10/31/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
3.    Slate Drakes
4.    Needle Stoneflies
5.    Little Yellow Quills
6.    Ants
7.    Inchworms
8.    Beetles
9.    Grasshoppers
10.  Craneflies
11.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)


Great Smoky Mountain Fishing Conditions:
We had a very good rain this past week. It put all the streams back in good
condition without blowing them out but for just a very short time. All of the streams
are in great shape. The water temperatures are averaging in the mid fifties during
the middle of the day and that's also excellent. The brown trout should be nearing
the full blown spawning era very soon. It's a great time to be fishing the Smokies.

The good weather and water conditions should hold up for at least a few more days
and maybe much longer. The leaves are in peak fall colors in the foothills.
Blue-winged Olives have been hatching very well and will continue to hatch on foul
weather days for the next few days.

You should have imitations of their nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners, in a hook
size 18. There are a few Great Autumn Brown Caddisflies around in the lower
elevations and I would suggest you have imitations of both the pupa and adult.
Other than that, the main flies you need are our 'Perfect Fly'
sculpin imitations You
should also try our
heavily weighted Hellgrammite.

Next Up:
You could probably have guessed this, but I received a lot of email asking why I
didn't write about the many streams in the state of North Carolina. Of course, I have
done the ones in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Other than that, I have only
done a few of the many others. Over the past dozen years, we have fished many
others. The state of North Carolina does have plenty of trout streams, and you can
guess what's forth coming for the next several days. We will also keep you informed
of any major changes in the fishing conditions in the Smokies..

Fly Fishing the Linville River North Carolina
The first North Carolina stream is considered one of the state's better trout streams
by some, but it's a weird one in some ways. The uppermost part of the Linville River
starts near Linville Gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains near the little community of
Crossnore. The first weird thing about the Linville River is that instead of being the
typical fast flowing, headwater stream, it flows only moderately in its upper sections
that are large enough to fish. It meanders along as if it were going to stop; however,
its upper waters are located at a high elevation and the water still stays well
oxygenated. In that sense, it's more like a Western Alpine headwater stream than a
Appalachian mountain headwater stream. It runs right along state highway #105 to
Linville and then continues flowing moderately along U. S. highway #221 to
Crossnore.

The Linville River is small to medium size stream in the Crosnore area with plenty of
water. From Crossnore, it flows onto National Park property at the Blue Ridge
Parkway near Linville Falls. Although the stream has plenty of wild trout, it's stocked
by the state. I guess this is primarily because of its easy access and hungry local
residents but in my way of thinking, it's a shame. Even when the stream gets on the
park service property, it's still stocked by the state of North Carolina. That's a big
shame as far as I'm concerned.

About three miles downstream from its intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway, the
stream flows into the Linville Gorge Wilderness. The falls and 1100 acres around
them are owned by the National Park Service. There is a visitors center and several
trails that lead to various observation points of the falls and gorge.

I don't think anyone will argue that there couldn't be enough wild trout to sustain a
good population if it were properly managed. Above the falls, the stream is a full
grown size stream. It's well capable of supporting a good many streambred trout in
my opinion. It has a good supply of aquatic insects according to the stream samples
we took a few years ago. The water appeared to be very fertile and it's difficult for
me to believe it couldn't become a very good wild trout stream.

The Linville Gorge changes things drastically. The river declines over 1800 feet in
elevation in just a few short miles. It flows over Linville Falls and becomes a fast and
turbulent stream downstream from the base of the falls. At least the easy road side
access goes away. Its about a 1400 foot change in elevation from the ridge to the
stream, so getting in and out of the canyon isn't easy. The river can be accessed by
a few very steep Forest Service trails but it's very difficult to fish the river on a day
trip. Once in the gorge, or canyon would be a better word, the Linviille Gorge Trail
follows the stream through the entire length of the canyon.

This section of the Linville River has deep plunge pools and large brown trout. The
state still stocks this section of the river, but at least they use fingerlings. I'm sure
they don't use them to make the trout grow up to be more like a streambed trout.
They do it because its much easier. I would be interesting in knowing how many
fingerlings actually make it, if that is still the current practice.

It wouldn't be a good idea for anyone to fish this area by themselves. It would be
difficult to get out in an emergency situation. As just mentioned, it is also very
difficult to get into the canyon, fish any length of time, and get back out the same
day. The canyon section is approximately fifteen miles long. Near the end of the
Gorge the river flows into Lake James.

Another weird thing about the Linville River is the two dams. The dam at Lake
James and another one on the Catawba River. That would be normal except there's
only one lake. The two original lakes merged into one after a flood and all the water
is released through the Linville Dam. That makes it a full size tailwater large enough
that it can be fished from a boat. The tailwater section is also difficult to access in
most areas and its difficult to impossible to wade, for that matter. It's also stocked by
the state of North Carolina.

In my opinion, the best thing going for this stream is the Linville River Gorge. If it
were not for that, I guess there would corn cans stowed every few feet up and down
the river. Although the gorge is a very tough area to fish, it is the only thing saving a
beautiful, wild river.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh