Hatches Made Easy:
It has become clear to us from most of the email that we get from this site that
many of you have a lot of questions about hatches and the flies used to imitate
the various insects. Although we have posted quite a bit of information on this
site pertaining to hatches and insects, we have very little information on how to
go about fishing the hatches and imitating the insects.
It is of little value to just tie on a fly that is suppose to imitate a particular insect if
you really don't know how, when and where to use it. Knowing and imitating the
behavior of an insect is far more important than having a good imitation of it.
You have heard over and over that presentation is more important than the fly
itself and that is exactly what I am referring too.
During the next few months, time permitting, I will be posting information about
the hatches that occur in the Smokies and how to go about fishing them. I will try
to do this in advance of the hatches occurring this year This will include the
mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies and other aquatic insects along with the
terrestrial insects and other food trout rely on in the Smokies.
We will start with the most complex common named category of all the mayflies,
the "Blue-winged Olives". It is complex only in the sense that it contains so many
different mayflies that are called "Blue-winged Olives". None of this is
complicated. Making the hatches simple is my sole purpose in doing this and
why the title of it is "Hatches Made Easy".
We (along with most books written on this subject) break what anglers normally
term "Blue-winged Olives" down into (4) four different categories;"Blue-winged
Olives", "Little Blue-winged Olives", "Eastern Blue-winged Olives" and
"Small Blue Winged Olives".
The first one, "Blue-winged Olives", is one of the first hatches of the year you
may encounter. This common name category consist of the Baetis species of the
Baetidae family of mayflies. The following species have been found in the park:
(note: the species scientific names are provided only for information for
those that are interested. It is not necessary that you know these
species by name)
These hatches usually start around the second or third week of February but of
course, this is subject to change depending on the weather and stream
conditions. We will not go into all the variations of the hatch times. You can
review this subject by clicking on reading hatch charts. This hatch does not
occur everywhere in the park. In fact, it only occurs in a small percentage of the
total stream area. These are swimming nymphs.
Although fast water streams have populations of them, they are normally found
in the quieter sections of the water such as eddies and calm pockets along the
The thing that makes them important is that they hatch over a much longer
period of time than most of the other mayflies. They can have more than one
generation in a year. They hatch off and on over a period of several months,
beginning in the early spring or late winter and continuing off and on until the fall
As we said, It is not important to know the species by name, but it is important to
recognize and match the different sizes of the blue winged olives. Although the
colors do not vary that much, the size varies greatly, depending upon the
As a general rule, the very early hatches usually produce mayflies much smaller
than those that occur during the warmer months of the year. Normally, in the hot
summer months, the hatches slow down but then pick up again as cooler
In the colder months of the year, they tend to hatch during the warmest times of
the day, usually around noon. During the warmer months, the hatches usually
start occurring earlier, from mid-morning until late afternoon.
As with many species of mayflies, the hatches usually last longer on cloudy,
overcast days than bright sunny days. In fact, stormy, rainy, snowy and
inclement weather days are usually produce the largest hatches. When they do
hatch, the trout can become completely selective on them and may even prefer
them to larger insects that are available at the same time. This fact has fooled
Coming Next: The Blue-winged Olive Nymphs, Emergers and How to
Copyright 2008 James Marsh