01/20/12

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Midges
2.    Little Winter Stoneflies
3.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)

Little Winter Stoneflies - Part Three
The Capniidae family of stoneflies represents one of the few groups of aquatic insects that
emerge and are available to the trout to eat when the water is very cold. Although these are
classified as "Little Brown Stoneflies", I've found that most of them in the streams of the Smokies
are various shades of brown, which probably accounts for why anglers refer to them using a
variety of different common names ranging from "Little Blacks", to "Little Browns, to "Little Winter"
stoneflies to Snowflies. They get the "Snowfly" name because due to the contrast in color, they
are easy to spot crawling around on the snow.

Species of the this family are fairly easy to recognize in their adult stage of life because they are
the only ones in the group of “Little Browns” that have long tails. You may find them walking on
snow near the banks of the streams or in the Smokies, more often, on rocks, boulders, and
stream-side vegetation.      

Trout can be taken on imitations of the nymphs of these little stoneflies. Imitations of the adults
are sometimes productive but trout are not very prone to rise to the surface to eat the egg laying
females when they are depositing their eggs in very cold water.

One good thing about stoneflies is that you don't have to know them down to the species
because they all behave very similarly. Also, you only need to know two stages of their life - the
nymph and the adult stage. Like all stoneflies, the nymphs of the Little Winter Stoneflies crawl out
of the water to hatch. The stonefly nymph fly is always a good choice for early season, cold water
fishing. With the exception of midges, these little stoneflies are about the only insect you will find
hatching in water that's below forty degrees.

There's one rule you should always keep in mind when you are fishing an imitation of the Winter
Stonefly nymph or for that matter, any stonefly nymph.
Keep it on the bottom and bring it
towards the banks.
That's what the naturals do when they hatch. That's also where the trout
are looking for them. Depending on the species and the weather, when they get out of the water
they shed their nymphal shuck and either crawl or fly away.

The best area of the stream to present the fly is near the banks. They may travel to the banks
from well out in the stream but one thing for certain is the fact they're going to crawl out on the
banks to hatch. The only exception to this is that they also crawl out on larger rocks and boulders
that protrude out of the water..

In the pocket water of the Smokies, in most cases, you should use an upstream presentation. Add
plenty of split shot weight a few inches above the fly. If your fishing from the banks, stay back
away from the edge of the water a few feet to prevent spooking trout that are looking for them
close to the banks. Cast upstream and try to cover the bottom from out in the stream a few yards
all the way to the bank. When you cover a section of bottom, take a few steps upstream and
cover a different area of bottom near the bank.

If your wading, stay out in the middle of the stream and cover the banks the same way. Make up
and across presentations and let the fly swing downstream near the bank, keeping it on the
bottom. Mend your line as necessary to help keep in donw. In either case, fishing from the bank
or wading, make sure you cover the bottom area very near the banks. Trout will sometimes take
the fly right against the bank. ,
Copyright 2012 James Marsh