06/20/09

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Cinnamon Caddis - Mostly Abrams Creek
3    Light Cahills - hatching
4.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
5.   Little Short-horned Sedges - should hatch randomly for 2-3 months
6.   Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish
7.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching
8. Green Sedges - hatching
9. Little Sister Caddisflies - Mostly Abrams Creek
10. Eastern Pale Evening Duns - (called Sulfurs by some)
11. Sulphurs - hatching in isolated areas
12. Golden Stonefly - hatching
13. Little Green Stonefly - hatching
14. Slate Drakes - hatching
15. Beetles
16. Grasshoppers

The Learning Process - Part 7

Yesterday and the day before I wrote about Quill Gordon mayflies and how studying
the insects gave us a different perspective that resulted in our being able to catch
trout during the first part of the hatch when, as a general rule, others couldn't.
I will
summarize
how we went through this learning process.

In the late winter before the Quill Gordon hatch started, when we would use our kick
nets to collect and photo stream samples from the streams of the Smokies, we
would capture a huge number of insects. This was simply because nothing
significant had hatched and the streams were loaded with nymphs. We also noticed
something very weird. We wouldn't come up with any Quill Gordon nymphs in the
net.

We continued to move around thinking we were just not in the right water. We finally
checked out some places we knew they hatched the year before. We still didn't find
any nymphs. We continued to get in deeper water and different places in the
stream and it seemed the nymphs just didn't exist even where we knew they had
previously hatched. Out of options, we finally checked the water in a small pocket
behind a large boulder out of the current. We came up with a net full of Quill
Gordon nymphs. We continued to do this other places where we knew Quill
Gordons existed from previous year's hatches and it resulted in the same thing -
lots of Quill Gordon nymphs.

Later we discovered that some authors had written about the fact that these
nymphs will move out of the fast water runs and riffles and into calmer water to
hatch. This information was in some of the books that we had read but it just hadn't
registered with us. The kick net doesn't work out of the current very well and we had
avoided the pockets.

In other words, we discovered where the nymphs disappeared too and we
discovered where we should be fishing imitations of the nymphs prior to a hatch.
This is also how we learned where to present our wet fly emerging adult imitation
when the Quill Gordons first begin to emerge. When they hatch and reach the
surface, they get caught up in a current seam beside the pocket and head
downstream. Up until that point, we had always fished the riffles and runs like ninety
plus percent of everyone else. Knowing exactly where to fish nymphs during the
mornings during the hatch and a week or two before the hatch began made a huge
difference. Knowing the nymphs hatched into duns on the bottom and that we
should fish a wet fly when the water was not quite warm enough for the good dry fly
fishing everyone prefers, also enabled us to catch a lot more trout from the Quill
Gordon hatch. The result was, we caught trout when others were having little or no
success.

Tomorrow I will go though another early season hatch we learned to fish that
produces a lot of trout for us during a time most anglers are catching very little if
anything. It is a hatch that practically no one fishes in the Smokies. By the way, we
didn't learn about it fishing the Smokies. We learned about it in Colorado.

Copyright James Marsh 2009