06/23/09

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 10
This article continues with the previous two articles about fishing the Grannom
Caddis hatch. Notice I called this hatch the Grannom Caddis hatch which probably
just adds to the confusion always caused by common names. I did that after
deciding some years ago to always call it the Little Black Caddis hatch. The reason I
did is that is how two of the last books written on caddisflies refer to the hatch. The
Grannom, Stripped Grannom, Americqan Grannom, Dark Grannom, Little Black
Caddis, Black Caddis, Apple Caddis, Mother's Day hatch, and
Brachycentrus
caddis hatch, all refer to the same genus of caddisflies. There is almost no
difference in the species in this group. Sorry I referred to it more than one way
during the last two articles.

Upon returning from fishing the Arkansas River the year I have been writing about,
the hatch was over in the Smokies. In fact, it was over before we left for Colorado
and like everyone else, we didn't fish it. We knew we had seen the chimney case
caddis before and wondered how many the streams in the Smokies had. The
following year, during January or February, we started checking the streams making
note of these caddisflies and found all of the streams had a population of them. The
Little River has a lot of them. Around the end of February, we noticed they became
much more visible. You could see the chimney cases attached to the rocks in the
stream dangling in the current almost anywhere you looked carefully.

These caddis larvae are scrapers. They attach their cases to the rock and then eat
algae from the rocks. They can extend their legs out of the cases and catch both
plant and animal particles to feed on. Like some of the non-cased caddis, they can
extend out on a white silk line and move along the bottom like a mountain climber
attached by a rope. Because of this, it is thought that trout eat a lot of the dangling
larvae, case and all. There have been several fly patterns developed for these
cased caddis. So far, we have had little success fishing any of them. That is why I
have never developed my own Perfect Fly pattern for them. I could be wrong, of
course, but I just don't see it as a productive method of fishing.

The pupae are an entirely different thing. Trout eat them and the pupae have no
defensively measures to prevent it. When they hatch, they swim to the surface of
the water using their two middle legs that are fringed enough to act like a paddle.
When they reach the surface, they pop out of the pupa skin, shake their wings and
fly off. They usually drift on the surface ten or twenty feet doing this depending on
the current. This is what makes for the excellent dry fly fishing they provide. Unlike
many caddisflies, these hatch on the surface during the day, and return later to
deposit their eggs during the day on the surface providing two opportunities for you
to catch trout during the hatch. That is why I came up with this imitation of the pupa
a few years later.
























The following year after our first Colorado trip, we purchased some of LaFontaine's
Deep Sparkle Pupa and Emergent Sparkle Pupa flies and were ready to fish the
hatch in the Smokies. The pupae imitations worked even better than the dry fly
imitations of the adults but either one would catch trout during the hatch. The little
foam bodied dry fly imitations we brought back from Colorado were the dry flies we
first used in the Smokies. It wasn't until a few years later (two years ago) that we
came out with our own flies we feel are far superior to anything else for fishing the
LIttle Black Caddis hatch.

The problem is that when these caddisflies are hatching, few anglers notice it.
Thats because for the most part, the trout are eating the pupae as they accent to
the surface. It is much easier for the trout to do that than it is for them to take them
from the surface. All you may notice is a flash of a trout. They don't crash the
surface of the water making a highly visible disturbance. I think that is why it is
overlooked. Anglers are looking for Quill Gordons and don't notice the Little Black
Caddis until they see the adults (two or three days later) returning to the stream to
deposit their eggs. This occurs late in the afternoon after the Quill Gordon hatch
should have taken place. At that time most anglers have already left the streams. If
they stayed late in the afternoons they would notice the egg laying activity if they
looked carefully at the water in the dimming winter light. It is usually pretty cold by
then and everyone has already departed. In fact what I have just described is
typical for most caddisfly hatches. Anglers don't recognize the hatch until it is too
late to do them much good. They only catch the egg laying part of it and that
happens during the evenings with many other families of caddisflies.

The streams of Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not have a big caddisfly
population. It has a diverse population consisting of many different species but the
density of the larvae is usually fairly low. That is because caddisflies eat algae. The
highly acidic water doesn't offer much food for the net-spinning variety.  Some of
the cased varieties, such as the Little Black Caddis do very well, however. Next
season, pay attention to this hatch and you will likely catch as many or even more
trout than you will catch fishing the Quill Gordon hatch. It will only last about a week
in any one section of the stream as it moves upstream to higher elevations, but if
you watch for it, you can enjoy great fishing from about 2:00 PM until near dark.

There is another caddisfly hatch that will occur near the same time period and they
too, are little black caddis. So far, we have not found an effective way to fish it. It is
the
Chimmara hatch or what we call the Tiny Black Caddis. They crawl up the rocks
to hatch and crawl down the rocks to deposit their eggs. My rock crawling fly
development is lacking so far.
                                                                                                                   Copyright James Marsh 2009