08/14/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives (See Below)
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies - Summer Stones
4.    Slate Drakes
5.    Ants
6.    Inchworms
7.    Beetles
8.    Grasshoppers
9.    Hellgrammite
10.  Cranefly
11.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
12.  Cream Cahills

Basics Series - Top Tips On The Species Of Trout In The Smokies

First Decide What Species Of Fish You Want To Catch:
I recently wrote several articles concerning each of the species of trout in the Smokies to try to
point out that fishing for each one requires different strategies, techniques and methods. Since
this is a basic series, here my only point is that you should select one of the three species  -
brook, brown or rainbow and focus on catching it. Oh sure, you may catch more than one species
or even in a very few places have a chance to catch all three. That's beside the point though
because the more you focus on catching a particular species, the better your odds will be.

Today's Tips Are On The Brook Trout:

1. Fish High In the Mountains;
This means approximately 3000 feet above sea level and higher. This is easy to
determine with a GPS, either a hand-held unit or your automobile unit. Both can be
purchased for as little as a hundred bucks. If you cross the park on highway #441,
this means in Tennessee, starting about the head of the Chimneys Picnic Area on
Little Pigeon River and upstream to the top of its headwater streams, Road Prong
and Walkers Camp Prong. On the North Carolina side of the park, it means at the
headwaters of the Oconaluftee River, or Kephart Prong and Beech Flats Prong. Of
course, this is just an example, there are many, many other brook trout streams.

3. Wade and Fish Upstream in the Small Brook Trout Streams:
This is true of just about all the fishing in the Smokies but I will point it out here to
make sure you are aware of this very basic rule.

4. Make Short Upstream Cast:
You would rarely need to cast over twenty or twenty-five feet. Most our your cast
should be about 15 or even less.

5. Fish The Ends of the Runs and Riffles:
You might catch a brook trout in the fast white water. It happens occasionally, but
most strikes will occur near the ends of the fast water in water that is flowing at a
moderate speed. Don't overlook the slow water. They will rise from water almost still
water in some cases.

6. Make Several Cast to the Same Areas:
I have watched my wife make so many cast to the same area of water until I was
going nuts and then, guess what, she catches one. I have also watched her catch
as many as six brook trout from the same little pool. I move far too fast for this type
of fishing. There's just something about the brook trout that makes it seem as if they
want to look at a fly before taking at times.

7. Stay Low and Move Slowly:
If the brook trout see you, your chances of getting them to take a fly is greatly
reduced and sometimes impossible. The lower your profile, the less likely they will
spot you. Sudden movements catches their attention even though you may be a big
flat, blur though their window of vision.

8. Brook Trout Will Often Come Back to a Fly They Miss:
Unlike the wild rainbow and brown trout, brook trout will often come back and take a
fly they miss the first time. Just slow down and present it again.

9. Don't Be Fooled With The Old Wives Tales About The Fly Isn't Important:
Brook trout are highly opportunistic but the fly can be very important. They remind
me of largemouth bass in respect to this. You can catch them on a large variety of
flies but if you use a fly that represents the food that is most available at the time,
you will catch far more. I learned that lesson bass fishing after losing thousands of
dollars to guys who knew better, and I have also learned that about the brook trout
in the Smokies. We have been able to catch as many as one out of every two cast
at times using imitations of something hatching or about to hatch in the brook trout
waters. This brings up the next tip.

10. Don't think the little high elevation streams have far less food:
The few guys that have written books and articles about the Smokies and not all,
but most of the fly shop owners and salesmen in the area of the Smokies will tell you
the brook trout have very little to eat. This is just something that originally was most
likely speculation from folks that knew little about the food supply and that has been
copied and repeated over the years by other people that know very little about
aquatic insects. They usually blame this on the pH. It's true that water with a low pH
want generally have as many aquatic insects as high pH water but in the Smokies,
there is very little difference. Our hundreds of test and studies have proven that per
square yard, there is very little difference in the quantity of aquatic insects in the
high elevation brook trout streams than the lower elevation streams. The insects
population is quite different in terms of species but the quantities are near the
same.  

11. Get Our Fly Fishing DVD on Brook Trout:
We have a one hour long DVD on fishing for brook trout. Much of this program was
shot in Great Smoky Mountains National Park but it contains scenes from all over
the United States. It tells you just about everything you could possible need to know
about fly fishing for brook trout.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh