09/26/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives (Little BWOs)
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Quills (
Heptagenia Group)
4.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Slate Drakes
7.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8.    Grasshoppers
9.    Ants (includes Flying Ants)
10.  Beetles
11.  Craneflies
12.  Great Brown Autumn Sedge

More Examples of the Importance of Presentation
Yesterday, I wrote the following:
I cannot place too much emphasis on the importance of presentation of the flies I
recommend you use at any given time. Off hand, your probably thinking I mean you
should get a drag-free drift. In most cases, you should get a drag-free drift, but that's
just part of making a good presentation. It's even more important to present the fly in
the same manner as the natural insect or other food the fly is intended to imitate
would behave, otherwise, your defeating the purpose of the imitation. There's a big
tendency for one to just cast the fly in the fast water of a run or riffle, and try to get a
good drift, without given any consideration as to whether or not that's the area of the
stream, and the type of water, that particular imitation should be drifting.

I first want to add to yesterday's article where I wrote about imitating the Little Needle
Stoneflies as an example of the importance of presentation.
The same thing I wrote
applies to fishing imitations of any stonefly, not just the Little Needle
Stoneflies.
The nymphs of all stoneflies crawl out of the water to hatch. The same
thing would apply to the Little Yellow Stoneflies listed above. The same thing also
happens to apply to Slate Drake mayflies. This is an uncommon, or unusual way for
most mayfly species to hatch, but the Slate Drakes hatch almost the same way. Their
nymphs also crawl out of the water to hatch.

I received an email last night asking how you go about imitating the nymphs crawling
to the banks to hatch. Although I have written about this before, I will briefly mention
some details about it again. If you're fishing from a bank, which is probably best if it's
possible, you would first want to stay well away from the edge of the water to prevent
spooking the very trout that may be feeding on nymphs migrating to the banks.
Remember, you want to fish areas adjacent to fast water runs and riffles, but where
calm pockets are near the banks. It may only be small areas of slower flowing water,
or a very small pocket of calm water, but these is the types of areas where the
nymphs crawl out of the water to hatch.

Add weight (split shot) to the tippet a few inches above the fly. Also, remember you
would be doing this late in the day near sunset when these nymphs start to move to
the banks to hatch. Cast the fly across, or slightly up and across, to allow time to get
the fly down on the bottom. Mend the line to help get it down. When the fly is well
downstream, hold the rod tip up and allow the fly to swing all the way to the bank. You
may need to mend the line more than once to keep in on the bottom all the way to the
slower water near the bank.

If your wading, you want to do the same thing. Position yourself about ten feet from
the bank, so when you extend your arm and fly rod out towards the bank, the fly can
reach the bank. This is a lot like making a wet fly swing. Make a down and across cast
and get the fly on the bottom. When it's directly downstream of your position, reach
your fly rod out towards the bank to bring the fly all the way to the bank. Short cast
won't work in this case. You will need to keep the fly a good ways from you to keep the
trout from seeing you, especially if the water level is low.

Continuing on with yet another example of this as relates to the above listed
insects, let's use the Mahogany Duns.
These are crawler nymphs. These insects
are mostly in the streams of the lower elevations and the in some streams of the mid
elevations. They don't live in the fast water. Trying to catch trout imitating these
mayflies by making short, upstream cast in the fast water runs and riffles is not very
effective. If these mayflies are hatching, they will do so in the calm water of the
pockets near the banks and behind larger rocks and boulders, shallow edges of
pools, and in some cases the tails of pools. That's where you want your fly to drift.
These nymphs rarely hatch in water over a couple of feet deep and it's usually about
a foot or less. You have to be very careful not to let the trout that feed on the nymphs
of these mayflies see you. They often just dart in and out of deeper water to the
shallow areas to grab a nymph. You have to make much longer, up and up and
across stream presentations to keep from being seen. I don't suggest anything larger
than a 6X tippet if the water is low. In this case, you want the fly to drift a short
distance in the slow to moderate flowing water. This can be out in the stream behind
large boulders but more often, close to the banks.

Again, you want to add a small split shot a few inches above the fly, but it will only take
a small amount of weight. The problem with this presentation is usually drag. You
most often have to cast across sections of fast moving water and getting a short,
drag-free drift isn't easy. At times you may have to make quick mends of the line just
to get a short drift.

Catching trout on the Mahogany Dun hatch is not exactly easy. It requires very good
slack line presentations. Some would call it technical fishing. If the insects are within
two or three days of starting to hatch, or if the hatch has just started, fishing imitations
of the nymphs and emerging nymphs using emerger fly patterns, can produce several
trout in a short time. In general, this same thing applies to fishing imitations of any
hatching aquatic insect. If your doing so at the right time of the day, and in the right
areas of the streams,
you can usually catch as many trout in an hour or two as
you can catch all day long on an attractor or generic fly pattern.

Our Perfect Fly store is just about out of Mahogany Dun flies, nymphs, emergers,
duns and spinners, because they have sold well the past few days for the eastern
streams but even more so for many western streams the past few weeks. Species of
the same genus hatch across the entire nation during late Summer and early Fall.

Tomorrow is Tuesday, and I will be providing another article on the new Strategy
Series for fly fishing the streams of the Smokies.  

Copyright 2011 James Marsh