04/21/09

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2. Giant Black Stoneflies - starting any day, nymphs active
3. Hendricksons - hatching
4. Cinnamon Caddis - Mostly Abrams Creek
5  Light Cahills - Starting any day
6. Midges - hatching in isolated locations
7. Little Short-horned Sedges - should hatch randomly for 2-3 months
8. American March Browns - hatching
9. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish
10. Little Yellow Stoneflies - starting any day, nymphs active
11. Eastern Green Drakes - starting any day Abrams Creek

Giant Black Stoneflies - Nymphs - Part 2

Nymphs:
These nymphs are huge. When anglers see the real Giant Black Stonelfy nymphs
for the first time, It usually surprises them. It is difficult for some to imagine that
creatures that mean and ugly are in the beautiful, clear streams of the Smokies. I
alway like to show them to the kids I find swimming. They want waste any time
getting out of the water. They don't bite but they sure look like they would.

When these stoneflies are not hatching you can get by with just about any size of
black stonefly nymph imitation. They exist in all sizes because of their long 3-4 year
life span. However, as I said yesterday, the best time to fish an imitation of the
nymph is during the hatch. Thats when the trout are seeing these big nymphs on a
regular basis. At that time, I do think it is important to fish the full size nymph, which
is about a hook size 6.

For several years I have witnessed the trout in the Madison River becoming
completely gorged on the big Salmonfly nymphs which are about the same size as
the Giant Blacks. They get full of them quickly because there are so many of them
and they are so easy for the trout to eat when the hatch first begins. Late in the day
the trout will line up along the banks anticipating the stonefly migration to the
banks. You will often hear anglers complaining that the fishing is poor a couple of
days after the hatch begins. When that happen, you have to move upstream to
slightly cooler water where the hatch is just beginning to catch fish

Now I doubt thats the case with the Giant Blacks in the Smokies, but it wouldn't take
many of the big nymphs to fill the small trout. The big difference in the two species
of stoneflies is that the Giant Blacks deposit their eggs at night. The salmonflies
deposit their eggs during the day. So your chances of catching trout during the
Giant Black hatch in the Smokies are best when you are fishing a nymph. Thats not
to say that you can't catch them on an imitation of the adult. I'm just saying the
nymph provides the best opportunity. Start fishing the nymph late in the day a
couple of hours before dark or earlier if its cloudy.

Nymph Presentation:
There is only one good way to fish the nymph and thats right on the bottom. Bring it
from the fast water all the way to the bank. If you are fishing from the bank, stand
back a few feet and bring the fly to the bank. If you have to wade because of trees
along the banks, swing the fly from the fast water to the banks with your rod tip.
Either way I use a down and across presentation. Mend the line a couple of times
as soon as the fly hits the water to help get it down. Stop the rod at about the 2
o'clock position and let the fly swing around to the bank. You will need to make a
fairly long cast because the trout are facing you. Move downstream a step or two
after each cast.

You may need to let out some line when it is difficult to get the fly down. If you are
wading, you will need to point the tip of your rod towards the bank to get the fly to
swing around all the way to the bank. You do not have to worry about determining
when the trout takes the fly. They usually hit the fly very hard. With the line tight
against the current, you will easily feel the trout take the nymph. I suggest using a
heavy, 2X or 3X tippet with a short leader about seven and one-half feet long.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh