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
11. Slate Drakes
12. Golden Stoneflies
Most available/ Other types of available food:
13. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fly Fishing Strategies - What Fly To Use - Part 44
As mentioned in yesterday's article about numbers of fish caught, even though the
conditions have been excellent for the past couple of weeks, some anglers are catching a
decent number of trout and some aren't. From my own observations, only about one out of
four anglers that should be catching plenty of trout are actually doing so. What amazes me is
most of them that aren't catching plenty of trout, actually think it's the trout's fault - or the old
"fishing is good, fishing is slow" garbage. In other words they make statements like "the
fishing was off yesterday but they turned on today". Another example - "the fishing really
picked up this afternoon but they were not doing anything this morning." I don't mean to hurt
anyone's feelings, act like a know it all, or anything of the sort, but I do want to point out that
such statements are completely stupid. It isn't the trout, dummy - it's the angler.
For anyone to assume they do things right (use the right strategy, do a good job of fishing,
etc.) and the variable in their overall success is the trout feeding or not feeding, is
completely stupid. Not only that, it's complete arrogance and complete lack of
understanding of fish behavior on the part of any angler to make such dumb statements.
If you are not catching plenty of trout, it's your fault my friend, not the trout's fault. The trout
didn't stop eating. One of two things happened. They either didn't like the food (fly) you
offered them, or you served the food at the wrong location in the stream.
It's impossible for anyone to correct a problem if they first don't recognize they have one. It
reminds me of alcoholics. It's impossible for them to cure the problem if they first don't
recognize they have one.
Current Conditions - Stream flows:
If you look at the precipitation map, you will see that some areas of the park has received up
to an inch of rain and a few small areas didn't receive any. So far, most of the area received
about a half to three quarters of an inch. The chances of rain remain 50% for today and
gradually decrease until Friday. It's obvious some streams may have high water levels at
times and others may not. I strongly suggest you keep checking the precipitation map
and if you are familiar with the layout of the park, you should be able to determine
which watersheds are best to fish. It may continue to change all week depending on
where the isolated thunderstorms and rain showers are located.
It appears that the weather is going to get even warmer although calendar wise, there's still a
month of Spring left. The high Friday is going to 89 in Gatlinburg, Saturday's forecast is
predicted to be 90 and Sunday 92 degrees - wow.
The bottom line to this is, later on this week, unless your fishing early in the mornings, I
wouldn't start any lower than 2500 feet in elevation. The water temperatures will be
approaching the high 60's and probably even the low 70's in the valleys.
There's not going to be any major changes in this coming weeks strategies from last week
other than the warmer than normal weather isn't going to help anything. There's probably
some Slate Drakes beginning to hatch in the middle elevations. The Golden Stoneflies are
showing up in the fast water sections of some streams. The March Browns are about finished
hatching but there could possibly be a few in the high elevations.
To repeat, 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. Keep in mind this doesn't include the
Slate Drakes, Golden Stoneflies and Little Yellow Stoneflies. They start hatching (crawling
out of the water) late in the day.
When the other hatches subside (non Slate Drakes and Stoneflies) 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 6:00 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. It will mostly consist of Light Cahills.
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
Olive hatches; however, with the other hatches going on, I wouldn't pay any attention to them
unless they were sizeable hatches.
As just mentioned, Little Yellow Stonefly and Golden 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
them 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 5
PM and switch to an adult only when you see egg laying activity which is usually late in the
The Green Sedges (caddisflies) have started to hatch in the lower and mid elevations. An
imitation of the Green Rock Worm (larva) 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. In addition, we are seeing moth larvae around our home in
Pigeon Forge, so the Inchworms themselves are beginning to show up. This will occur off
and on throughout the Summer because of the many different species of moths.
Golden Stoneflies and Light Cahills are hatching,.The Giant Stoneflies, limited now to the
higher elevations, 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 might still see some
around their lights along with the Golden Stoneflies.
Light Cahills are hatching from the fast water areas of the streams in the middle and higher
elevations. Imitations of this mayfly can be very productive during a hatch. They should
be the top priority until very late in the day 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 still 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.
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 would be the Light Cahills. The odds are they will be the
top priority because the PEDs and Sulphurs are not likely. Next in priority are the Green
Sedges. If they are hatching, fish an imitation of the pupa.
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. Do this
until you begin to see any depositing their eggs and then switch to the adult imitation.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh