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)
Fly Fishing Strategies - What Fly To Use - Part 43
During the past week, I was only able to get to the park on three occasions with the longest
time there being less than a couple of hours. I just looked at the water and didn't fish at all
during one trip. On the last trip, very late in the afternoon, I was able to catch a half dozen
trout in just a few minutes. The longest time I spent actually fishing (less than an hour) took
place around noon almost a week ago and produced the least numbers of fish - two. That
was at Cosby Creek (my first time there in a long time) and I suspect I wasn't the only one
that fished there even though it was relatively early in the day. I fully intended to get over to
the North Carolina side of the park this past week but I have just not had the time to do that.
We've been very busy with Perfect Fly customers. Angie has been working very long days.
As I mentioned last week, I think some of the hatches have been "strung out". By that I mean
they have started at lower elevations and held off at higher elevations due to the lower
temperatures we have experienced lately. This can be a little confusing because once the
hatches start in any one area, they continue to hatch regardless of changes in
weather;however, in sections of water at higher elevations and cooler temperatures where
the same insect may not have started to hatch, cooler weather usually delays the hatch. In
other words, by "strung out", I mean the overall length of time some of the hatches take, from
start to finish, is longer than it normally is.
I saw very few aquatic insects that had hatched or were hatching during the short times I was
in the park. Although I couldn't see them, it was obvious there were plenty of spinners on the
water the day I fished late. I used a Light Cahill spinner. I was expecting to see Little Yellow
Stoneflies depositing eggs but that didn't happen. They are still hatching and will continue to
hatch for some time but you will need to be at the right place at the right time.
There's not going to be any major changes in this coming weeks strategies from last week. I
need to drop the Little Short-horned Sedges from the above list as they are probably
finished hatching. There's probably some Slate Drakes beginning to hatch in the lower
elevations but they won't be concentrated for a while. There may be some Golden Stoneflies
show up in the fast water sections of some of the lower elevation streams but those are
about the only differences I can think of that may take place. I'll be modifying the above list
as soon as I have time. The March Browns are also about finished hatching but there could
possibly be a few in the high elevations.
As you should almost always do, start out in the mornings fishing a nymph or larva imitation
and change to an emerger/pupa, or a dun/adult dry fly pattern, if and when you spot
something hatching. Most hatches should start taking place around 1:00 to 4:00 PM and
again, the hatches will depend greatly on the elevation of the stream your fishing.
Later in the day, when the hatches subside, switch back to the morning pattern. Again, even
though the trout will continue to fall for a few dry flies, I'm advising what to do based on your
highest odds of success, not necessarily your highest odds of fun.
From about 5:00 PM to as late as you can legally fish, watch closely for stonefly egg laying
activity and both mayfly egg laying and spinner falls. Fishing the spinner falls can result in
the fastest action and the most fish caught in a short time span but you will have to keep
checking for them well above the streams late in the day. Otherwise, you probably won't
even be aware they fall.
By fishing a nymph or dry fly, I don't mean just any nymph or any dry fly. I am referring to
nymphs and dry flies that specifically match the insects that I list below. This will increase
your odds of success over the "match anything" generic and attractor type of flies that
usually only produce mediocre success.
There's still some fairly good odds of having some size 20 (and even smaller) Blue-winged
As just mentioned, Little Yellow Stonefly hatches are taking place. If you happen to be at the
right place at the right time of day (late afternoons) you will likely see some this coming week.
Remember, they both start to hatch (crawl out of the water) very late in the day and deposit
their eggs late in the day. Fish the nymph imitation starting around 4 PM and switch to an
adult only when you see egg laying activity which is usually late in the day.
The Green Sedges (caddisflies) have started to hatch in the lower and mid elevations. An
imitation of the Green Rock Worm (larvae) of this caddisfly is a good fly to use just about
anytime and especially just prior to a hatch. By the way, that's one reason the generic
imitations of moth larvae or Green Weenie fly works even thought moth larvae are not falling
in the water. The flies look similar to a Green Rock worm as well as a net-spinning caddisfly
larva such as a Cinnamon Sedge.
Giant Stoneflies and Light Cahills are hatching,.The Giant Stoneflies are hard to find during
the day. They hatch very late in the afternoons and during the evening and deposit their
eggs very late in the afternoons and during the evenings. Those guys backpacking and
camping near the streams will probably see some around their lights.
Light Cahills are hatching from the fast water areas of the streams. Imitations of this mayfly
can be very productive during a hatch. They should be among the top priorities but I'm
suggesting it only when you find them hatching and the odds of that are very good now.
It's also possible you will see some Eastern Pale Evening Duns and Sulphurs (both locally
called Sulphurs). Both of these mayflies can hatch in good quantities but only in very isolated
sections of the mid to large size streams. If and when you encounter them (and you probably
won't but could) you should have a few imitations of them.
Which nymph/larva imitation to fish?
If you know for a fact any of the above insects hatched within the previous day or two of the
particular time you are fishing, fish the nymph or larva fly that imitates that particular species
during the mornings and continue to do so until you see it or another insect hatching.
Which Fly to use During Hatches?
If you happen to find any Eastern Pale Evening Duns or Sulphurs hatching, by all means fish
an imitation of the emerging dun, or the dun, in priority to any of the other insects. That's not
very likely though. Next in priority are the Green Sedges. If they are hatching, fish an
imitation of the pupa. Next in priority would be the Light Cahills. They should be the top
Which Fly to use Late In The Day:
Late in the day, depending on which of the hatches listed above you may happen to have
found, watch for the spinner fall and/or egg laying activity as applicable. By all means, if you
see a spinner fall, fish it. Light Cahills will likely fall. If you do find any EPEDs or Sulphurs,
their spinners will fall. If there isn't any spinner falls occurring, but some caddis egg laying
activity is taking place, fish the adult pattern of that caddisfly.
Up until you see a spinner fall or heavy egg laying activity from caddisflies, fish an imitation
of the Little Yellow Stonefly (Yellow Sally) nymph. They will start crawling across the
bottom to the banks to hatch late in the day. They crawl out to hatch after sunset. If you see
any depositing their eggs, switch to the adult imitation. I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on
Copyright 2012 James Marsh