Freestone Streams - Part Five:

It does not take much to upset the balance of nature in a freestone stream.
Many, many factors have done just that. The logging of timber has been a major
problem for many streams. The construction of roads has also affected many of
the streams and in many different ways. The construction of Cherokee Lake has
also affected some of the streams. Acid rain is yet another adverse factor that
has affected streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The list goes
on and on.
For our purposes here, the main thing to be gained from these adverse affects
is that anglers should be aware of what makes a freestone stream produce good
trout fishing and what hurts them. Two important points to stop and register is
water temperature (which also affects the oxygen content) and water levels or
stream flows.
Knowing these two things about a freestone stream is the
first and primarily the most important things to know.
Water temperatures
can be obtained from this
website for the Little River near its exit from the park.
Under normal weather conditions you can expect the water upstream of that
point to be slightly cooler. You can also guesstimate that other streams in the
park near the same elevation are close to that temperature. By far the best
source of information is the angler’s thermometer. It will provide water
temperatures that are accurate at the time you are fishing at the particular point
you are fishing.  
Stream flows can be obtained from this site for the Little River at the same point
or at the "Y" near Townsend, Tennessee. Most of the time this will give you
some indication of the water levels and stream flows on other streams in the
park, but not always. Thunderstorms that occur in a different watershed can
change that very quickly.
The next most important thing would probably be the clarity of the stream’s
water. The stream levels and flow rates are good indicators of the water clarity
but this information alone is sometimes deceptive. Of course, once you are on
the stream, you can see the watercolor conditions for yourself.
The pH of the water is yet another factor that affects the trout and its food but it
is one you can do little about. You can change the way you fish to adjust to
water temperature and water levels but you can't adjust for high pH levels.
Of course, just knowing the water temperature and level is not enough. The
information is worthless if you do not know how it affects the trout and how it
affects your fishing.

Coming Up Next:
Freestone Streams - Part 5

Copyright 2008 James Marsh