06/20/12

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 (Little Summer Stones)
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


Fly Fishing Strategies - What Fly To Use - Part 48 - Continued

Notes on what I observed Monday
I finally took the time to go fishing Monday. I figured Monday would be a good day
considering Father's Day just ended and thinking there would probably be less people in the
park than there normally would be. I'm not sure that turned out to be the case. The motels
and cabins near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge seemed to be about as full as they could get
on Monday. It's that time of the year - vacation time, that is.

I had to be certain I returned from fishing before 4:00 PM so I could help Angie ship out  
orders before the post office closed. That meant I had to fish smack in the middle of the day.
It was a clear blue bird day with a few white puffs of clouds floating around to cover the sun
every once in a while. I drove over the Newfound Gap to the upper Oconaluftee River around
11:00. There was lots of traffic but I didn't see anyone fishing. There was probably some
fishing that I couldn't see from the road.

Checking the bushes along the river, I found to my surprise, a couple of Blue-winged Olive
duns underneath the leaves of the rodo. As with everything else this year, these are early
hatches. These are not the typical swimming nymph BWOs such as the
baetis, rather larger
crawler
drunella BWOs called Eastern BWO by most anglers. The three or more different
species that exist in the park normally hatch in the Summer and early Fall and range from a
hook size 18 to 16. In fact, if you are familiar with western mayflies, you would think these are
Small Western Green Drakes, or Flavs, although they are not quite that large. They are in
the same genus. Depending on the species, they will hatch off and on throughout the
summer and early fall months but in sparse quantities. Don't think they won't get the trout's
attention though, because they certainly will. I will be adding them to the above list as soon
as I have time.

I tied on a size 18 Perfect Fly BWO nymph (didn't have a 16 with me for some reason) and
proceeded to catch two small browns and two small rainbows within less than an hour. I
moved back over the mountain and stopped along Walkers Camp Prong. Without getting in
the water, I caught two small rainbows and a brook trout on the same fly within about 30
minutes. I headed on downstream and stopped to fish just below the Chimney Picnic Area.
There I picked up four rainbows including one that would measure a good ten inches or
better.

I made it back home just in time to get Angie's orders shipped out before the post office
closed. I was gone not much over five hours and spent at least an hour and a half or
probably closer to two hours of that time driving. Although it's nothing to boast about, that's
eleven trout caught during the middle of the day.

Now, although I don't think the trout have had a chance to see that many Eastern BWO
nymphs, I do think putting the small nymph in the deeper water of, in most cases, pockets,
and pockets and undercut banks on the Oconaluftee, was all it took. I wanted to return after
the PO trip to fish during the late afternoon but I was just too tired. I was up at 4:00 AM and
worked until near 11:00. The old, gray man ain't what he used to be!

Now, some choice strategies for fly fishing in the park:
In addition to a few Eastern BWOs just mentioned, Slate Drakes are still hatching. There are
probably still some Golden Stoneflies showing up in the fast water sections of some streams.
The Little Green Stoneflies should be hatching. There has been a big decline in the numbers
of Little Yellow Stoneflies (Sallies) hatching. I think they are about done for a short time span.
You will see some Little Yellow stoneflies throughout the later part of the Summer. Those will
be what's usually called Summer Stones. They are a different sub-family of the same family
of what's been hatching. You may also still find some areas of moderate flows that have
Sulphurs hatching.

General Strategy:
As just about always, 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 2:00 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 or Little Green Stoneflies. They start hatching (crawling
out of the water) very 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 and maybe some Slate Drake
spinners.

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.

Most Plentiful and Available Insects:
The Golden Stoneflies and Little Green stoneflies are probably hatching but they will not be
as plentiful as the previous Little Yellow hatches. Remember, they 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 day.

The Green Sedges (caddisflies) are hatching but they are usually rather sparse hatches. It's
the larva imitation of the free-living "green rock worm" that's productive anytime of the day.
Light Cahills are continuing to hatch 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 a top priority if they are encountered. By the way, these will be changing to
Cream Cahills in the near future.

It's also possible you will still see some Sulphurs 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 Sulphurs hatching, by all means fish an imitation of the emerging
dun, or the dun, in priority to any of the other insects. By the way, the Sulphurs would be top
priority because they cannot hide as well and are more available for the trout to eat than the
clingers. Next in priority would be the Light Cahills. 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 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 Green Stonefly nymph or a Golden Stonefly 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
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