03/23/12

Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
Hatching:
1.    Blue-winged Ollives and Little BWOs
2.    Blue Quills
3.    Quill Gordons
4.    Little Black Caddis (
Brachycentrus)
5.    
Little Brown Stoneflies
6.    Hendricksons & Red Quills
7.    American March Browns

Most available/ Near hatching and/or other types of available food:
8.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)

"KISS A Bug Series" - Little Short-horned Sedges
I am running behind covering this little caddisfly. It normally starts hatching about the first of April
and continues until Summertime, depending on the elevation of the stream. It has already been
hatching for at least two weeks this year due to the unusually warm water. I didn't think about it
until yesterday afternoon when I noticed a lot of the adults on the banks and in the bushes.

I'm sure many of you reading this will be wondering why I would write about such a little caddisfly
(females about a 20 and males even smaller) as the Little Short-horned Sedge. It may seem to
not make a lot of sense since other, much larger insects are hatching. The reason is that during
the past few years, we have noticed a lag between the Quill Gordons, Little Black Caddis and
Blue Quill hatches and those of the Hendricksons and March Browns. It isn't really a lag, but it
seems that way because the Hendricksons/Red Quills are only located in isolated areas of the
streams and the March Browns hatch sporadically over such a long time. During this time, you will
almost always hear guys complaining about the fishing being slow when conditions seem ideal.
When this is happening, you will often find these little caddisflies to be plentiful in many areas of
the streams. I think most anglers see them but don't have a clue about how to fish the hatch. The
problem is, when you first notice them on the rocks and banks of the streams, it's almost always
too late to fish the hatch. At this time most of them have probably already hatched in that
particular area of the stream.

The Little Short-Horned Sedges are one of the most plentiful caddisflies in the Smoky Mountains
National Park. The
Glossosoma nigrior is the most common species in the park. If you have ever
looked at many rocks in the streams of the Smokies, you have seen plenty of these caddisflies in
their larva stage of life. These are saddle case caddisflies, so named for their cases that look like
little horse saddles. The larvae get under the saddles rather than on top of them. Most guys don't
realize they are actually live creatures in the little tiny piles of saddle shaped rocks that seem to
be stuck to the larger rocks in the streams. If you pry them loose, you will find little cream colored
larvae in them. They look like little grubs or worms. The cases are actually small domed cases
with openings at each end. When they are not bothered, they tend to stick their heads and legs
out of the case.

These little cases stick to the rocks very well and I wonder if the trout ever attempt to eat them
when they are in the cases. They can and do move around on the rocks to feed even though
they are difficult to remove from the rocks These little caddis will randomly hatch for the next
three months in isolated locations throughout the park. There will also be a small Fall hatch of
them.

The best time to catch trout on the Short-horned Sedges is during the emergence. They swim to
the surface to emerge into adults out in the streams and they remain on the surface until they
reach the banks or a rock that protrudes out of the water. Trout mostly eat them when the pupae
are accenting to the surface to emerge. They use their middle legs to swim to the surface but
they are not good swimmers. They are easy prey at that time. Once on the surface they either
drift or actually run (skitter) across the surface of the water to the banks.

The hatches usually last a long time (about three hours) and can vary in intensity. If you start
seeing a lot of them crawling around on the rocks and banks you will know they have already
hatched. Unfortunately, that's usually too late to fish the pupa stage of the hatch. That would
indicate many of them already hatched.

The adults are small caddisflies with short horns (antennae) as their name Short-horned Sedges
implies. By the way, for those that may not know, Sedge is just another word for caddisfly. The
thing that makes them worthy of imitating is the fact that they can hatch in very large quantities.

I will get the list of above insects updated by tomorrow as well as the list of flies needed modified. I
won't have time today. Let's cross our fingers and hope there's not too much rain headed our
way.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh