Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2 . Blue Quills
3. Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
4. Little Brown Stoneflies
5. Hendricksons and the Red Quills
7. Little Short-horned Sedges
8. American March Browns
Eastern Green Drakes - Spinners
The Eastern Green Drake Spinner is normally the highlight of the Green Drake
hatch. The reason I added "normally" isn't because they don't often produce trout
when fished properly. It's because the only substantial quantities of them in Great
Smoky Mountains National Park are in the upper part of Abrams Creek and fishing
there late in the day can be a big problem. To be more specific, they hatch mostly
in what I call the Spring Creek part of the stream, or the portion of the creek above
the confluence of Mill Creek. You may see some on Mills and good quantities of
them much farther downstream than Mill Creek but the majority come from the
portion of the creek above Mills. The problem is not only do the spinners fall late, in
the early evening to be specific, but they close the gate to Cades Cove. It's just
about impossible to catch the beginning of the Green Drake Spinner Fall on
Abrams Creek. Your best odds would be on a day like yesterday, when it was very
cloudy right up until it was dark. They will start to fall much earlier in the evening
when it's cloudy.
There's a few other Eastern Green Drake hatches in the general area. One stream
known for its hatches is the Davidson River in North Carolina. There are a few in
the lower Tellico River in Tennessee and several of the streams near the
Tennessee - Virginia state line. Virginia has several streams with good populations.
They are all over the state of Pennsylvania and in many other locations north of
here. There are also some others in the general area of the Smokies in small
quantities, so I will get into it some more.
The Green Drake spinner is called the coffin fly. It doesn't resemble the dun very
much at all. Something unique much more so than with most mayflies is that the
females are larger than the males.
The male spinners begin to appear first and the females join them soon thereafter.
They are so large, they are easily spotted in the sky. The entire spinner fall will only
last about an hour, if that long. The males just fall on the water and sometimes the
banks, if it's windy. The females will begin to dip down to the water to deposit their
eggs and then fall spent in the water.
At times it's effective to imitate the male spinners as well as the female’s egg laying
process. That is why we have two spinner fly patterns - a male and a female
spinner. They are two completely different colors. Both can be effective. A
downstream presentation may be necessary in smooth water Since you will be
fishing in a low light situation, an eight foot leader, with a two, foot long 4X tippet
would probably work. Even after dark, the trout will hit the spinners and they usually
make a loud noise when they do. Most of the time, the trout will set the hook taking
the fly without much effort on your part. I hope all of you get to fish this hatch at one
time or another. It is very exciting. The trout will go nuts over the big mayflies. They
are such easy prey for them. Also, the larger brown trout will readily take them,
much more than most other mayfly imitations. Of course, that won't happen in
Abrams Creek. There are not any browns there as far as I know.
Something I may also mention is that when the trout get used to seeing some of the
spinners on the water, they may take an imitation of them even during the day and
again, especially if it's cloudy. They are not the most intelligent animals on earth.
You may try fishing a spinner on Abrams during the day if it's cloudy and after the
first spinner falls have occurred. We haven't tried that on Abrams Creek but we
have with some success in some of the other streams we have fished. Once the
trout have seen a few of them, they don't exactly check their watches to see what
time of day it is.
Above you can see the difference in size and color. The above image doesn't show
it very well, but the females are yellow and the males are white.
Female Spinner above
Male Spinner Above (Coffin Fly)
Perfect Fly Female Spinner Imitation above and Male Spinner Imitation below
Notice the male is shaped slimmer. It has a white body but it's thorax is almost black
Also, the yellow hen feathers turn translucent and look much more like the yellow
tinted spinner's wings when the real wings fall spent (flat) on the water.
2011 James Marsh