water. The upper two tributary branches, have lots of plunges and fast water in the
small streams. The lower Little Pigeon has more runs and riffles, far more water and
a lower decline meaning slower moving water.

Now so far, this probably makes little sense to many of you, but I am trying to point
out the difference in what the trout eat in these three different sections (elevations)
of the Little Pigeon River. By the way, not only are the insect species different, the
hatch times of those common to all three areas are greatly different.

These are just a few of the specific differences. The brook trout in the upper two
tributaries feed heavily on the little Needlefly Stoneflies. They are very plentiful and
hatch over a long period of time starting now any time and lasting into October.
When these little (hook size 18) stoneflies start crawling out of the water to hatch,
the brook trout key in on them. This is usually at its peak point just prior to the
spawn. You can fish an imitation of these nymphs, or a small generic imitation of a
small stonefly nymph, and catch three to four times the numbers of brook trout you
would catch on a generic dry fly. I know this isn't the thing many of you prefer,
including me, but it works far better at that time of the year. We fish them with little if
any weight added and without an indicator or multiple rigging. You can also catch
plenty of them on a dry fly imitation of the Needleflies when they are feeding on the
female adults depositing their eggs late in the afternoons.

Other insects that are present in good quantities in all three areas I described are
the Light and Cream Cahills. They are both (meaning species they imitate) present
in good quantities in all three areas I described. Keep in mind, the common names
Light and Cream consist of a lot of different species. They species are different at
the different elevations but the two flies imitate them all well depending on the
species.

It's the same with the stoneflies that are lumped together and called Yellow Sallies.
They are also different species wise depending on the elevation. I don't want to get
into the specifics here but the clinger mayfly nymphs I am referring to consist of
species from these genera:
Cinygmula; Epeorus, Heptagenia; Leucrocuta;
Rhithrogena; Stenacron;
and Stenonema. The Light Cahill is actually the
Stenonema vicarium. Some of these genera have been moved to new ones, by the
way.

There are not any
Isonychia species, or Slate Drakes, in the high elevations but
they are plentiful in the lower elevations, for example. Many of the species called
Blue-winged Olives aren't present at the higher elevations. There are few
baetis
species, for example. In reality, you would have a different hatch chart for the upper
elevations.

What difference does all this make? If you imitate the insects the trout are most
likely feeding on, meaning those most present and available versus just using a
generic or attractor fly, you will see you catch increase and in some cases,
drastically. It really isn't complicated. It just takes paying attention to what's going on
at the time.