08/23/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives (Little Eastern BWOs)
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Quills (
Heptagenia Group)
4.    Little Yellow Stoneflies (Little Summer Stones)
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Slate Drakes
7.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8.    Grasshoppers
9.    Ants (includes Flying Ants)
10.  Beetles
11.  Craneflies


"New" Fly Fishing Strategy Series - What Fly To Use Part 5
Remember: The key is to imitate the insects and or other food that's most
available and easiest for the trout to acquire.

If you haven't read the first parts of this series:
What Fly To Use Part 1, What Fly To
Use Part 2 , What Fly To Use Part 3, and What Fly To Use Part 4, please do so
because it will make the following much more meaningful.

The insects that may hatch and terrestrials that are plentiful along the streams of the
Smokies haven't changed from last week. As of today, the conditions of the streams
haven't changed. The streams are all low and the weather is remaining hot during the
day. Temperatures at Gatlinburg will range from a high of 85 to 90 with lows down to
59 but averaging in the mid 60's.
There's an excellent chance the low water
situation is going to change drastically within the next few days
. Irene is
currently on a course that will bring plenty of rain to the Smokies. In fact, it could bring
too much rain in too short of a time span to the Smokies. It could also stay out in the
Atlantic and bring little rain.
Strategies for fishing four to seven days from now
may change drastically based on the course Irene takes.

Notice there's six aquatic insects that are capable of hatching at any time. As of
yesterday, judging the situation during the short time spans I spent in the Smokies the
past two days, I didn't see much evidence of anything other than Little BWOs
hatching. Keep in mind that the only insects that haven't hatched this year that are
not listed above and are of any size in their nymphal stage are Great Brown Autumn
Sedges, Blue-winged Olives, and another species of Little Yellow Stonefly. Most of the
others are eggs or tiny, tiny nymphs or larvae. There are plenty of one-year old
Golden Stonefly nymphs and one and two year old, Giant Black Stonefly nymphs in
the streams, but they stay well hidden under rocks on the bottom of the stream, and
are not easy for the trout to acquire. Of those aquatic insects that haven't hatched
that are listed above, all but the BWOs, Slate Drakes and the Mahogany Duns are
clingers. They stay well hidden until they begin to hatch. In other words,
at the
current time, there's more BWO and Slate Drake nymphs (both swimmers)
and Mahogany Dun (crawler) nymphs available for the trout to eat than
anything.

Some of you may think there are more terrestrial insects than aquatic insects that's
available for the trout to eat at the current time. That's absolutely not true. Unless
there's strong wind or heavy rain, the numbers are not even close to being
comparable. There's far more aquatic insects in the streams available for the trout to
eat than there are terrestrial insects.

This isn't to say the trout won't take imitations of terrestrial insects. I am just pointing
out what's most available and what will provide you the highest odds of success. In
terms of catching more trout, your odds are still higher fishing imitations of (1) the
small BWO nymphs, hook size 18 and 20, (2) Mahogany Dun nymphs and (3) Slate
Drake nymphs.
These nymphs are in the water in plentiful quantities and are
the easiest source of food for the trout to acquire;
however, if one of the other
aquatic insects begin to hatch in any given stream and at any given time, imitations of
the appropriate stage of life of that insect will provide your highest odds.

For those of you that are not that very familiar with the insects, the reason for this is
that when any of the aquatic insect begins to hatch, they become very subject to
being eaten by trout. They become completely exposed and very obvious to the trout.
For example, the Little Yellow Quills ((clinger nymphs) could start hatching within the
next couple of weeks and if and when they do, they will have to come out from under
their normal hiding places under the rocks on the bottom of the fast water and move
to slower water. They will become very obvious and very exposed to the trout. When
they rise to the surface to emerge they become easy pickings for the trout. That will
be what the trout will focus on and imitations of them will bring you the highest odds of
catching trout.

The bottom line strategy to this is fish imitations of the nymphs listed above, BWO
nymphs still being the top choice, until you see evidence of an aquatic insect
hatching. If you do, swap to an imitation of the appropriate stage of life of the hatch.
As mentioned in the last three weeks of strategy articles, go to terrestrial imitations
anytime during or just after it has been very windy, or there has been enough rain to
wash terrestrials such as ants and beetles into the streams. Also as mentioned in
previous articles, you may want to fish a streamer imitation of a baitfish, minnow or
sculpin very early in the day, or anytime the water becomes dingy from rainwater.
Following this strategy will bring you the highest possible odds of success. Again, as
mentioned in the last strategy articles, you can still catch some trout using dry flies
and terrestrial imitations dry and wet, but if you want to catch more trout, follow the
strategy I just outlined. It may not seem all that exciting and you may want to fish a dry
fly more than this strategy would offer, but it is your best way to go about catching
more trout.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh