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
Current Stream and Weather Conditions
At this point in time, conditions couldn't get much better than they are. So far
(knock on Wood) for the past couple of days we have escaped any heavy rain and
at my location, missed all the thunderstorms. It has rained in the states below us, in
western Tennessee, in the states north of us and in North Carolina for the last two
days, but not here. The only rain of any amount that has fell in the park has been
less than a tenth of an inch which was mostly on the North Carolina side.
If we continue to be lucky and escape any heavy rainfall today and tonight,
conditions should be excellent for this weekend. There isn't any heavy amounts
of water predicted to fall and everything looks great at the moment. The
forecast for today is only for isolated showers with a brief period with a chance of
scattered showers and thunderstorms. Saturday and Sunday's forecast is excellent.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter Weekend, whether you have the
opportunity to fish or not.
New Hatches Occurring or Coming Soon:
I think I mentioned it a few days ago, but there will be a roll over in the insects that
are hatching within the next couple of weeks. Looking at the insets listed above, the
Blue Quills will be gone; Little Brown Stoneflies are probably already gone; and the
Hendricksons and Red Quills will be gone.
The BWOs will still be around but they will consist of different species. This won't
make any difference from a fishing standpoint. In fact, there was a good hatch
taking place yesterday on the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River. The
Cinnamon Caddisflies will still be around, but mostly on Abrams Creek. The Little
Short-horned Sedges (caddisflies) and the American March Browns will
continue to hatch.
Either starting to hatch now, and/or certainly within the next couple of weeks, you
will start seeing the following insects: Green Sedges (caddisflies), LIttle Sister
caddisflies (mostly on Abrams), Pale Evening Duns (called Sulphurs by most
locals), true Sulphurs, following the PEDs, Little Yellow Stoneflies (Yellow
Sallies), Giant Stoneflies and Light Cahills.
Now that seems like a lot of insects to keep up with and it is in terms of numbers of
species; however, when you start to analyze it, it isn't really such a big deal. Here's
a down and dirty rundown on the hatches just starting or that will start to hatch
in the near future.
Unless your fishing Abrams Creek, the most important caddisflies are the Green
Sedges and the Little Short-horned Sedges. I'll get to the details of the hatch in the
near future, but for now just remember, the Green Rock Worm (larva imitation) is
the key fly for the Green Sedge.
The March Browns and Light Cahills will be by far the two most important, with the
Light Cahills at the top of the list, once they start to hatch. The PEDs and Sulphurs
will be located in the moderate water sections in isolated areas of the streams. You
can't say any insect isn't important, because if a hatch is taking place, irregardless
of how isolated it is, it becomes important at the time. What I mean by importance,
has to do with your odds of encountering the hatch. Your best odds here, fly wise
(but not that all stages aren't important) is imitations of the Light Cahill dun and the
March Brown spinner.
The Giant Stoneflies are very, very plentiful in the park, but you wouldn't know that
unless you started checking under the rocks of the streams. They hatch in the
evenings and stay hidden during the day in the trees. They deposit their eggs near
and after dark. You just don't see the adult Giant Stoneflies very often. Check your
lights at the campsite and you will see them. The nymphs are what is very important
at this time of the year.
The Little Yellow Stonefly, called the Yellow Sally, is the most important
insect in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. When they start hatching, the
trout will become selective on them. This is most important from a nymph standpoint
(trout eat far more nymphs during the hatch than the adults) but also important
during the egg laying which occurs late in the afternoons and early evenings.
Best Simplified Strategy:
In general, and from a down and dirty strategy standpoint, you should fish imitations
of the Green Sedge larva (Green rock worm) and Giant Black stonefly nymphs from
the time you start fishing to about 2:00 PM. Change to a March Brown or Light
Cahill dun imitations if you see any hatching. If you see either of the caddis species
laying eggs, switch to an imitation of them. Very late in the afternoon, switch to a
March Brown spinner or later on in a few days, a Light Cahill spinner imitation. This
is provided you see or find them on the surface of the water. If not, stick with the
caddis pupa or larva imitations, if there are any hatching. If not, go back to the
Giant Black or Little Yellow Stonefly nymphs. These stoneflies will move to the
shallow water near the banks very late in the day and the trout will focus on eating
them. If you learn each of the insect's behavior in detail, you can increase
your odds of success beyond the above simplified strategy.
What you don't want to do, unless you enjoy having lower odds of success, is to go
from one generic or attractor, age-old fly to the next, relying on pure luck. You will
catch some trout but you also may find out that even though the conditions are
great, you didn't do near as well as you could have done. You probably take baths
in a tub or shower these days, have electricity at your home instead of oil lamps,
drink your milk from a store instead of your cow, etc, etc. You didn't drive to the
park to fish in an "A" model Ford, at least from much further away than Cosby or
Townsend, did you?
Unless you enjoy fishing like anglers did back in the 1940's and 50's, and catching
fewer trout than you could catch, then I suggest you take a hard look at the flies
you are using and the methods you use to fish them.
Henry Ford has been dead a long time and so has Lee Wulff, Charles Adams, and
most of the Yellow Shafted Flicker Woodpeckers used to tie the Yaller Hammer fly.
What may be some of the most popular trout flies for fishing the backwoods of the
Smokies back when trout were the choice food of the moonshiners are neither the
best or the most effective flies to use at this time. In case you haven't noticed, and
as much as I rather is wasn't, this is the year 2011.
2011 James Marsh