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)
12. Great Brown Autumn Sedge
New Fly Fishing Strategies Series - What Fly To Use - Part 12
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.
Before I Lay Out My Strategy Suggestions, Happy Birthday Angie. We will be
eating cake and ice cream today for sure. We will have the Queen's party and as
usual, Biddie (our only child, a Cocker Spaniel), will think it's for her. She won't get
any cake but she will get plenty of treats and to wear her birthday hat and play with
the balloons and the other trinkets. My 39th birthday was so long ago I can't even
remember it. I can't even remember my 40th one which most people think is the most
memorable one of all.
Last Friday morning, first thing in the morning (I didn't write down the actual time like I
usually do but my guess is around 9:00 AM), I made a quick trip to the area just above
the last uppermost parking section of the Chimneys Picnic area. Angie and I have
done that for several years at various times during the year, and have always seemed
to do very well. There's rarely anyone there early in the mornings and the kids are
almost never there throwing rocks in the stream and wading the shallow areas of Little
Pigeon River. It's difficult to go very far upstream without climbing over huge room size
boulders or wading deep pools even with the low water, but there's usually plenty of
rainbow and normally some huge brook trout there. In fact Angie has caught some
whoppers there in previous years, but such wasn't the case for me last Friday. I didn't
even get a good look from one.
I fished a size 18 Blue-winged Olive nymph and then after discovering two Little Yellow
Quill spinners clinging to the underside of some leaves, I changed to an imitation of
the spinner even though I've never seen them deposit their eggs in the mornings.
That didn't work either, but it did tell me Little Yellow Quills had been hatching and
probably were still continuing to hatch. I stopped at the lower end of the picnic area to
see if I could pick up a rainbow fishing around the highway #441 Bridge. I didn't get a
strike on the LYQ spinner or the BWO nymph. I only fished for about 45 minutes, but it
was completely unproductive. I haven't the slightest idea why. The normal disturbance
and activity at the picnic area shouldn't have been a factor. I don't think the kids have
ever scarred the trout to the point they left the area.
Saturday, I fished almost the same area as the last area I fished Friday morning on
Little Pigeon River just downstream of the Chimneys Picnic area bridge and then
moved to two different areas of Little River below the turn to Elkmont. I fished from just
after 2:30 PM until a few minutes after sunset but that included driving to different
locations three times.
At the first stop on the Little Pigeon River, I noticed Little Yellow Quills hatching as
soon as I got to the water. There were several of them hatching in the slow water at
the edges of the riffles and runs. I tied on a Little Yellow Quill dun and caught three
small rainbows within the first thirty minutes or less, but then it ended and that was
over. I didn't see any more duns or get another strike during the next thirty minutes of
fishing. I should have been there an hour earlier.
I moved to Little River in some of the deeper sections hoping to nail a larger size
brown. I used the same game plan as I have recommended for the last few weeks and
started with the Blue-winged Olive nymph. I knew the water was still a little warm and
slightly early for the fall baetis, size 18 BWOs to hatch, but it's certainly getting about
that time. We show them starting to hatch about the middle of October on our hatch
chart. I know the water has plenty of the nymphs, which are swimmers, and are not
able to avoid being eaten by the trout as well as other mayflies such as the clingers.
The nymph performed very well as it has been doing for the past few weeks. I caught
eight trout the nymph on Little River, both browns and rainbows and in two different
locations. I had one brown around ten or eleven inches that was the largest fish I
There were some Diphetor species of Little Blue-winged Olives hatching and another
species that was probably an Acentrella species but I'm not sure about that. These
are very small mayflies that are difficult to tell apart without good light. I changed from
the #18 BWO nymph to a #20 BWO dun but didn't have any takers. I switched back to
the nymph. I'm sure the hatch had already ended because I noticed some spinners
dancing over my head when the light was situated just right. The little Jenny spinners
are tiny, clear bodied and probably didn't fall until near dark. This same thing was
going on at two locations on Little River which were about three miles apart.
I didn't see the first Mahogany Dun or Slate Drake nymph shuck on any of the rocks
indicating they had hatched. I think the water is still a little too warm for much activity
from these or the baetis BWOs. The trout take the #18 BWO very well. Although I
probably left a little too early, I didn't see any spinner activity. I'm sure the little BWOs
spinners fell but they are impossible to see on the water and don't usually fall in warm
weather until it's almost dark.
By the way, regarding the Great Brown Autumn Sedges, I didn't see the first adult and
I looked closely in the bushes. I think it needs to get cooler again. They were starting
to hatch but it appears they have slowed down too. Things will change quickly if the
water drops about five to ten degrees.
I know there's not much to report that's very exciting but if you want to catch the most
trout you can catch, meaning have the highest odds of success, I'm still
recommending you follow the same strategy as I have recommended for the last
couple of weeks. I feel confident that if I had started earlier in the day, I would have
caught several more trout and more on the dry fly for sure. I didn't fish the brook trout
streams. I know they have started spawning and that can be very good or very bad,
depending on the exact stage it's in. My guess is you could probably catch more in
numbers fishing the streams in the higher elevations. Amazingly, I only saw two or
maybe three vehicles of what I thought were anglers fishing. I rarely fish on Saturdays,
but it seemed it didn't make any difference last Saturday. I guess most anglers were
watching football games.
I didn't get to go yesterday but it sure was tempting. Some rain has fell, the water is
rising some and the conditions looked absolutely excellent. It was overcast most of the
day. I'll be the birthday man today, be good and stay at home. I may talk Angie into
driving into the park later today.
The trees are beautiful around our house. Of course, they aren't in full Autumn mode
yet, but there's leafs of all colors from the deepest reds, yellows and oranges to the
bright green of the pine and fir. The moss is even pretty. It just seems there's more
color than there has been in the past four years we have lived in Pigeon Forge or
before that in Gatlinburg. It's probably just my imagination, or maybe I just haven't
been stopping long enough to notice.
I hope all of you, wherever you live, will take the time to stop and smell the roses, or I
mean wet leaves, or is it leafs?
Roses? Hum, It just hit me, I haven't bought a birthday gift yet.
Copyright 2011 James Marsh