Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2 . Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3. Little Brown Stoneflies
4. Quill Gordons
5. Blue Quills
6. Little Black Caddis
7. Hendricksons and the Red Quills
8. Little Short-horned Sedges
9. American March Browns
Choosing the right flies for the multiple hatches occurring in the
in their efforts to try to determine what fly to use at any given time and place, the
large number of aquatic insects that are hatching can cause confusion for many
anglers. Even though most anglers use the trail and error method and select their
flies at random, those that try to match the hatching insects often have a tough time
because of the multiple hatches taking place. The above list shows eight insects
that may be hatching at this time but as I will explain below, it would be extremely
rare that all of them would be hatching at any given time and location.
Even though multiple hatches are a problem for some, it's still not the biggest
problem most anglers have in selecting flies. The big problem is that an angler can
catch trout on many different flies under the ideal conditions that exist at this
particular time. This includes most of the generic and attractor flies that are
supposed to imitate any and everything. The fact you can catch a few trout
under ideal conditions on just about any fly is exactly what misleads many
anglers into thinking they have made a good choice. Although your choice of
flies isn't the only factor in success or failure, if presented correctly, using the right
fly for the particular time and place can greatly increase your odds of success.
You should concentrate on imitating the insects that are most plentiful and
easiest for the trout to acquire. I cannot over emphasis the importance of
this. Keep in mind this may not be the full grown flies, meaning the mayfly duns and
the adult stoneflies and caddisflies. This may be the nymphs, larvae and/or
emergers of a particular species of insect.
Anytime there are a lot of different insects hatching, selecting the best fly can be
more difficult than normal, but there are ways of simplifying what's taking place. For
example, the above list of eight insects is provided to cover the most important
insects in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that are currently hatching,
most plentiful and easiest for the trout to acquire. However, all of these insects
will not be hatching in any one place at any one time. It depends on the
particular location on the stream you are fishing.
For example, at this time, most of the Quill Gordons have already hatched. They are
still listed because some will still be hatching in the higher elevations where the
water was slower warming up. The same is true of the Blue Quills but keep in mind
they do hatch for a longer period of time than the Quill Gordons. The Blue-winged
Olives of various species will continue to hatch but mostly during heavily overcast
days. A few Little Brown Stoneflies will continue to hatch, but mostly in the mid to
higher elevations. The Hendricksons and Red Quills (same mayfly) only hatch in the
moderate to slow water and soon this will occur only in the higher elevations were
there are fewer of them.
The Little Short-horned Sedges will be hatch just about everywhere there's fast
water, but only in isolated areas of a stream. The American March Browns may
hatch in large quantities at any time now, but you cannot count on them. They are
very undependable and don't hatch at any particular time of the day. They hatch off
and on over a period of several hours and off and on for as long as two months. In
the near future, Golden Stoneflies will begin to hatch in the lower elevations, but
that won't mean they will be hatching in the middle and higher elevations.
In other words, you should consider only what is most plentiful and easiest for the
trout to acquire for the particular section of the park you are fishing. In general, at
this particular time this means that in the mid to higher elevations, you should focus
on the hatches that have been occurring for the past several days in the lower
elevations. If you are fishing the lower elevations, you should focus on the newly
American March Brown Nymph
The March Brown nymphs are clingers that are very well suited for the fast water
streams of the Smokies. There are large numbers of these mayflies that exist in the
park but that can be very deceptive from general observations. The reason is that
they hatch off and on for as long as two months. Their large numbers also go
unnoticed because they don't hatch in a short period of time during any given day.
They hatch from morning until late afternoon on some days.
The best indication of the size of a hatch or the quantities of the mayflies that exist
in the streams of the park is the spinner fall but that takes place so late in the day
and under such low light conditions, it's usually unnoticed. If you observed the
numbers of the nymphs that exist underneath the rocks in the streams, you would
find there are far larger numbers of them than the hatches indicate. I'm not
suggesting you check this out. Moving the rocks around in a stream is against the
park's rules and regulations.
These are large nymphs that range from a hook size 10 to 12. They provide a large
meal for a trout but other than the time they hatch and the short times they are
feeding on the bottom exposed to the trout, they are well hidden and inaccessible.
They spend most of their life down between and underneath the rocks on the
bottom of the fast water sections of the streams, mostly the runs and riffles. I will
have more information on the March Brown nymphs tomorrow.
2011 James Marsh