Fishing the Smokies Update - Part Three
Yesterday, I mentioned some streams to fish to avoid the leaf lookers but I didn't
mention any techniques of tactics to use for the flies I suggested. I received more
email from three different guys during the night asking which of the blue-winged
olive flies they should use. The "fishing information" below each of the Perfect Flies
I recommended provides a lot of information but I think it may be a little complicated
for those who are not familiar with the stages of life of the mayfly.
I will try to make some sense of it for you. If you get to the stream fairly early and do
not see any blue-winged olive mayflies, fish the nymph. Fish it until you do start
seeing mayflies. In bright sunlight conditions, you may need to look at a dark
background in order to see the Little blue-winged olives, so make sure you pay
close attention. They would not normally hatch somewhere from around noon to
3:00 PM at this time of year, so if you fish before noon, fish the nymph.
When you first see blue-winged olives, change to an emerger. We have two
"Perfect Fly" emergers for the mayflies. One is an emerger with a CDC wing and the
other one has a trailing shuck. The CDC version imitates a mayfly nymph that has
just opening its wing pad and the wings out but not dry. It is half nymph and half
dun so to speak.
The trailing shuck version is more dun than nymph. The only remains of the nymph
is the nymphal shuck that is still attached to the duns tail. Blue-winged olives that
hatch in inclement weather have a lot of cripples (a mayfly that hasn't come out of
its shuck correctly) and mayflies floating on the surface that have not quite gotten
rid of their nymphal shucks.
Start out with the CDC version. Don't put any dressing on the CDC wing or body. If
you put it on the body the fly will turn sideways. Let the natural CDC float the fly.
Don't expect it to float high in the water. The top of its wings should be flush with the
surface. Don't throw it in the fast water or riffles. That is not where blue-winged
olives hatch. Place you fly in the slower moving water directly adjacent to the fast
water such as pocket behind rocks and boulders, or calm pockets along the bank.
Another place that some of these mayflies hatch is the tail end of pools.
If the emerger isn't working or you, change to the trailing shuck version. Dress it as
you normally would a dry fly. Fish it in the same type of slower water.
If you see any fish taking flies from the surface, change to the dun version. You
should place it in the current seams where the fast water meets the slow water
areas I just described. You may also try it at the tail end of long riffles and runs.
The blue-winged olive spinners will probably start falling a couple of hours after the
hatch starts. I would guess that would be around 3:00 PM or an hour or two later.
Don't change to the spinner until you are sure the hatch has ended. Fish it at the
very ends of the riffles and long runs and the heads of the pools. You will not be
able to see the spinners on the water. You would have to use a skim net to catch
them. The may see the dancing over the water head high or higher. That is when
the males will begin to fall to the water. The hatch may still be underway so, again,
don't change to a spinner until you are sure the hatch has ended.
Now remember, if the sky is clear and the sun is shining brightly, these little mayflies
won't hatch for over an hour or so. If it is cloudy and overcast, it may last for three
or four hours. Adverse conditions is by far the best conditions for a large
blue-winged olive hatch, irrespective of the species.
If you fish the higher elevations or mid-elevation streams with our "Perfect Fly" Little
Yellow Quills that I suggested, all of them but the spinner using exactly the same
sequence and times I mentioned for the blue-winged olives. They too will hatch
longer during cloudy, overcast conditions. The big difference is that you should fish
these flies in the riffles. You should concentrate on the current seams and lower
ends of the long runs and riffles.
The spinners may not fall until near dark in this case. The hatch should occur
around the same time the BWOs hatch. You may find both of the mayflies at the
mid-elevation streams and even some BWOs at the high elevation streams. Usually
the water is a little to acidic for the olives in the headwaters but this doesn't seem to
bother the Little Yellow Quills.
It is going to be difficult for me to tell you how to fish this weekend because it is
expected to rain an inch or so today. That is going to raise the water levels in the
streams if the forecast is correct. It is very difficult to guess just how high the water
may be. The rain may not even bring the stream levels up to normal or they may be
very high and out of the banks. I will not mind either situation because we need the
rain very badly.
If the water is high, or even out of the banks, fish a streamer. I would suggest our
"Perfect Fly" Yellow Marabou streamer. You may also try our Chartruse and White
Clouser Baitfish shown on the same page. Both flies are great for stained water.
Good luck and continue to email me if you have any more questions.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh