Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
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)
Great Fall Fishing Ahead - Part Two
Leaves in water bothers some anglers but the facts are, they only are thick and aggravating for a
very few days. It's usually bad for only two or three days, not over a week. After the leaves are
ready to fall, a very windy day usually provides the worst conditions, but by the same token, strong
winds can get rid of a lot of leaves in a short time making the overall falling leave time period much
The leaves can actually help disguise the angler and distract the fish. Trout have no problem
selecting your dry fly from the floating debris and leaves in the water. It's mostly a mental thing with
You should avoid stepping on leaves that are in the water when wading. They may appear to be
just covering the bottom but may be two or three feet deep. You can easily step in water much
deeper than you think it is. Don't judge the deep by the level of the leaves.
Fall offers the final round of hatches for most aquatic insects. Food on the surface of the water will
grow scarce after the autumn season ends.
The Great Brown Autumn Sedge, a large tan or Cinnamon colored caddisfly, is the largest of the
Fall aquatic insects to hatch.
The Slate Drake is almost as large as the big Autumn Brown Sedge. Early Fall brings on a second
wave of hatches for the year. It is actually just the last part of a very long hatch period but you will
find lots more of them near the end of their hatch period than during the middle of it.
The Eastern BWOs will be just about gone. One of the species may hatch early in the Fall but it's
Little or tiny BWO's of various species will continue to hatch. Larger baetis species will start to
hatch in October along with others such as the Acentrella. These are all in the Baetidae family but
not all in the baetis genus. They vary in body color like the leaves - greens, olives, browns, auburn
and yellow shades. All of them have gray wings. They molt into spinners varying in colors from the
clear abdomen Jenny spinners to the familiar rusty spinners.
Bright yellow mayflies hatch in late September and October, especially in the higher elevation
streams. Many anglers think they are Light Cahills but they aren't. They are species called Little
Yellow Quills that are in the Heptagenia group of mayflies. The Mahogany Duns will last into the
first week or two of October.
Stoneflies consist mostly of what's called Yellow Sallies and Needleflies. In reality, the larger of the
two species called Sallies are not Sallies, rather just another species of the many Little Yellow
Stoneflies that exist in the Smokies. They are all quite similar. The Needleflies are the most plentiful
of the two types of fall stoneflies. They look like large caddisflies in flight but are small, hook size
Midges hatch year-round but become far more important in the late Fall and Winter months simply
because they may be just about the only insects hatching. They are not profuse hatches like they
are in many tailwaters and spring creeks but they exist in plentiful quantities.
Brook trout spawn in the Fall. They turn colors much like the leaves. It's amazing how much they
resemble the leaves in their spawning colors.
Brown trout also spawn in the Fall. They usually move upstream and can easily be spotted during
the movement. It's an easy time to catch large browns because they lose their normal caution and
nocturnal habits of staying hidden during the day. Normally, most of their feeding occurs during low
light conditions such as nighttime, late in the day and early in the mornings.
You shouldn't fish for them during the actual spawning process. I should point out that there's a
fine line between catching spawning trout and catching pre-spawn trout. The fine line is either
misunderstood by most anglers or otherwise, since fishing for spawning trout isn't illegal, just
ignored. You can damage their redds during the spawning period by wading through them and
stepping on them.
In summary, while many anglers are hunting and/or watching football games, the trout are usually
eating dry flies in the Smokies.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh