Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. Blue-winged Ollives and Little BWOs
2. Blue Quills
3. Quill Gordons
4. Little Short Horned Sedges
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 - Eastern Green Drakes
I'm just about caught up on the aquatic insect hatches but before I know it, there will be a bunch
of new hatches taking place in the streams of the Smokies. Several species of mayflies,
caddisflies and stoneflies will start to hatch next month. Most of them normally hatch in the Middle
to the end of April, but considering the warm Winter we experienced, I'm not sure exactly what to
expect other than I'm sure they all will be ahead of schedule.
The weather is going to get much closer to normal within the next two weeks. In fact, it has
already cooled off and will be in the 70's most of this week. Conditions will be excellent.
The Eastern Green Drakes normally begin to hatch in the middle of April. I'm betting they will be
early this year, so I'm going ahead with them. Abrams Creek is the only stream that has any
appreciable quantity of these mayflies. The Eastern Green Drake is the Ephemera guttulata, a
very large, beautiful mayfly.
The nymphs of these mayflies are burrowers. They are one of the few that exist in the park. Most
of the burrowers in this part of the country exist in the streams outside of the park or in the lower
elevations more suitable for smallmouth bass than trout. Others that are here but not within the
trout waters of the park are Brown Drakes, Yellow Drakes, Great Olive Winged Drakes and some
The Green Drakes are most commonly found in the slow to moderately flowing water such as
pools and backwaters that have soft or silt bottoms. That's why the Spring Creek section of
Abrams Creek is a perfect place for them. However, the main reason is the high pH of the water. I
call it the Spring Creek section meaning the part above the bridge over the trailhead at the lower
end of Cades Cove. They spend most of their life buried in the silt, banks or soft bottom, but molt
several times during this stage of their life. They come out of their burrows to molt as well as at
night to browse for food and may be eaten by trout during the process.
Sometimes weighted nymph imitations can be fished along the bottom of the stream very late in
the day with some success. Green drake nymphs can swim well and action can be added to
imitate the up and down, swimming motion of these nymphs. We have found that it is best to fish
imitations of the nymph just prior to the hatch is taking place. They work very good in the
mornings prior to a hatch. We have been successful at Abrams using the nymph more than we
have the duns or spinners but that's largely because the gates to Cades Coves close early
enough that you often miss the best part of the hatch.
The nymphs hatch throughout the day, not at any one particular time of the day. If there is not a
hatch underway, the nymphs stay in their burrowers most of the time and are not available for the
trout to eat. They come out to feed and molt and during those times the trout feed on them.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
Our Perfect Fly Eastern Green Drake Nymph: