09/27/11
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

New Fly Fishing Strategy Series - What Fly To Use - Part 10
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, please do so. It will help make this article more meaningful.

The first note of importance is that there's no significant changes from last weeks
strategy article in the insects and other foods the trout may be eating.

We didn't get near the amount of rain I expected to see yesterday. Most of the park
received from a quarter to a half inch of precipitation. A few small areas got almost
three-quarters of an inch. It has made little change in the low to normal stream levels
that currently exist in the park.

Little River, which was getting fairly low, rose just a tad. Little Pigeon River, which was
relatively normal, changed very little, not even enough for me to be able to sneak up
on the large smallmouth I've recently discovered. The small amount of rain didn't even
get the water slightly dingy. Due to the very unusual location of these fish, I'm
beginning to think it's impossible to make a cast without spooking them. I keep
checking the water but for the last couple of weeks, there's hasn't been a reason to
even try. I did make an attempt just before it was cracking daylight two days ago, but I
spooked them when it was still dark.  I didn't even get into position to attempt to make
a cast. No, I'm not telling anyone exactly where because that would probably result in
the fish leaving the area for good.

All in all, the weather and stream conditions in the park remain in very good shape.
The rain was just enough to keep things normal. I checked out a few locations Sunday
afternoon between 1:30 and 4:30 PM including travel time to and from my home, but I
actually fished only about an hour. Most of the time I was in route to different
locations. I had to leave prior to the time any hatches should occur, so I didn't really
get to determine much in that respect.

My fishing schedule has changed drastically during the last year. I would normally
never fish the park on a weekend, rather fish a good bit during the week. I wanted to
fish yesterday (Monday) because of the low pressure system moving in, but fishing on
weekdays has become more and more impractical because Angie and i both are busy
getting Perfect Fly orders out.

I caught trout at each of the three different locations I fished, a total of seven. Since I
was checking the streams for staying up to date with this article,  I left each location
catching trout. It reminds me of fishing during the three day practice days of the
national B.A.S.S.tournaments I fished back when Moby Dick was a minnow. You just
catch a couple of fish and leave to look for another spot to fish during the tournament.
I think some of the trout guides do that when they're trying to develop a strategy for
their upcoming clients but other than that, I doubt many anglers choose to leave when
they are catching fish. Doing so doesn't normally bother me, but in the case of my last
stop on the Oconaluftee River, having to leave did bother me. Being rather stupid and
not paying close attention to what I was doing, I lost a very nice brown trout. I wanted
to stay and get even but I couldn't without upsetting Angie's plans. I keep learning not
to do that - the hard way.

I guess I'm straying from the subject and probably because there's little change in the
strategy I recommended from last week. I did see a couple of Little Needle Stoneflies
flying around on Walkers Camp Prong but I left before I could see the extent of what
may be hatching. I didn't see any Little Yellow Quills and wondered why. I saw a few,
but only a few, Mahogany Dun spinners in the bushes on the Oconaluftee, but again,
left before a hatch would have taken place. I didn't see any Little Yellow stoneflies on
upper Little River or the Oconaluftee. I spotted a couple of Slate Drake Nymph shucks
on rocks at Little River.

I caught fish on the #18 Blue-winged Olive Nymph but changed to an #18 Mahogany
Dun nymph after seeing a couple of spinners on my last stop on the Oconaluftee
River. I feel fairly confident I would have seen some hatches and spinner activity if I
could have stayed another hour or two. It was a clear day Sunday and I doubt there
was much hatch intensity. All in all, the action was much faster than I expected.

I'm not going to repeat the same strategy I outlined last week and the week before
that. Just stick with imitations of the nymphs that are most available and plentiful - that
is the BWOs, or depending on your observations, State Drake and/or Mahagony Dun
nymphs. That shouldn't change until you see hatch activity taking place. If so, go to
an emerger or dun imitation of that insect. Just before dark, check the water for
spinners.

Note:
I did have one customer that reported he did okay on the Straight Fork. I'm glad to
hear there are still fish there. He noticed some obvious flood damage in the upper
section but not much change in the lower part of the stream. He had fished the stream
before and reported he didn't really notice any change in the catching, although he
fished for only a short time.  

I've been reluctant to suggest Straight Fork to anyone since the flood problem they
encountered a few weeks ago. That's great news because that's one of our favorite
streams to fish. He also noted that he spotted some Little Yellow Stoneflies, but also
noted that they were smaller than a hook size 14. My guess is that they were either
Little Green Stoneflies, some of which are yellow as yellow gets, as strange as that
sounds, or either some small species of Summer Stones that are not very plentiful. At
any rate, he did see some Yellow Stonefly activity, whereas I haven't in a while. There
will be some upcoming hatching of these stoneflies taking place. That's for sure. Also
keep an eye out for the slightly larger size Fall
baetis hatches (BWOs) that will take
place in the near future.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh