Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2 . Green Sedges (Caddis)
3. Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
4. Little Sister Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
5. LIght Cahills
6. Little Short-horned Sedges
7. American March Browns
8. Eastern Pale Evening Duns
10. Little Yellow Stoneflies
11. Little Green Stoneflies
12. Golden Stoneflies
13. Slate Drakes
14. Streamers (Sculpin, Minnows)
15. Inch Worms
Slate Drake - Nymphs
The large Slate Drake swimming nymphs prefer rather highly oxygenated water.
They are found in all the streams of the Smokies. Nymphs are quick and move fast
when they migrate to the shallow water to hatch. They act a lot like small minnows.
We show these mayflies hatching in the streams of the Smokies from the last week
of May all the way through the third week of September. This is a very long hatch
period and there may be plenty of days within that period of time that few or none of
them hatch. We have seen the duns along the stream and the spinners on the
water about every week during each of the months covered in that period of time.
The month of June and September seem to have the most activity. They are not bi-
brooded, which means they do not hatch more than once a year. They exist from
the lower elevations all the way to the larger parts of the brook trout streams in the
high elevations, so we think much of this has to do with the elevation.
After the nymphs migrate to the banks of the stream, they crawl out of the water on
the banks and rocks, boulders and logs to emerge into duns. If a dun gets into the
water, it would be purely accidental. They change into spinners within a day, or two
at the most.
Imitations of the nymph should be fished in pockets near the bank and behind rocks
and anything protruding out of the water such as logs. You can allow the imitation
to drift naturally on a dead drift or you can add short, erratic stripping motions to
the fly. In this case I would not add any weight or if so, very little.
The “down and across” presentation works best fishing shallow water along the
edges of the stream. This lets you fish a good ways from your position and helps
prevent spooking the trout. In this case we recommend using the stripping action to
imitate the quick, short darting motions made by the nymphs.
During the times the nymphs are not hatching, you would probably be better off
adding weight a few inches above the nymph imitation to help keep the fly down
near the bottom. The amount of weight depends on the water depth and swiftness.
In this case I would suggest an up or up and across presentations.
You can also present the fly on the swing keeping the rod high in the air and
staying in contact with the fly. This is best done in the runs and current seams
along the pockets. These nymphs can often be found in very shallow water, so
don't be afraid to fish the shallow water areas adjacent to the deeper water.
Check out our Perfect Fly imitation of the Slate Drake nymph. The fly looks and
acts very realistic in the water.
2011 James Marsh