06/15/12

Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
Hatching:
1.    Little BWOs
2.    Green Sedges (Caddisflies)
3.    Cinnamon Caddis (Mostly Abrams Creek)
4.    Light Cahills
5.    Little Yellow Stoneflies (Yellow Sally)
6.    Sulphurs
7.    Slate Drakes
8.    Golden Stoneflies
9.    Little Green Stoneflies

Most available/ Other types of food:
10.  Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
11.  Inch Worm (moth larva)
12.  Beetles
13.  Grasshoppers
14.  Ants


The Hellgrammite Fly

It's generally known that the Hellgrammite, or the larva stage of life of the Dobsonfly, is a
great smallmouth bass fly, but few know that this nymph is also frequently eaten by brown
trout. As you probably do know, brown trout can live and grow large in water that gets
warmer than rainbow or brook trout can live in. In the typical mountain freestone trout stream
with both browns and rainbows, you will usually find the browns existing far below, or
downstream of the rainbows. I mention that because the hellgrammite isn't found in very cold
water; however, they will live in water on the lower end of the temperature scale where trout
exist.

The last time I remember getting a lot of them in out kick nets was in the spring creek section
of Abrams Creek. That's what I call the portion of Abrams Creek above the confluence of Mill
Creek. We ended up with more hellgrammite larvae than mayfly or stonefly nymphs. The
reason I remember it is they bite. Not paying close attention to what's in the net and used to
just reaching in with my fingers and picking up the stonefly and mayfly nymphs, I remember
getting the blood pinched out of my fingers a few times before I got selective in what I was
picking up. There's not any brown trout in Abrams (there was at one time) but if there was,
they would have plenty to eat above the foot bridge at the end of the Abrams Falls parking
lot at the South end of the Cove. We have found concentrations of them just about
everywhere we have checked in the lower ends of the streams draining out of the park but
they exist in all of the them upstream to the point at which I expect the temperature averages
a cooler temperature than they prefer. You will find them downstream anywhere you would
find smallmouth bass well below the temperatures considered marginal for brown trout.

The dobsonflies deposit their eggs on the bottom side of leaves and stems of bushes and
trees. The eggs hatch into larvae and fall off into the water where they live until they hatch.
The larvae are predators that eat other insects.

The adult Dobsonfly is a very large fly that looks a lot like a stonefly. They are nocturnal, so
it's doubtful you will see them very often in the daylight hours. The adults only live a few days
during which time they mate and deposit their eggs in the darkness of the night.

Hellgrammites prefer the riffles and runs, or at least they do during the warmer months of the
year.  You fish the Hellgrammite fly exactly like you would a clinger mayfly or stonefly nymph
imitation. You should keep the fly on the bottom by weighting it down. Most of the time an up,
or an up and across presentation works best. Short-line nymphing or "high sticking" also
works with the hellgrammite imitation.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
Our "Perfect Fly" Hellgrammite looks about as bad as the real thing. It's body is dubbed with
course, heavy material wrapped with wire to hold the rubber legs in place. The antennae and
legs are turkey biots.  We have these in a hook size 6, which is a fairly large fly and about the
average size of the fully grown larvae.