Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little)
2. Cream Cahills
3. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Little Summer Stones)
4. Slate Drakes
5. Little Green Stoneflies
6. Mahogany Duns
Most available/ Other types of food:
7. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8. Inch Worm (moth larva)
Mahogany Duns - Emergers
As plentiful as they are, the Mahogany Dun mayfly isn't a very well know insect to the those that
fish the small streams of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As I mentioned in the introduction,
some anglers mix them up by name with the much larger Slate Drakes which have a mahogany
colored abdomen but they are not Mahogany Duns. These mayflies will be very plentiful starting
any time now and continue off and on (different species and different elevations) through the
middle of September.
The females are a full hook size 18 and the males near that but slightly smaller. Our Perfect Fly
imitations are 18's. Slate Drakes vary from a hook size 10 to 12 depending on the time they hatch
during their very long hatch period. We are now right in the middle of the Slate Drake hatch but it
will be very slack for another month or so and then you will begin to see quite a few nymphal
shucks on the rocks along the streams.
I think many anglers confuse these mayflies with Blue-winged Olives. Unless you catch one it isn't
easy to tell them apart until you become familiar with them. Another reason they are little know
insects is the fact not many anglers fish the park during August and the first half of September.
Most of those that do are fishing the high elevations for brook trout. Those streams have less of
the Mahogany Duns than the middle and lower elevations.
The nymphs migrate to slower, calmer water before emerging. There they may make several
attempts to emerge normally swimming to the surface several times before shedding their shucks.
This usually occurs during the early afternoon but this depends on the temperature the particular
The Mahogany Dun Emerger should be used to imitate the emerging duns. Fish the emerger
without any added weight by casting it up and across the current. These mayflies usually hatch
very near the banks in the calm pockets and behind boulders were the water is calm.
They often emerge in very shallow water that is extremely clear. In those cases you may need to
use long, light leaders and tippets and even a down and across presentations is needed at times
to prevent spooking the trout feeding on the emergers.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh