Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
2. Little Brown Stoneflies
3. Blue Quills
4. Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams)
5. Hendricksons/Red Quills
6. Little Short-horned Sedges
7. American March Browns
Most available - Other types of food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fly Fishing Strategies - Which Flies to Use - Coming Week
Notice that we have removed Little Black Caddis from the above list of available insects and included
Cinnamon Sedges (caddisflies). These are present in large quantities in Abrams Creek and in limited
numbers in most other streams. We have also removed Quill Gordons from the list. You may find a few in the
high elevation streams but I doubt it.
As mentioned yesterday, the timing of the emergence of the aquatic insects is still mixed up due to the crazy
weather we have experienced. It seems very few days have been normal, even for April. The weather has
either been very cold or very warm most days. The results is many insects started to emerge much later
than they normally do and in other cases they started to emerge before they normally do. Most of the Quill
Gordons emerged in much colder water than they normally do and consequently, the trout ate most of them
below the surface of the water frustrating many that insisted on fishing dry flies. The Blue Quills are still
around to some extent in the middle to higher elevations but for the most part, they fit the same scenario as
the Quill Gordons. The Little Black Caddis fell into the same scenario. One day just after lunchtime I found
plenty of them on the banks when they were so cold they couldn't fly. The bottom line is those that fished
good imitations of the nymphs and larvae did well and with the exception of only a very few days, those that
over- fished dry fly imitations didn't do very well.
Although there is not much normal about most any day in the month of April, this week is going to be warmer
than usual but cooler than usual this weekend. The water should stay relatively warm during the week but on
the cold side in the middle and higher elevations during the weekend. We hope the rainfall amounts, most
likely coming Friday, will be low. There's a slight chance of rain almost everyday. The stream levels are just
now getting down to safe wading levels and much rain won't help. We will just have to wait and see what
happens in this regard. I'm optimistic the stream levels will be in good shape.
Hatches will vary greatly depending on whether it's a weekday or weekend day, and with the elevation. I
would start out with a swimmer or crawler mayfly nymph in preference to a clinger nymph. Although many of
you are probably getting tired of reading this, I would still choose a size 18 to 20 Blue-winged Olive nymph
because I know several different species of them are still very plentiful and available. The only other
swimmers are Slate Drakes and they are not very active yet. The crawlers, Eastern Pale Evening Duns,
Sulphurs, Hendricksons, and few remaining Blue Quills, are all in isolated sections of the streams where
moderate flows exist. I would fish the BWO nymph up until I noticed something hatching. Most likely that will
be a few American March Browns. If you know for a fact they are hatching in a certain area, by all means fish
an imitation of the March Brown nymph in the mornings and early afternoons until you find something
If you find a mayfly species hatching, switch to either an emerger or dun imitation of that insect, or if it's a
caddisfly, a pupa imitation. Stoneflies won't hatch (crawl out of the water) until near dark, so even if you see
some, they probably hatched on a previous day.
Late in the afternoon, after the hatches have ended, change flies to a spinner imitation of the mayfly that
hatched in the most plentiful quantities, or in the case of a Short-horned Sedge or Cinnamon Caddis hatch,
an imitation of the adult.
Watch for any stonefly egg laying activity. There have been quite a few of several different species and
sizes hatching lately, so most likely you will find some laying eggs late in the day. If you do, switch to an adult
imitation of that stonefly which most likely will be a brown stonefly. They can range in hook size from a 12 to
an 8. It is possible you may even see a Little Yellow stonefly in the lowest elevations.
If you follow this strategy, you should be able to catch a decent number of trout this coming week. If not, you
may end up as many often do, frustrated with lower than anticipated success. Keep in mind, this isn't a
cure-all article. It isn't a matter of just choosing the right fly. That's only a step in the right direction. You
have to know how to present the imitation the most effective way, in the right areas of the stream and at the
right time. Detailed information is available on our Perfect Fly website regarding how to go about fishing
each of the flies I suggested.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing
Friday: Getting Started
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Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout
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