Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
2. Blue-winged Ollives (Baetis brunnicolor) and Little BWOs
3. Blue Quills
4. Quill Gordons
5. Little Black Caddis (Brachycentrus)
6. Little Brown Stoneflies
7. Hendricksons & Red Quills
Most available/ Near hatching and/or other types of available food:
8. American March Browns
9. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Some Important Tips that come to mind this morning:
Many, if not most local Smoky Mountain anglers have a one-track way of fishing the
small streams of the park. They fish flies only in the fast water runs and riffles, using
short, upstream cast. Since many species of mayflies are clingers and their duns get
caught up in the fast water, generic, non-specific imitations of the insects sometimes
work good enough to provided decent success. This is due to one simple reason.
The trout only get only a quick, short glimpse of the fly.
If you doubt this, give this a try. Throw the same generic fly, your Parachute Adams for
example (the best generic fly there is in my opinion), in one of the larger pools in the
Smokies and see what happens. From an overhead viewpoint, you can just about
always see fish there. Why do you think they either ignore or approach and then reject
your fly? If you do catch a trout from the pool on it, Perfect Fly has hundreds of
Parachute Adams for sale, as good as any you can buy, delivered to your front door for
$.79 each. However, it's just a fact that the closer the fly looks like the real insects, the
easier it is to fool them. That's why we also sell our own Perfect Fly patterns that are
specific imitations of the insects that are far superior to the generics. They cost more,
but once you see and use them, you will understand why.
A flashing glimpse of a just about any trout fly has fairly good odds of fooling trout
feeding in fast water. The trout sometimes get an impressionistic view that's close
enough, and just often enough, to fool not only the trout, but also to fool the angler into
thinking they are getting the best results they could get.
This one-track approach is why their catches are very inconsistent. One day they may
catch twenty trout and a week later only one or two. When they don't catch as many as
they would like to, they simply contend the fishing is slow, when it's usually due to the
fact fewer insects are drifting in the fast water runs and riffles. They easily justify the
lack of success with a long list of excuses to do with changes in weather, water, other
people or anything they can come up with when in reality, the real problem is just not
knowing what's happening and how to deal with it.
What drives fish to eat is available food. Sure, they don't need as much to eat in
water that's forty degrees as they do when it's sixty degrees but water temperature isn't
the controlling factor. If food is readily available, trout will eat it. Anyone that believes
that an ideal water temperature is all that's necessary to catch trout and/or the
main factor in catching trout hasn't finished the first grade of trout fishing
school. The only ones I know that stupid are ones that like to write about it but actually
never fish for trout.
"K.I.S.S. A Bug" Series - American March Brown - Part 3
The Emerging Mayfly
Recapping some of yesterday's article, remember that an imitation of the American
March Brown nymph is only valuable to any great extent within a week of two prior to
the hatch. When they near the start of their hatch, the nymphs move from underneath
the rocks on the bottom of the fast water runs and riffles, into the slower water on the
outside of the current seams formed by the fast water. This is usually the pockets but it
can be any water that is flowing moderately to slow that is immediately adjacent to the
When you happen to spot a dun or two, it doesn't necessarily mean they are just
beginning to hatch. They may be hatching about as much as they are ever going to in
that particular section of water. Also, you may find one that just hatched at 10:00 AM or
at 5:00 PM on the same day. Most of them hatch mid to late afternoon, but there isn't
anything specific about the time they will hatch.
The thing many anglers fail to recognize about the emerging American March Browns is
that they don't actually hatch in the fast water riffles and runs. They hatch in the current
seams to the edges of the fast water. They usually get caught up in the fast water fairly
quickly but they actually emerge on the slow side of the seams, near the seams. That's
where you would want to place an emerging nymph imitation, which we call the Perfect
Fly Emerger, or an emerging dun imitation, which we call the Perfect Fly Emerger with a
trailing shuck.. The dun imitation can be fished directly in the riffles and runs. The trout
will take them in the fast water.
Given the fact that the hatches occur at random throughout much of the day and the
fact the overall duration of the hatch last a very long time, you will mostly find the trout
taking your imitations of them opportunistically. I've never found a situation in the
Smokies where the trout were feeding selectively on the American March Browns other
than during the spinner fall. Even then, they are sometimes mixed in with other mayfly
The good thing is that later on during the next couple of months, you will find some
other mayflies that emerge in the same type of water, or the fast water current seams.
One is the Light Cahill. This increases the odds that the trout are looking for something
to eat in the faster water. If there's not any food there, you cannot expect the trout to be
there waisting energy.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh