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
13. Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
Advice on Fishing Techniques, Strategies and Methods - Part 11
Continued from part 10
If you have read the first ten articles in this series, you would be aware the main
purpose of the series is to show the differences in the three different fish we call
trout in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So far, we have covered the brook
trout, which is of course, a Char, not a trout.
The next species we will cover is the rainbow trout. The wild rainbow trout
came from rainbows that were originally stocked in the park. Stocking was
discontinued in 1975. The Appalachian brook trout are native and the brown trout
came from fish that were either stocked outside the park, or by illegal means,
stocked inside the park years ago.
By the way, prior to 1975, the Northern strain of brook trout were also stocked in the
park. Not all brook trout that are found in the park are the native strain of
Appalachian brook trout. Some are descendants of the Northern brook trout strain. I
forgot to mention that in my first ten articles.
Wild rainbow trout are present in most of the streams inside the park. They are still
stocked in some streams that flow outside of the park and some of those stocked
trout make their way inside the boundaries of the park in those cases. It's very easy
to tell the difference in the wild rainbow trout and stocked rainbow trout, so you
shouldn't have a problem confusing the two if you happen to catch a stocked trout..
Unlike the brown trout, the rainbow trout doesn't make any effort to hide in cover or
under boulders and rocks for purposes of attacking prey. They don't use the
cougar or leopard approach of a brown trout. They are more like a cheetah as I
mentioned earlier in the series. They feed in zones, or feeding lanes, where the
current tends to congregate the food. They feed mostly on aquatic insects although
they will eat the terrestrial variety as well as small baitfish and crustaceans. Unlike
the brown trout, they feed their entire life span the same basic way. The brown trout
will begin to rely mostly on crustaceans and other fish once they attain a certain
size. The rainbow trout stay mostly exposed. They are not nocturnal like the brown
trout. They will feed in the direct sunlight on a bright, clear day.
Rainbow trout are very aware of overhead predators and they make every effort to
avoid those predators. This could be fleeing to a different area of the stream,
seeking deeper water and other means of escape. They don't tend to hide in thick
cover or under rocks and boulders to avoid their predators like the browns do. They
don't use the low light benefit of the shade to feed like brown trout do. In fact you
will often spot them out in the water feeding in direct sunlight.
Rainbow trout require a little more oxygen than the brown trout and are usually
found in faster water. They also tend to feed more in the faster water than the
brown trout do irrespective of the light conditions. As mentioned, where they exist
with the brook trout, they tend to feed in the faster water at the heads of plunges,
riffles and runs, as opposed to the moderate to slow water you often catch the
brook trout in. Like the brook trout, one of their problems in the park is
overpopulating. When there are too many rainbow trout for the territory and
available food, they tend to become smaller on the average. The drought conditions
we experienced in recent years in the Smokies lowered the numbers of rainbow
trout (killed a lot of them) but the result is the average size increased within a short
amount of time.
You will find brown trout tend to exist in water warmer than the rainbow trout can
exist in. When the water temperature begin to approach a level too warm for the
trout, you will always find the brown trout existing farther downstream at a lower
elevation (in warmer water) than the rainbow trout can exist. I'm not certain if this is
all to do with the actual temperature or it's more so on the temperature's affect on
the dissolved oxygen content of the water.