Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Mahogany Duns
3.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
4.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching (Little Summer Stones)
5.   Slate Drakes - hatching
6.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
7.   Beetles
8.   Grasshoppers
9.   Ants
10. Inch Worms
11. Crane Flies
12. Helligramite
13. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

Types of Trout and Trout Water - Part 3
A few years ago, one of our planned programs for www.flyfishingdvd.com was a
program to be called "Top 100 Trout Steams", or something like that. This was an
idea that sounded great in theory until I started to think about the program outline.
You cannot write a script for a program without an outline. Immediately a problem
dawned on me that I wasn't able to overcome or find a solution for. What qualities of
the stream are going to determine why it should be ranked higher than another? In
the end, I decided (and I think wisely so) that I shouldn't attempt to do the program.
It appeared the only accomplishment would be to make a lot of anglers angry at me.

Off hand, I started to list them in terms of whether or not it's trout  were native and
wild or stocked trout. Then it quickly occurred to me that a stocked stream with
holdover trout was a better stream that one without any holdovers or a "put-n-take"
stream. Obviously a stream with holdovers stays cooler year-round or has other
water qualities that keep the fish alive. Then I thought of all those streams that had
a mixture of wild and stocked trout. For example, our own South Holston River has a
good population of wild brown trout but still receives stocked trout. It is a very good
trout stream in my opinion but certainly not as good as one with a high population of
large, wild trout. If you ranked it up with a stream like the West Fork of the Delaware
River, you would have unexplainable criticism from more anglers than there are
living in Tennessee.

Then it occurred to me that the size of the trout was a big factor in many angler's
eyes. I wrote about that yesterday. A stream with big trout should be ranked higher
than one with smaller trout, or should it? A stream with a high population of good
size trout isn't necessarily any better than one with a few large trophy size trout, or
is it? We have trophy trout in Great Smoky Mountains. Brown trout grow up to a
huge size. Try catching one of them anytime other than during the spawning
season and then decide how high the streams should be ranked. Of course they
are catchable if you use the right methods and techniques, but when someone
fishes an entire day to catch one or more than likely no large trout, should the
stream be ranked at the top of the list? Our Clinch River has some huge browns but
try catching one on a dry fly. Wait a minute. Why did I throw that in? I suppose it is
because there are many anglers who rate a stream by its dry fly fishing more than
anything else. The subject is beginning to get a little complicated and
argumentative, isn't it?

I personally love to fish streams with native trout. If you look at the front page of this
website you will see that I rate the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's native
brook trout as the number one reason its a great destination. I feel the same way
about many streams with native cutthroat trout. You will often hear them referred to
as dumb trout but the ones that usually do haven't tried to catch them after they
have been out from under the ice for awhile. Most wild cutthroats eat very little
(almost nothing) for six to eight months. When the water warms up to about fifty
degrees they eat everything in sight and are often called dumb. Go fish the
Yellowstone River just below the lake now, where there are still a good many
eighteen inch cutthroats, and then tell me how dumb they are. Decide then who is
the dumbest - the angler or the trout.  

All of a sudden, my engineering background kicked in high gear and I came up with
a formula of determining how to rank the streams. I would give each thing anglers
considered important a number from one to ten that rated a certain aspect of it. For
example, if it flowed through a wild and rugged canyon with big horn sheep
overlooking its water, it may get a ten for that attribute. If it had native trout it may
get a ten for that. If it was a put-n-take stream it may get a one under that category.
If it was a great stream but had no public access it may get a - I have already
forgotten. The formula became so complicated it required more than a PhD in math
to use it.

Then I got away from my engineering approach and considered the marketing
elements of the new DVD I was going to produce. For example, consider this pitch -
"This fly fishing video provides viewers unbiased information about the streams
including the quality of the fishing, accessibility, prime hatches and seasons,
species of trout available and whether they are stocked, wild or native along with
other information that is useful to anyone planning to fish the stream".

This analogy took place about eight or nine years ago. I have all the video and
audio I need to produce such a DVD. I have video of well over two-hundred trout
streams from coast to coast. The problem is, I still cannot determine exactly how I
could produce such a program without making a lot of guys angry at me. It would
sell great. Everyone would want to see where their favorite stream ranked. The
problem is it may be the last program we produced that did sell. Since we sell a lot
of fly fishing programs, far more DVDs on the subject than anyone else in the
World, why would I want to jeopardies what we do have.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh