09/19/12

Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
Hatching:
1.    BWOs (Little and Eastern BWOs)
2.    Little Yellow Quills
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
4.    Slate Drakes
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Mahogany Duns

Most available/ Other types of food:
7.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8.    Craneflies
9.    Beetles
10.  Grasshoppers
11.  Ants

Fly Fishing Strategies - Which Fly To Use - The Coming Week - Part 2
The rain has ended and the park received from 2 to 2 1/2 inches with 3 the maximum in only a few
areas. It appears the North Carolina side central section received the most. At least the
Oconaluftee is running higher in proportion to the other streams in the park. Little River is falling
fast and Cataloochee Creek is already in decent shape. I don't know how it could have turned out
any better. We needed rain badly and we got just enough to keep the streams flowing good yet not
blown out for our visitors.

I hope the just the right amount of rain helps one lady out in particular. She arrived yesterday to do
some fly fishing and apparently just had to sit and watch it rain. You can keep track of her fishing
on her blog
"Me and My Borrowed Waders". It is always nice to have anglers from other parts of
the country visit the Smokies, especially those from Michigan and especially females brave enough
to tackle our streams alone. After all, they have great trout fishing where she came from plus
salmon and steelhead which are just now showing up in the rivers. Good luck today Laura.

Keeping up with what I have been doing since the beginning of the second year of doing the Fly
Fishing Strategy Article,
here is last year's strategies for this same period of time:

Remember: The key is to imitate the insects and or other food that's most
available and easiest for the trout to acquire. If you haven't read the first parts of this
series, please do so. It will help make this article more meaningful.

First of all, the only change in the list of the insects that the trout have to eat is that I
added the Great Brown Autumn Sedge to the list. I have written about this caddisfly
during the past week. We show it on our hatch chart as starting to hatch by the first of
October but in previous years, it has appeared earlier than that on some streams.
Because of that, I added it to the list.

I did take the time to check some stream and hatch conditions out yesterday. I visited
the Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River, West Prong of Little Pigeon River and it's
headwaters, and Little River. I didn't get to the North Carolina side of the park. The
weather varied from solid clouds with misting rain to clear skies with sunshine. I
noticed some Needle Stoneflies on Walkers Camp Prong, Mahogany Duns on Little
River and Little Pigeon River, and some Blue-winged Olives on each of the above
streams.

The BWOs were plentiful for a short time on Little River but they were still small
species rather than the Fall baetis. This by all means doesn't mean these insects are
the only ones hatching or that have hatched. It's impossible to determine that in a
short time and even in a day.

I was gone from home for just over three hours but I fished only for about a total of an
hour. I caught a four rainbows and one brook trout. Three of the bows came within a
total of not over ten minutes and all on a #18 Blue-winged Olive nymph imitation. I am
confident that if I had of continued to fish, I would have been able to catch plenty of
trout but that's all the time I had fish.

There are still far more Blue-winged Olive nymphs in the mid to low elevation areas of
the streams than anything. It is very early in the morning (5:00 AM) as I am writing this
and it still hasn't rained at my home in Pigeon Forge. The stream levels are still the
same but there is a 40% chance of rain today. Tomorrow it increases to 70%. The
odds are this will increase the numbers of terrestrial insects that get into the water,
depending on the amount of rain we get. Of course, there's no guarantee it will rain. If
it does rain very much, it can dingy the water enough for streamers to play a role in
the fishing strategy for the next few days. You should also try a streamer if you start
fishing early in the morning or very late in the day during low light conditions. Until the
conditions change because of rain, or more of the insects I have listed above begin to
hatch, I still say the best odds for the highest numbers of trout will come from fishing
an imitation of the BWO nymph in a hook size 18 or 20.

If you start seeing decent numbers of Mahogany Duns, you may want to switch to an
imitation of the Mahogany Dun nymph. Of course, if the hatch is underway, you would
switch to a Mahogany Dun emerger or dun pattern. It's also possible that any of the
other aquatic insects listed above may be hatching and if so, you should follow the
same procedure and switch to imitations of their respective stage of life most available
at the time. Until you do encounter other hatches, your best odds will be to stick with
the BWO nymph. If it rains enough to dingy the water, and your fishing the mid to
lower elevations, and particularly streams with brown trout, you should try a streamer.

If it rains enough to wash terrestrials in the water, or the wind is blowing at a good clip,
you should give imitations of them a try. There's still a large number of ants, beetles
and hoppers available. There's lots of craneflies and cranefly larvae. All the
terrestrials will be around in decent numbers until we begin to get heavy frost.

I know the last several weeks of strategy articles seem to repeat the same thing and
may even sound a little boring, but the facts are, there's been few changes in the food
supply during the last few weeks. That's subject to change at any time. Any day
one or more of the other insects listed above could begin to hatch in good quantities.
The Little Yellow Quills and Needle stoneflies could start hatching any day in the
upper and mid elevations. Decent hatches of baetis species of BWO's will take place
by the first week or two of October. Little Yellow Stoneflies may show up in the lower
and mid elevations any day. The Mahogany Duns may begin to hatch in larger
quantities. The intensity of the sparse Slate Drake hatches could increase any time.
Until things change, sticking with the small BWO nymph imitation will still provide more
opportunity for you than anything.

As I'm sure you know, the rain that was expected for this period of time last year has already
arrived and passed this year. The strategies I outlined regarding what to do if it did rain in the
above article for last year, certainly applies today. Streamers should play a role in your fishing
strategy for the next day or two. You should also try a streamer if you start fishing early in the
morning or very late in the day during low light conditions. As I did last year, I still say the best odds
for the highest numbers of trout will come from fishing an imitation of the BWO nymph in a hook
size 18 or 20. There are more of these nymphs in the water that are available for the trout to eat
than any other - that is up until another one moves in to start hatching.

If you start seeing decent numbers of Mahogany Duns, you may want to switch to an imitation of
the Mahogany Dun nymph. Of course, if a hatch is underway, you would switch to a Mahogany Dun
emerger or dun pattern. It's also possible that any of the other aquatic insects listed above may be
hatching and if so, you should follow the same procedure and switch to imitations of their
respective stage of life most available at the time. Until you do encounter other hatches, your best
odds will be to stick with the small BWO nymph. As long as the water is dingy and if your fishing the
mid to lower elevations, and particularly streams with brown trout, you should be using a streamer.

If has rained enough to wash terrestrials in the water and you should also be sure to give imitations
of them a try. There's still a large number of ants, beetles and hoppers available. There's also lots
of craneflies and cranefly larvae in the water at this time. All the terrestrials will be around in decent
numbers until we begin to get heavy frost.

As with last year, the last several weeks of strategy articles seem to repeat the same thing but the
facts are, there's been few changes in the food supply during the last few weeks. That's subject to
change at any time. Any day one or more of the other insects listed above could begin to hatch in
good quantities.

The Little Yellow Quills and Needle stoneflies could start hatching any day in the upper and mid
elevations. Decent hatches of
baetis species of BWO's will take place by the first week or two of
October. Little Yellow Stoneflies have started showing up in the lower and mid elevations. The
Mahogany Duns should begin to hatch in larger quantities. The intensity of the sparse Slate Drake
hatches could increase any time.

Until things change, sticking with the small BWO nymph imitation will still provide more opportunity
for you than anything.

If your out there changing flies every few minutes, searching for something you think will work, your
backing up.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh