Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives and Little BWOs
2. Green Sedges (Caddisflies)
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
8. Giant Stoneflies
9. Light Cahills
Most available/ Other types of available food:
10. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
KISS A Bug Series - Sulphurs - Part 4
I mentioned several times that the Sulphur hatches that take place from the streams of Great
Smoky Mountains National Park usually occur in isolated areas of the mid to larger size
streams. The crawler nymphs are a slow to moderate water mayfly and in the fast moving
pocket water streams of the Smokies, little of that type of water exist. Where it does exist, you
can usually expect to see decent hatches of Sulphurs. If and when a mayfly hatch takes place,
you can rest assured a spinner fall will take place that same day. The numbers of spinners
depend on the size of the hatch that created the spinner fall.
The Sulphurs mate high in the air above the stream very late in the afternoon but the timing
depends on the air and water temperature. The males fall dead in the water or banks as soon
as they mate, depending on the wind.
If it's warm when the Sulphur hatches take place, and that's usually the case, the females will
drop their eggs from above the water just before darkness approaches. They do this over the
slow riffles, runs and pools where they hatched from, and then fall spent on the water. The
spent spinners will congregate at the ends of the riffles, heads of pools and in the current
A down or down and across presentation of the "Perfect Fly" Sulphur Spinner pattern works
best because you can deliver the imitation from the ends of the current seams into the slow
moving water where the spinners congregate. This method lets the fly get to the trout feeding
on the spinners before they get an opportunity to see the leader or tippet.
Use as long of a leader and tippet as practical. We suggest at least a 9 foot leader and tippet
and in some cases, a 12 foot would work even better. The tippet should be a 5X or 6X.
Keep in mind the spinners will be very difficult to see, especially when they fall late in the day
About the only way you can be assured that they are there is to skim the surface of the water
with a net. Of course, if a big hatch takes place during the day, you can be confident there will
be a big spinner fall that same day. You should fish the spinner fall whether you see any on
the water or not. At some time later on that same day, they will be on the water for sure.
I should note that the largest quantities of the Sulphur mayflies in the same area of the
Smokies exist in the tailwaters. Most anglers stop fishing before the spinner fall occurs. This
can be a big mistake. In some of these streams, such as the South Holston River tailwater, the
Sulphur hatches occur over such a long period of time the spinner falls occur in the evenings
after dark. Under these conditions, it is almost impossible to fish it.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh