Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
3. Little Winter Stoneflies
4. Little Brown Stoneflies
5. Quill Gordons
6. Blue Quills
7. Little Black Caddis
Most available - Other types of food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Getting Started - A Little About One Of The Most Important Caddisflies In The
Smokies - Overlooked By Many Anglers
How We First Learned About Them:
About ten or eleven years ago, we decided to spend the month of April in Colorado, fishing some of the
state's many streams. In researching the fly fishing in the Colorado, we found that the Mother's Day hatch on
the Arkansas River always came up as one of the top hatches in the state. It was the first highly publicized fly
fishing event in the state. We read where the Grannom Caddisflies (Brachycentrus species) would get so
thick they would cover the windows of your vehicle driving up the river. The hatch on the long river starts
below Cannon City and moves upstream each day all the way to Leadville, high in the Rocky Mountains.
The trout in the Arkansas River are mostly brown trout but there are some rainbows. This river is much like
most of the larger streams in the Smokies. For the most part, it's fast moving pocket water that starts out as
a very small stream and grows as it continues downstream. Other than a blue-winged olive hatch, this hatch
represents the only large aquatic insect hatch during the early season on the Arkansas River.
The hatch had not started when we first arrived in Colorado. We moved on to some other streams and first
discovered the hatch occurring on the Colorado River about our third day in the state. We fished on the
Colorado River for a couple of days and then returned to the Arkansas River. We found the hatch occurring
just above Cannon City. For the next week we followed the hatch it as it progressed upstream. Angie and I
caught an average of about forty to fifty trout a day fishing only one at a time.
Many Confusing Names for the same bug:
There are several species of this caddisfly called the Mother's Day hatch in the West, and Little Black
Caddis hatch in the East due to the different hatch times. The appalachia, americanus, nigrosoma,
fuliginosus, lateralis, numerosus, occidentalis and others are some of the most important species, all of
which are very similar inn appearance and behavior.
As just mentioned, the hatch has different names depending on where you fish it. The Mother's Day Hatch
name came from some of the western streams where it occurs around Mother's Day. In the Northeast, it's
called the Apple Caddis Hatch because of the appalachia species that hatches in many streams there.
Other places in the East it's just called the Little Black Caddis, or sometimes, just the Small Black Caddis.
It is also called the American Grannom, Stripped Grannom, just plain Grannom, and Dark Grannom,
depending on the species and where you are fishing. That illustrates a big problem with common names.
From a fly fishing standpoint, these are all names of the same insect.
The Dark Grannom (nigrosoma species) are the ones usually called Little Black Caddis because they
are slightly darker than the other species. They are normally a hook size 18 but this varies slightly from area
to area and species to species.
The Grannoms are the closest thing a caddisfly ever gets to being a mayfly. They hatch and behave
very similarly to a typical mayfly. The pupae swim to the surface of the water where they hatch into adults.
They are well suited for fast to moderate pocket water streams like we have in the Smokies. I am fairly
certain most all of you have seen these caddisflies in their larva stage of life. They form very unique cases
called "Chimney" cases because they are shaped like chimneys. There are lots of them in the streams
of Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Little River, along with many other streams, has a very good
population of them. I'll have more on these next week.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
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Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
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Friday: Getting Started
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Here they are in the larva stage, in
their neat little Chimney Cases.
This is an adult photographed on Little
River perched on my fly vest