11/19/08

New Hatch Charts

We have had a hatch chart for Great Smoky Mountains National Park since we
launched the site but we now have
another one on our Perfect Fly site that directly
links to the flies that are needed to imitate each insect, crustacean or marine
species. It is a part of what will be a
series of hatch charts for every major trout
stream in the United States and Canada.

We have fished all the major ones in the United States and are well underway on
the Canadian trout streams. In most cases we have taken samples of the aquatic
insect larva and nymphs from the stream to verify what was there. I am comparing
that to what information I can find from anglers, magazines, books and websites. In
some cases there are hatch charts available that are quite extensive and in others
they are almost worthless. In some cases they just list flies that someone suggest.
In many cases, in fact most cases, the caddisflies are listed a green, tan, brown,
etc. ones. That too, is almost worthless information. It may help some in terms of
the adult or dry fly imitations but it helps none in terms of the larvae and pupae
imitations which are the most important stages of life of the caddisflies. Just to make
sure I explain what I mean, I am saying that trout eat far more caddisfly pupae and
larvae than they do adults.

In many cases I know just from being aware of the basic water chemistry, type of
stream, location, etc. that the insects listed are not correct or more often,
incomplete Once you study these bugs for a while you begin to almost be able to
identify what should be in a given stream by knowing the characteristics of it. You
cannot go by that, of course, but it help eliminate many things. By that I mean, just
for example, that in a high gradient, fast flowing, high acidic stream you would be
hard pressed to find any net spinning caddisflies. I could give hundreds of other
examples but you should get what I am trying to say.

Often the insects listed for a certain stream contains bugs that anglers that have
fished the stream for a long time have never noticed or are not aware of. It depends
on the exact location in the stream. For example, the Little River has a good
population of
Hexagenia limbata, or the Great Olive-Wing Drakes. They exist all
down the Tennessee River System which the Little River drains into. They are only
in areas of the Little River where the water slows down and the banks and or
bottom of the stream has some soft soil as opposed to rock. This mostly is in parts
of the river that is outside the park. It is also mostly in water where the temperature
of the water gets too warm for trout in the hot summer. In fact we have found some
other large drakes in Little River. We don't list these insects on our hatch charts
because they are not significant and only exist in the park in a very few locations.
We did notice that a famous writer with a few books does list the Hex as being  
plentiful and fishable in Little River. That is not the only time he has misinformed
anglers with information that not only is worthless but misleading.

In some streams right under our nose we still have a lot of questions to be
answered about what insects and other trout foods are significant. For example you
will notice we have completed the hatch chart for the Hiwassee River. We don't
know if scuds and sowbugs are present or not. We haven't taken samples from the
stream. We don't know if black flies are an important source of food there.

In many cases we will be asking for help and information from anyone
knowledgeable about many of the streams we post hatch charts for.
If anyone has
information that may be helpful for the hatch charts on the three streams
we have added to date (or actually way more than that in the case of the
Smoky Mtn Park) please let us hear from you.
We will really appreciate it. If you
see something you question listed on any of our charts, again, please let us hear
from you. We want to improve these as much as possible and we invite you to help.
We will be adding streams as time permits hoping to be finished with the majority of
them by the opening of the seasons on the streams that have closed/open seasons.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh