Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives and Little BWOs
2. Blue Quills
3. Cinnamon Caddis (Mostly Abrams Creek)
4. Little Short Horned Sedges
5. Eastern Green Drakes (Abrams Creek)
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 - Cinnamon Caddis (Sedge)
Note: Although these caddisflies are only plentiful in Abrams Creek in the park, those of you
who fish tailwaters in the Southeast and other streams with a higher pH, may find the
information useful. The tailwaters all have good populations of Cinnamon Caddis.
To try to keep it simple, I first need to explain a little about the huge Hydropsychidae family of
caddisflies. Of all the caddisflies that exist in trout streams in the U.S. and Canada,
this family probably represents as much as 70% of all caddisflies. If you can learn a little
about this family, you will be way ahead as far as caddisflies are concerned.
Although various species of this big family exist in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as
compared to most other trout streams in Tennessee and North Carolina, they aren't very
plentiful. There's not a stream in the park that doesn't have some of these in it but the
populations are not very large except for Abrams Creek. It has plenty of several different
species of them.
The hatch chart we provide for the Smokies list the Cinnamon Caddis as well as the Spotted
Sedge under the same heading. I do that to try to avoid confusion because not everyone calls
species of the Ceratopsyche genus "Cinnamon Caddis". Some anglers call them "Spotted
Sedges". Actually, the common name "Spotted Sedge" (Sedge means caddisfly) applies to
species of the Hydropsyche genus. These are two different genera of caddisflies. Remember,
genus is just a group of similar insects within a family. Both of these exist in the park but the
Ceratopsyche genus is by far the largest and most plentiful of the two. I don't list the
Hydropsyche genus on the hatch charts for the Smokies because even though species of this
genus exist, they aren't plentiful at all. They aren't even plentiful in Abrams Creek and it has
more species of them than any other stream.
Something else you should be aware of is that although we show the Cinnamon Sedges
as most important on Abrams Creek, these caddisflies exist to some extent in almost
every stream in the park. Other than Abrams, I just don't think they are important enough to
imitate. There are also a few Spotted Sedges in most all the streams in the park but again, I
don't think there's enough of them to imitate in any stream in the park. I am only pointing out
the fact they do exist.
There's a very good reason these caddisflies aren't plentiful in the park, yet they are very
plentiful in all the tailwaters in the same area. They are even plentiful in some of the freestone
streams in the Southeast. It all has to do with what the little insects eat. These are all
net-spinning caddisflies. I'll briefly explain what a net-spinning caddisfly is.
Types of Caddisflies:
There are two basic types of caddisflies that's determined by their larva - cased and
Cased caddis are easy to identify in their larval stage of life. They live in a case made of wood
or small stones or rocks.
Non-cased caddis larva are one of two different types. They are either free living caddis larva
or net-spinning caddis larva. The free living type will be covered in the near future.
The giant Hydropsychidae family are all net-spinning caddisflies. That means they catch the
food they eat in tiny nets they produce. These little nets are strung out on a silk line from
shelters the larvae build to reside in when they are not eating food from their nets.
Streams with a high pH have lots of algae. Streams with low pH levels have little algae. Much of
the water in Abrams Creek comes from underground (spring creek water) and has a higher pH
than the other streams in the park. Most other streams in the park have a relatively low pH.
They have some algae but not enough to sustain a large population of net-spinning
caddisflies. The tailwaters of the Southeast usually have a high enough pH to contain enough
algae to support good populations of net-spinning caddisflies.
The Huge Hydropsychidae family:
Below are the species of caddisflies in this big family that exist in the park. I hope this helps
you get a better idea of what can sometimes be confusing and also why you will see so many
different looking caddisflies in the park at different times of the year. .
Great Gray Spotted Sedge: This is a very large caddisfly and some exist in Abrams but
there's very few of them. We have a Perfect Fly imitation of them but I don't consider it an
insect worth imitating in the park. The Madison River in Montana has plenty of them.
Cinnamon Caddis: These are the caddisflies that is the main subject of this article. These
are very plentiful in Abrams Creek and exist in almost all streams in the park but in low
quantities. Keep in mind some anglers also call some of these Spotted Sedges.
Little Sister Caddisflies:
These are very similar to the Cinnamon Caddis but smaller. They exist in Abrams in good
quantities and will be covered in the KISS series soon. They also exist in most other
streams in the park but in low numbers. They are a very plentiful caddisfly in most all
These caddisflies are in Abrams Creek but not in low quantities. They exist to some extent in
the other streams of the park but in very low quantities. That's why I don't list them as worth
Species of this family in the park without a common name:
These five species have been found in the park but in very low quantities. The Diplectrona
species are yellow colored caddisflies you may have noticed.
I will get back to the Cinnamon Caddis tomorrow. I just wanted to try to sort out some things
about this big family of caddisflies that can be confusing until you break it down. The fact
there's so many different species in just this one family of caddisflies that exist to some extent
in the park can also cause confusion. For example, an angler may report seeing some yellow
caddisflies in the park when he is seeing what's a relatively rare Parapsyche apicalis species
for example. That doesn't mean it is worth imitating, especially if other more plentiful insects
are also available for the trout to eat. They could also report seeing a Great Gray Spotted
Sedge but most likely, there would only be a very few. I have only seen a few in the several
years I have been fishing the park. They are a hook size 10. Again, seeing one of these big
caddisflies doesn't mean you need to try to imitate it because doing so when other insects are
more available and plentiful for the trout to eat would probably result in reducing your odds of
Copyright 2012 James Marsh