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. Cinnamon Caddis - Mostly Abrams Creek
4 Light Cahills - hatching
5. Midges - hatching in isolated locations
6. Little Short-horned Sedges - should hatch randomly for 2-3 months
7. American March Browns - hatching but randomly in isolated locations
8. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish
9. Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching
10. Eastern Green Drakes - should be starting in Abrams Creek
11. Green Sedges - hatching
12. Little Sister Caddisflies - Mostly Abrams Creek
13. Eastern Pale Evening Duns - starting any day (called Sulfurs by some)
Little Yellow Stoneflies (Yellow Sally) - Nymph
Stonefly nymphs are far more important than the adults from a fly-fishing
standpoint. They represent a large part of the diet of the trout in the Smokies.
The Smokies have species of all (9) nine families of stoneflies. Of all the
families present, the Perlodidae and Peltoperlidae families represent more than
any of the others in terms of sheer numbers.
The species of the Periodidae family, the most important one, differ slightly in size
but their basic color and shape is very similar. Species of the Peltoperlidae family
are shorter and more rounded than the Periodidae species but all the species
within the family are very similar in shape and basic color.
Like all stoneflies (with rare exceptions), the Little Yellow Stoneflies crawl out of
the water to hatch. The nymphs are much more susceptible to being eaten by
trout when they migrate from their normal locations down in between and under
rocks on the streambed to the banks to hatch.
When there is no hatch taking places, the stoneflies are basically safe from the
trout. It is not unusual for one to become dislodged and to subject to being eaten.
They don't show up that regular in drift samples; however, and I doubt it is a
frequent occasion. Behavioral drifts, which usually occur under low light conditions
or during the night, don't have substantial numbers of stonefly nymphs.
There are so many different species of stoneflies in the streams of the Smokies,
including the Little Yellow species, from late winter until early fall there is a hatch
occurring more often than not . The bottom line to this is that your odds of success
are good if your are fishing stonefly nymph imitations most any day during that time.
Of all the Little Yellow species, the Yellow Sallies provide the best opportunity for
anglers. They often hatch during the daytime, whereas many other stonefly species
hatch during the evening hours. Some of the Little Yellow Stonefly species that
hatch during very warm weather also hatch during the evenings.
All of the species of these two families of stoneflies live in fast water. They must
have fast flowing, clean water to survive. Prior to the hatch, the Little Yellow
Stoneflies will move along the bottom from their fast water habitat to the banks to
hatch. Some of them crawl up on stones that protrude out of the water to hatch but
the majority use the banks. Just as soon as they get out of water, they shed their
shucks and fly away. The best chance the trout have to eat them is during this
migration prior to the hatch. Often, the trout will actually intercept them along the
These different species of Little Yellow Stoneflies hatch at different times of the
day depending on which species. Most of the Yellow Sallies, or species of the
isoperia genus, hatch in the afternoons. The warmer the weather, the later the
hatch. However, the nymphs will crawl to the banks throughout the day. The later
in the day, the better the fishing usually is, but you can take trout imitating the
migrating nymph anytime during the day.
If you walk up to the bank and cast, or if you walk up to the bank and wade into the
water, you may have spooked the trout you are trying to catch. Where the trees
and bushes allow, you should first cast to the banks from a short distance away
from the banks. Bring the nymph on the bottom all the way back to the bank.
Remember, the trout do not have to see you to spook. If you are not careful, they
can hear you walking on the bank close to the water through their lateral line. Ease
up to the stream as quietly as possible without kicking rocks, etc. When you do get
in the water, wade away from the bank about a rods length and fish the nymph
down and across allowing the nymph to swing back to the bank. This will work much
better than a up stream cast. Continue to move downstream a foot or two each cast
covering all of water along the bank.
If you cast out ten or fifteen feet using a reach cast that ends with your rod pointing
towards mid-stream, you can slowly swing the rod back in the opposite direction
pointing it towards the bank. This will swing the fly from several feet out in the
stream all the way to the bank. In other words you can cover approximately twenty
to thirty feet of water each cast. Of course, this changes with the particular stream
and stream composition. If there is a run near the bank, you may only need to swing
the fly a few feet.
You will need to make longer cast than you are probably use to making in the
Smokies. You need to keep the fly twenty feet or more away from you depending
on the water. In shallow water you may need to keep the fly thirty feet or more
from you to keep from spooking the trout. Remember, the trout will be facing you
when you fish downstream.
Make sure you keep the fly on the bottom. If it is swinging up off the bottom
mid-depth or near the surface, you are not going to catch many fish. Weight it down
and keep it right on the bottom. When you pick it up slightly off the bottom, the fly
will swing towards the bank a few inches. Let it get back on the bottom before you
lift the rod again.
Our "Perfect Fly" Little Yellow Stonefly Nymph (Note Yellow Sally Nymphs are not
yellow. They are brown with a yellow tint.