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)
Changes In Hatches:
Before I get started, please note some changes that have taken place during the
past couple of weeks in the hatches and insects available in the park for the trout to
The Cinnamon Sedges and Green Sedges (caddisflies) have ceased to hatch.
Cream Cahill mayflies actually started hatching two or three weeks ago and I forgot
to update the list. I did write about the Cream Cahills at that time. Golden Stoneflies
are no longer hatching. The only Little Yellow Stoneflies that are hatching and they
are only in sparse quantities, are the Little Summer Stones. They are sometimes
called Yellow Sallies but they are not Yellow Sallies and are shaped much different.
The Blue-winged Olives that are hatching off and on are sparse and mostly Eastern
Blue-winged Olives, or Drunella species of crawlers, not baetis or other swimmers.
There are three species of these that hatch in sparse quantities during the Summer
and early Fall. Of course there are the terrestrial insects that represent a small part
of the trout's diet. Don't overlook the ants, beetles and other land dwellers. Don't
overlook the craneflies either. They will become very plentiful in the next couple of
months and the trout do eat them, especially the larvae stage.
Advice on Fishing Techniques, Strategies and Methods:
It has always amazed me just how quick some outdoor writers, and these days,
others that write via the World-Wide-Web on websites and blogs, give advice as to
how, when and where to fish without specifying the species of trout they are writing
about. Someone may write that you should fish early, late, or midday: fish the riffles,
pools, runs, etc.; fish the shaded water; fish only fast water; fish the uppermost
streams, lower streams, etc. etc. etc. I have been guilty of doing that myself at times
as hard as I try not to. I guess I sometimes think the reader can read my mind and I
fail to qualify statements as fully as they should be to make good sense but I do
think I do a better job than most of those that write about trout fishing.
Almost everything you could say along those lines stated above and/or any other
similar type advice depends largely on the species of trout among many other
things. If its a current article, you can assume the writer is referring to the current
time of year but that is about all you can assume in many cases.
If you are writing about fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for trout,
that is one thing. If you are writing about fishing any of the local tailwaters, that's
another completely different thing, for example. All the trout within a couple of
hundred miles radius of the Smokies (with the exception of brown trout in the South
Holston Tailwater in Tennessee) are stocked. The stocked trout in our local
tailwaters and the wild and native trout in the park don't relate to each other in any
respect or manner. Neither do the stocked trout in the freestone streams.
Now, lets narrow the trout down to just those in the park. As I'm sure most of you
know, there are three species of fish called trout - the brown, rainbow and brook. In
reality, there are only two. The brook trout is a member of the Char family of fish. It
isn't a trout. Futhermore, when you read something written about brook trout, be
aware there's not only a genetic difference in the native Southern Appalachian
Brook Trout and the Northern Brook Trout found in the East, there's also a big
difference in the fish themselves - source of food, habitat, behavior and habits.
Catching a wild or native Northern Brook Trout from the Rapidan River in Virginia,
isn't the same as catching a native brook trout from Road Prong in the Smokies.
There are huge differences.
The bottom line to all of this, is the brook trout we have in the Smokies is one thing.
The streambred rainbow trout we have in the Smokies is yet another thing. The
streambred brown trout we have in the Smokies is yet another completely different
thing. In other words, what relates or applies to one of these three species, rarely
applies to the others, yet you will read where many anglers, fly shop owners and
even guides give advice and just refer to trout. I'll go a step farther on the brown
There are two kinds of brown trout in the park - little ones and big ones. That
sounds a bit stupid but the facts are, large and small brown trout act and behave
very different, especially when it comes to their eating habits. Whereas you may
catch some large brown trout from the Big Horn River in Montana on a small dry fly,
you may spend the rest of your life trying to do that in the Smokies, although it
happens sometimes. I did set the hook on a very large brown a couple of years ago
on a small dry fly, only to be so shocked I managed to lose it.
The way a rainbow trout behaves, especially with regard to its eating methods and
how it handles sunlight and different water clarity levels, is completely different from
a brown trout. This is also true of the brook trout. They do not behave like either the
brown or rainbow. These three fish actually have very little in common, so
when you read about how to catch trout in the Smokies, you better put a big
question mark on everything you read that isn't clearly specified. For example, if
you only fish the shady spots for rainbow trout, you may as well just face the fact
you haven't finished trout school kinder garden yet.
During the next few days, I will try to point out many of these differences and offer
some specific advice on each species. Even then, I will have to be very careful not
to forget to qualify the many things that could make a difference.