Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. Little BWOs
2. Green Sedges (Caddisflies)
3. Cinnamon Caddis (Mostly Abrams Creek)
4. Little Short Horned Sedges
5. American March Browns
6. Giant Stoneflies
7. Light Cahills
8. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Yellow Sally)
9. Eastern Pale Evening Duns
Most available/ Other types of available food:
11. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
KISS A Bug Series - Caddisflies Of The Smokies
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
the basic things anglers need to know about caddisflies.
Some facts about caddisflies as relates to anglers:
1. Caddisflies spend 99 percent of their life as larvae. Then they change to pupae for
a short time and then adults that live out of the water for a short time.
2. Trout eat far more caddisflies in the larva stage of life than the pupa or adult
stage of life. That's because they spend over 99 percent of their life in the larval stage.
Caddisfly larvae represent a good part of the trout's diet in most all trout streams, including
the streams of the Smokies. Even though this is a fact, most anglers do not have the first fly
that imitates caddisfly larvae.
3. There's two basic types of caddisfly larvae - cased and non-cased caddis.
4. Of the non-cased caddis, there are also two basic types - free living and
net-spinning. This means for all practical purposes, there's really three different basic
types of caddisfly larvae - cased and non-cased free living and net spinning non-cased
caddisflies. Let's look at these three major types of caddisflies.
Major Cased Caddis of the Smokies:
These represent approximately twenty percent of all caddisflies in trout streams. In the
Smokies they probably represent a higher percentage than that. Cased caddis are eaten by
trout to a certain extent but the cases are designed to prevent the larvae from being eaten
by predators. They are not designed specifically to prevent trout from eating the larvae,
rather all species of fish and many other marine predators. The trout have to either be able
to digest the cases or get the larvae out of the cases to digest.
The Brachycentrus genus of this family is very prevalent in the Smokies. These are the
chimney cased caddis called American Grannoms. The biggest hatch of this genus are the
Little Black caddis that hatch in late February and March.
The Glossosoma genus or the little tan Short-horned Sedges are plentiful in the Smokies.
The larvae live in little clumps of saddle type cases.
The Pycnopsyche genus of this family is very common in the Smokies. The most plentiful
species is the guttifer or Great Autumn Brown Sedge. Some anglers in the Smokies call
this the Fall Caddis and it does hatch in the Fall but that tends to confuse it with species of
the Discosmoccus genus, or the Giant Orange Sedge that's a western species.
Major Free Living Caddis of the Smokies:
The free-living caddisflies probably represent about ten to twenty percent of all caddisflies in
trout streams. In the Smokies they represent a much higher percentage than that. They are
easy for the trout to find and eat. They have no protection whatsoever, other than hiding
behind or under something.
Rhyacophilidae Family: (the free-living caddis)
The Rhyacophila genus of this family, the name of which means Green Sedge, is plentiful in
the Smokies. It is very plentiful in Abrams Creeks but also quite plentiful in most all the
streams of the park. The larvae of this genus are called Rock Worms or sometimes Green
Rock Worms. There are several species of them in the park. The most common is the
fuscula species but there are others including the carolina species.
I think this is the most important caddisfly species in the park and it's by far more important in
the larva stage than as a pupa or adult even though all three are important.
Major Net-spinning Caddis of the Smokies:
The net-spinning caddisflies represent from fifty to seventy percent of all caddisflies found in
trout streams. In the Smokies they represent much less than that due to the relatively low pH
of the water and the resulting lack of algae for the net-spinners to feed on. Only Abrams
Creek has a high percentage of net-spinning caddisflies.
This family of caddisflies is the largest family there is. It probably encompasses 50 percent of
all caddisflies in trout streams. These are the caddisflies that are plentiful in most all
tailwaters including our local tailwaters near the Smokies.
The Hydropsyche genus is the largest of them and includes many species of caddisflies
called Spotted Sedges, existing most plentifully in the West and Cinnamon Sedges
existing mostly in the East although both are represented nationwide. These exist mostly
(Cinnamon Sedges) in Abrams Creek but exist to some extent in all major streams in the park.
The Cheumatopsyche genus is the second larges genus in this family and includes many
species of caddisflies anglers call Little Sister Caddis, meaning the smaller or little sisters
of the Spotted and Cinnamon Sedges. These exist in Abrams Creek mostly but there are
some species in all the major streams in the park.
Keep In Mind:
The above caddisflies are not the only caddisflies that exist in the streams of the Smokies.
There are many more that exist in low quantities or in isolated areas of some streams. The
diversity of the caddisfly species in huge. The above caddisflies are the most important ones
you need to imitate in the Smokies.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
Chimney Cased Caddis
Below -Saddle Cased
Left -Large Cased
Above -Great Autumn Brown Sedge -Pycnopsyche
Left-Free Living Rock
Above - Perfect Fly
Green Sedge larva
Left - Perfect Fly
Left - A real
Perfect Fly Cinnamon Sedge Adult