Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Little Eastern BWOs)
2. Mahogany Duns
3. Cream Cahills
4. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Little Summer Stones)
5. Little Green Stoneflies
6. Slate Drakes
7. . Sculpin, Minnows (streamers)
8. Inch Worms
13. Flying Ants
It looks like we are finally getting some cooler weather moving in across the
Southeast. According to the National Weather Service, daily high temperatures will
range close to the mid 80's for the next few days. What's just as important from a
water temperature standpoint is that the lows will go down into the mid 60's during the
night. This forecast is for elevations as low as Gatlinburg. The cooler air temperatures
should give anglers the opportunity to fish some water that has been too warm to fish
during the last few days.
This past weekend, I noticed the water temperature of the Little River near Elkmont
would only drop down to 66 degrees during the night. This was the average
temperature early in the morning. Of course, the water temperature rose as the day
progressed and by mid-afternoon it was too warm to fish, even as high as Elkmont
What I mean by "too warm to fish", isn't any specific hard rule that says you cannot
fish warm water. What I do mean is that the higher temperatures can stress fish that
are caught and just as important, the higher temperatures indirectly cause the trout to
become lethargic. This varies with the species but in general, brown trout can sustain
and will continue to feed at slightly warmer water temperatures than the rainbows and
brook trout. My general rule for the park is that if the water temperature is over 68
degrees, I look for cooler water. I prefer it under 66 degrees. For the next few days,
the water temperature should be lower and the catching should be a little easier than
it has been in most areas of the park.
I listed craneflies above as an insect the trout will be feeding on but otherwise, I
haven't mentioned them. There are two types of craneflies - terrestrial and aquatic.
The larvae cannot swim and are usually eaten by trout when they are washed in
the water by substantial amounts of rain. You will see craneflies in every stream in the
The pupae of the cranefly species are not important to anglers. That's because both
the terrestrial and aquatic species pupae are found on land. The aquatic species
larvae migrate to land before pupating. During the pupae stage of life they stay
under the soil, leaves and logs for a month or so.
It doesn't appear that a cranefly makes much of a meal for trout. Cranefly adults have
skinny bodies, long slender legs, and long wings that lie down on the insects back.
They look like giant misquotes but they are actually harmless. Like midges, craneflies
are two winged flies.
Adult caneflies fly poorly and tend to hang around streamside vegetation. Small
streams with overhanging trees and bushes tend to have larger concentrations
of them than larger, wider streams. The female craneflies deposit their eggs on
submerged vegetation or in damp soil so they are not available for trout to eat as egg
Since the terrestrial variety get into the water by being washed in by rainwater, it
makes sense that the best times to fish cranefly larvae imitations would be following
heavy rains. Since the larvae get washed in from the banks and by small drainage
flows, it's probably best to fish near the banks and areas where the rainwater drains
into the streams.
You will see huge numbers of these flies on the water and it makes sense that the
trout feed on them although they seem to be far more legs and wings that body.
The majority of them I notice are floating in very shallow water. I would guess that
shallow water areas near the banks would be where you would want to concentrate on
placing your fly.
We came up with our imitation of the cranefly due to request from customers who
fish imitations of this insect. Regretfully, I have little experience fishing our imitation of
the larvae or the adult. I just know we sell a good many of them.
We would appreciate any information you have regarding craneflies that we may be
overlooking and your experience in fishing imitations of the larvae or the adults would
be most helpful. Please send us an email if you can add any helpful info.
Copyright 2011 James Marsh
Perfect Fly Cranefly Larva
Perfect Fly Adult Cranefly
Perfect Fly Adult Cranefly