Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2. Little Yellow Quills (Heptagenia Group)
3. Needle Stoneflies
4 Slate Drakes
5 Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
9 . Craneflies
10. Great Brown Autumn Sedge
New Fly Fishing Strategies Series - What Fly To Use - Part 13,
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.
This is a continuation of the strategies you should use for fly fishing the streams of
the Smokies. Yesterday's article dealt primarily with pre-spawn brown trout. As
mentioned, hatches of Blue-winged Olives, Slate Drakes, Little Yellow Quills, Needle
Stoneflies and fall caddis - Great Brown Autumn Sedges should increase prior to the
front passing. However, because a high pressure system will take over from Friday
through this weekend, there will be fewer numbers of them hatching at that time. The
warm air preceding the passage of the cold front will continue to prevail until Friday
and this will increase the intensity of the hatches. The front will pass tomorrow night
and conditions will change to high pressure. This will be great for the tourist but not so
great for the anglers and hatching insects.
Notice I have reduced the numbers of insects by the eliminating the Mahogany Duns
and Little Yellow Stoneflies. For all practical purposes, the terrestrial insects will also
play a much lesser role than they have been, especially after the front passes.
Something I often fail to mention is that the Little Needle Stoneflies and Little Yellow
Quills are generally found mostly in the smaller, mid to high elevations. The Slate
Drake Drakes and Great Brown Autumn Sedges are mostly found in the larger, lower
to mid elevation streams. The Blue-winged Olives are found in all the streams but are
more concentrated in the lower to mid elevations.
You should go back and review the details of fishing these hatches in case your not
familiar with them. There's far more to it than just tying on the right fly. Making sure
you fish at the right time and putting the fly in exactly the right place in the stream is
more important than anything.
As I have been writing for the last three or four weeks, the most available insects in
the water at this time of the year will be the various species (there have been as many
as four different ones) of mayflies called Blue-winged Olives. Again, for the highest
odds of success, you should use an imitation of the BWO nymph and change to a dry
fly when you observe something hatching. At this time of the year, there's more BWO
nymphs in the water than any other grown nymph or larvae. That's what the trout see
the most of and that's what you need to imitate.
The larger size #18 baetis should begin to hatch at any time after the approaching
cold front moves through on Thursday night and the temperature drops.. The water
temperature should be at the highest in the mid fifties for this to happen. That should
be the case this weekend. Although there will be only be a few of them hatching, that
further concentrates the trout's attention. As mentioned several times, unlike what
many anglers tend to think, the fewer numbers of insects that hatch, the more
the fly should imitate those specific insects. The reason is simple. Generic flies
don't imitate any particular insect. They work the best they will ever work when the
trout are seeing lots of different insects. When there's only a few insects, the more
your fly should act and look like the real ones. Of course, your always better off using
specific imitations anytime and anywhere, but you do need to know what's most
plentiful and most available. If you don't, your playing a guessing game and strictly
relying on trial and error. In other words, instead of knowing what your doing,
your relying on luck.
You won't get this information from most fly shops and there's two good reason why
you won't. One reason is that only a few of the shops that I'm familiar with (and i have
been in many from coast to coast) have owners or employees that actually know
anything about the food that's in the streams. The other reason is the fact they only
have specific imitations of a very few insects and most of the time, that only consist of
a few mayfly duns. They have very few, if any, specific imitations of the nymphs and
larvae, emergers and spinners. When it comes to caddisflies, it's even worse. They
usually don't have any.
There's also a good reason why they don't have imitations of specific aquatic insects.
It's because specific imitations are much more time consuming to tie. If they
did exist in the Mom and Pop fly shop market, they would be far more
expensive than the typical fly shop trout fly.. The flies would have to be priced at
least in the three to four dollar each range.
Because of this, many fly shops teach that knowing what the trout eat and survive on
isn't important. They teach the fly pattern isn't important. They end up pushing
cheaper, generic flies made in Asia and Africa but named after anglers with big egos
rather than food the fly is suppose to imitate. As a result, many unknowing anglers
end up becoming mediocre anglers that don't know a mayfly spinner from a moth.
Even worse, is they usually are not even aware they should know what the trout eat
and survive on. This type of misleading and deceptive information not only hurts the
anglers. Such an ignorant, uneducated approach to fly fishing for trout also
hurts the sport.
Copyright 2011 James Marsh