Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. Slate Drakes
2. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Summer Stones)
3. Needle Stoneflies
4. Mahogany Duns
5. Little Yellow Quills
Most available - Other types of food:
6. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
7. Inch Worms
Fly Fishing Strategies - Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
I may have mentioned this already but as soon as the weather cooled off, Angie
brought me a beautiful Slate Drake Dun home from the Food City grocery store on the
Little Pigeon River in Pigeon Forge. No, they don't sell them. She got it off a power
pole in the parking lot.
Slate Drakes (Isonychia bicolor) are a strange mayfly. The nymphs crawl out of the
water and hatch on the rocks in or bordering the streams. The duns usually never
touch the water. They fly off into the trees and change to spinners before they mate
and either fall in the water (males) or later, deposit their eggs on the water (females).
The mayflies hatch over a very long period of time starting in late May and ending at
the end of October. During the hot summer, you may see one every once in a while.
It's a split hatching season but they are not bi-brooded. It starts out fairly heavy in the
late Spring and picks back up in late September. I except you will start seeing their
shucks on the rocks for the next month.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
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I don't think the picture shows the bicolor species. They have light and dark color legs,
hence the name bi-color. They are Isonychia species. This picture of a dun, is a bicolor
I have an idea that if the cool weather pattern continues, we will see some hatches that
take place earlier than they usually do. On the other hand, if it turns back warm for a week
or two, they hatches may stay on a normal schedule. Remember, late season hatches are
the opposite of spring hatches in respect to the timing relative to water temperature. They
start hatching as the water cools off, not warms up like the spring hatches.
Great picture thanks to Troutnut.com
Great picture thanks to Troutnut.com
Perfect Fly Slate Drake Nymph
I'm making a few changes due to the cooler weather for this coming week. I think there will
be more blue-winged olive nymphs out and about from their normal hiding places than
Mahogany Duns. Remember, that there are several different species (at least 6) of
mayflies we call Blue-winged Olives that hatch in the late Summer and Fall. Not all are
baetis species although some are. There are a couple of Drunella species called
Eastern Blue-winged Olives, Small Eastern BWOs (Attenella), and some other smaller
species (Acentrella). These are present in the streams as well as the baetis species. The
cool weather will slow or end the Mahogany Dun hatches. I hope I'm not changing to soon,
but this would be my strategy.
In the middle and lower elevations, I suggest you use a Blue-winged Olive nymph,
size 18, in the mornings. Continue with it until you see something hatch. You may see
some Little Yellow Stoneflies. If you spot any adults, it means they are hatching and I
suggest you fish a Little Yellow Stonefly nymph late in the afternoon an hour or two before
dark. If you spot any of them laying eggs, switch to the adult pattern.
Other than the Little Yellow Stoneflies scenario, I would stick with the Blue-winged Olive
nymph until they begin to hatch (if they do), and then switch to an emerger or dun
imitation of the BWO. There could also be a BWO spinner fall but if so, it will be near
dark before it takes place. If you fish late in the day, I suggest you have a few BWO
spinners on hand. If you are seeing some Slate Drake nymphs on the rocks along the
streams, I suggest you switch to a Slate Drake nymph. You should also watch for a Slate
Drake spinner fall near dark. They are large enough you can see them, even in low light.
If so, go to a Slate Drake spinner.
In the higher elevation streams and small, fast water, middle elevation streams, I
suggest a different strategy. I would fish a Little Yellow Quill nymph in the mornings and
continue with it until I spotted something hatching. Most likely that would be Little Yellow
Quills but it could also be the little Needle Stoneflies. Both of these insects have started to
hatch in the higher elevations. The Little Yellow Quills normally start to hatch around the
middle of the afternoon. If you spot any, switch to an emerger or dun imitation of the Little
If neither of these insects begin to hatch, you may want to switch to a Needle Stonefly
nymph about the middle of the afternoon. If you spot any Needle Stoneflies laying eggs,
switch to an adult imitation. Remember, when they are flying, the little Needle stoneflies
look more like caddisflies than stoneflies.
You may also find some Little Yellow Quill spinners from the previous day's hatch showing
up late in the day. Sometimes, the spinners from the day before appear during the same
time of the current day's hatch. Their light colors make both the duns and spinners easy
The brook trout and small rainbows in the small headwater streams are quite
opportunistic feeders, but if either of the above insects are hatching, I will assure you your
odds of success with double or triple if you imitate that particular insect. Doing that, at
times you can catch trout about as fast as you can hook and release them.
Keep in mind, the strategies I'm suggested are based on increasing your odds of success
or catching the highest number of trout possible, not the largest size trout. There are
other specific methods of fishing that will produce some much larger trout. Also, keep in
mind that I'm well aware that some of you may prefer to fish dry flies more than the above
strategy suggest, but again, the strategies provided are for catching the highest numbers
of trout, and depending on individual preferences, not necessarily having the most fun