Note: Just because an insect is listed below doesn't mean it is hatching. Trout eat the insects in
pre-hatch conditions as nymphs and larvae, not just duns or adults. These are the insects and
other food you should be concerned with at this particular time.
1. Blue-winged Olives (Baetis) - sparse hatches
2. Blue Quills - hatching
3. Quill Gordons - hatching
4. Little Black Caddis - hatching
5. Winter Stoneflies - sparse hatches
6. Little Brown Stoneflies - hatching (some are almost black)
7. Midges - hatching in isolated locations
8. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish
Strategy To Use "Now" Fishing the Smokies
Most all the streams in the Smokies have several different species of insects
hatching. The fishing is much easier than it has been when the water was cold
during the past couple of months. The fish were fairly aggressive yesterday, easy
to catch and I am sure they will be even more so today as they acclimate to the
changing water temperatures. We tried several different locations and were
successful at each place we tried. The only problem I can see some may have is
knowing what to do at the time. There are a lot of options. We only talked to one
angler yesterday, and that was his problem. He was just going from one fly to the
other trying to see which one works best. That is a very poor strategy for several
reasons. One is the simple fact that a certain fly may work to catch a trout or two
when it by no means would be the best one. There are several different types of
insects hatching now. In other words, there are multiple hatches. That can cause
anglers to lose a lot of time experimenting if they don't understand the insects and
what each one does during the hatch at various times of the day. I will try to tell you
how I would approach the water at various times of the day.
If you start out fishing in the morning, lets say 10:00 AM for purposes of this
discussion, you should be fishing either a nymph or larva imitation. In the case of
mayflies, it should either be a Quill Gordon nymph imitation or a Blue Quill imitation.
That represents most of the nymphs in the water at the time that are out and about
exposed to the trout. You could also use a Blue-winged Olive nymph but I would do
so only if I had observed a BWO hatch occurring the day before in that same area
of the stream. Otherwise, stick with the Blue Quill or Quill Gordon nymph. The only
other subsurface fly you should fish would be an imitation of the Little Brown
Stonefly nymph. That would also be an excellent choice. The most likely nymph to
succeed would be the Blue Quill nymph simply because there are a lot more of
them in the water about to hatch than the Little Brown Stonefly or Quill Gordon
nymphs. However, it must be fished the right way in the right type of water. That
would be the slower moving water near the fast water such as shallow pockets, etc.
It is demanding fishing. If not, you will spook most of the fish you should catch. I
have gone into that before in detail. The same thing applies with the Quill Gordon
nymph. It should be fished in the seams at the pockets. Not in the runs or riffles.
The Little Brown stonefly nymphs should be fished right on the bottom from the
faster water of the runs and riffles up to the water at the banks. Stay back from the
banks doing this. This will work best the later in the day it is but it will also produce
during the mornings.
Fish these nymphs until you see something hatching. That does not include the
flies you see that have already hatched from yesterday and before. Around 1:00 to
2:00 you should start seeing newly hatched Quill Gordons, Blue Quills. The
Stoneflies will crawl out of the water on the rocks and banks starting very late in the
day just before dark. When you see any Quill Gordons hatch I would first try my
own Perfect Fly Emerging Adult fly, a wet fly imitation of the adult that hatches down
in the water column. DO NOT FISH IT AS A DROPPER. THAT REDUCES ITS
EFFECTIVENESS GREATLY. Fish it by itself with no strike indicator. You want have
any trouble detecting the strikes. If you see trout taking the Quill Gordons on the
surface, change to the dun.
I am out of time.... I will continue from here tomorrow. Good fishing.
Copyright 2009 James Marsh