07/11/09

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    Little Sister Caddisflies - Mostly Abrams Creek
4.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
5.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching (Little Summer Stones)
6.   Slate Drakes - hatching
7.   Little Green Stonefly - hatching
8.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
9.   Beetles
10. Grasshoppers
11. Ants
12. Inch Worms
13. Crane Flies
14. Helligramite
15. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

Moth Larvae (Inch Worms)

Angie picked up two inch worms from the railing on our front porch yesterday
morning and placed them on my desk. She likes to aggravate me like that but that
was her way of reminding me the trees in our yard have the little green worms
(larvae) hanging from them. Although it isn't very far to one, there isn't a trout
stream running through the front yard but if there were one, the inch worms would
be falling in the water rather than on our front porch.

The little green worms are moth larvae that  belong to the Geometridae Family of
insects. They got the name "inchworm" because they are about an inch long or
when they crawl, they curl up like the image below shows, and then stretch back
out. Maybe they crawl about an inch at a time. The little larvae are also called
spanworms, loopers, measuring worms, sour worms, and many other common
names. There are numerous species of them in Great Smoky Mountains National
Park.

Inchworms are not all green. They can be tan, brown or black. However, almost all
of them we have seen in the park were green.

There is something else about them that I think is important in the Smokies. The
flies that imitate them look a lot like the larvae of the free living caddisflies called
Green Sedges. They are
Rhyacophila species, and one of the few families of
caddisflies that can live and survive well in fast water. There are a lot of these
caddisflies, the larvae of which are called Rock Worms, in the streams of the
Smokies.

The inchworms also look much like the net-spinning caddisflies usually called
Cinnamon Sedges. These are not plentiful in the Smokies except for Abrams Creek
but there are some in all the streams in the park. When the larvae come out of their
shelters to eat, they suspend out in the current on a silk line and get food from their
nets. Trout are used to seeing them and the Rock Worms in all of the streams.

These worm like larvae will suspend several inches from limbs on a silk thread they
produce. They do this hanging act when they are ready to pupate. It is common for
them to fall into the water.
In fact, if they are suspended over the water, they
are going to fall into the water.

A good time to try an inchworm pattern would be when you spot a few of them
hanging from tree limbs, especially during those times when a major hatch is not
underway, which is most of the time during the summer months. If you have not
seen any of them on the banks, it very unlikely there will be any in the water.

The different species of inchworms pupate at different times of the year. You will
find them throughout the summer but heavy only at certain times. Once the trout
have seen them, it doesn't seem to matter if they are lots of them or not.  

Presentation:
There isn't a bad place to present one of the flies that imitate the inch worm. When
they fall off the trees, they don't have the opportunity to select the type of water
they fall in. If they could do that, they would select dry land rather than the water.

Tomorrow we will show you our "Perfect Fly" (Green Weenie) imitations of these
larvae.


Copyright James Marsh 2009