05/07/12
Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
Hatching:
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
10.  Little Yellow Stoneflies (Yellow Sally)
11.  Eastern Pale Evening Duns
12.  Sulphurs

Most available/ Other types of available food:
13.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)

Long Range Weather Forecast Looking Good:
The most recent long range weather forecast all predict much cooler weather than we have
had since the one week cool spell that took place at the end of the month of April. By much
cooler, I mean more like normal, not unseasonably cooler. Of course, what really takes place
remains to be seen but AccuWeather, for example, is showing normal weather for Gatlinburg
and Cherokee for the rest of May with highs in the seventies and lows averaging in the fifties. I
hope they are right because as I have recently written, I don't see how all the very
unseasonably warm weather we have had isn't going to adversely affect the food supply for
the trout during the worst possible time of the year - late Summer and early Fall.

I'm still trying to catch up with the hatches of aquatic insects in the park with my KISS Bug
series. I wanted to have the articles posted in advance of the hatches but so far this year, I
haven't been able to do that. The bugs have hatched faster than I can type - way faster than I
can think. I think the Green Caddisflies (Green Sedges) will be the last of the catching up
articles I will have to do but first some basic info about caddisflies..

KISS A Bug Series - Caddisflies Of The Smokies
Introduction

I made the mistake of writing about a couple of major caddisfly hatches that take place (Little
Black Caddis and Cinnamon Sedges) in the park before, from a keep it simple stupid
perspective, I wrote anything about what's generally the most misunderstood and little known
facts about caddisflies.

The quantities and diversity of caddisflies in a stream is controlled mostly be the
amount of food for the caddiflies and the stream habit.

Major factors that affect the caddisfly population and diversity of a trout stream:
alkalinity
water temperature
current speed
bottom structure

There are specific feeding habits of 4 different types of caddisflies as follows:
Shredders
scrapers
collectors
predators

Shredders:
Feed on leaves and woody material that gets into the water. They don't actually get energy
from this material, rather the micro-organisms, fungi and bacteria, eaten in the process.
An example of a shredder feeding caddisfly in the Smokies is the large Great Autumn Brown
Sedge that hatches in the Fall.

Collectors:
These caddisfly larvae feed on organic material found in current that acts like a moving or
continuous buffet or line of food. These caddisflies are mostly the net-makers or net-spinners.
They trap the food in the current in their nets. The more food, the more net-spinning
caddisfleis. Some of the cased caddis, especially the members of the Brachycentridae family
or chimney cased caddis (Little Black Caddis) commonly found in the Smokies are collectors.
They attach themselves to a rock and using their middle and hind legs, filter the current of
organic matter. Their legs have tiny, hair like filters on them. The net-spinners filter the current
through their nets to catch their food. Except for the
Brachycentrus species, and with the
exception of Abrams Creek which has a higher pH and more food for net-spinners, collector
caddisflies are not very plentiful in the Smokies.

Predators:
Believe it or not, some species of caddisflies are predators, meaning they ingest different
forms of animal material. They hunt down their food. The most common of these caddisflies
are the free-living species such as the Green Caddsflies or Green Sedges. There larvae,
called Rock Worms, crawl around the bottom and find the food they need to survive on. These
are relatively plentiful in the streams of the Smokies but very plentiful in Abrams Creek. All the
major streams have populations of predators even including the high elevations streams with
low pH levels. .

Scrapers:
The forth type of caddisflies are the scrapers. They graze rocks like cattle graze fields of
grass. The amount of the food found on boulders and rocks varies with the seasons. Their
mouths are such that they can scape the boulders and bottom of the stream to clean diatoms
and algae from it. There are not many species of caddisflies that feed this way. In the Smokies,
they consist mostly of the Little Short-horned Sedges. The more algae covering the stones,
the more scraper caddisflies. Naturally, Abrams Creek would have the most of any stream in
the park.

The Streams of the Smokies:
There's not many caddisfly species or closely related groups of species (genera) that inhibit
the streams of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in quantities large enough to get most
angler's attention. That's largely due to the lower pH of the water, meaning there's a low
amount of algae in the streams. Where the largest populations do occur is in the lowest
elevations and that's because
in general, the lower the elevation of a stream, the
higher its pH.
There are exceptions, but as a general rule you will find more caddisfly species
in the lower to mid elevations than the higher elevations. The main reason for this is most
species of caddisflies (about 70% nationwide) are net spinners. The high elevations do have
some caddisfly species, mostly predators and scrapers..

Caddisflies continued Wednesday: Tomorrow, Fly Fishing Strategies for the coming week.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh