08/03/09

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Mahogany Duns
3.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
4.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching (Little Summer Stones)
5.   Slate Drakes - hatching
6.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
7.   Beetles
8.   Grasshoppers
9.   Ants
10. Inch Worms
11. Crane Flies
12. Helligramite
13. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

Some Changes in the Insects:
Water levels are back up and in excellent shape but thats not the only change that
has and will be taking place.  A few changes will occur in the insect population.
Notice our list of
"Flies you need now" has changed some.  The Cinnamon and
Little Sister Caddis that hatch on Abrams during the summer are about gone. The
Little Green Stoneflies are finished for the year. The only caddis remaining until the
weather starts cooling off will be a few sparse hatches of some species of little
importance. There may be a few long-horned sedges around but nothing in
quantities sufficient to get the trouts attention.

The Blue-winged Olives are still here but they have changed from the Little Eastern
Attenella species to the Acentrella and Diphetor species. What you will notice about
the difference is that you will begin to see small clouds of the spinners dancing up
and down in the afternoons which will begin to fall earlier and earlier as the days go
by bringing trout to the surface to sip on them.

The bottom line is that the aquatic insects become less important as a whole and
the terrestrial insects become even more important than they were in July. There is
one aquatic insect that will start to show up that will be of importance during the next
two or three months and that is the little Mahogany Duns. You will see them often in
all but the fastest water and even there a few will show up in the pools, pockets and
at the ends of the runs and riffles. This is one of the most overlooked insects in the
park.

Mahogany Duns:
First of all, the common name "Mahogany Dun" is confusing because it is used for
different mayflies in different parts of the country. I am using it to mean what we
have found most anglers use it for and that is a few of the
Paraleptophlebia
species. Some of these mayflies are also called "Blue Quills" including one of the
first a largest hatches of the year, the
Paraleptophlebia adoptive. That is the
Smokies hatch of Blue Quills that takes place in late February, March and April.

The
debilis species hatch during the summer and fall of the year and the hatches
usually increase in size later in the year. They are usually slightly larger on the
Western streams, than they are in the East and Midwest, which are normally a hook
size 18 to 22. The
mollis and guttata species are found on streams in the East and
Midwest and the
memorialis species is found on a few streams in the West.  The
species of most importance in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the
mollis
which are quite plentiful.

Just for those of you who may be interested, I will also mention that the
bicornula
species is found on a few western streams in fair quantities at times.  There is also
the
gregalis, memorialis and temporalis species found in the western states. The
heteronea species is found on several western streams on both fast flowing
freestone rivers and streams as well as those with slow to moderate current. They
are  slightly larger Mahogany Duns.

The
mollis can be as large as a hook size 18 but we have found some of them to be
a 20. My friends at Troutnut call this mayfly the Waterloo of anglers. If you cannot
fish small flies and fine tippets, you want do very well with this one.

The first thing that comes to my mind about this mayfly happened several years ago
in late August on the Middle Prong of Little River. Angie and I caught several nice
trout, along with a bunch of little ones, on the dirt road section of the stream at a
time no one fished it. At the time, I didn't know for sure what the mayfly was. We just
used a size 20 fly Angie found in our fly box that matched the ones we caught in our
insect net. I will get into the details on this mayfly during the next few days.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh