01/24/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
2.   Little Black Winter Stoneflies
3.   Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish
4.   Midges

Basics of Fly Fishing - Trout Food Series - Mayflies - Part 13
If you have read all of the articles I have written about the early season hatches of
Blue-winged Olives, you should already be aware of the type of water within the
streams of the Smokies that these mayflies inhibit. The don't reside in the fast water
sections. The areas of water they live and hatch in are usually small. The largest
sections would be the tail ends of pools and then only if the water is flowing slow to
moderately. The pockets are usually only a few square feet of area.

When the spinners fall, they fall in the same sections of the stream they were born
in but that doesn't mean they land in the exact same spots. They usually land in
both the fast water and those smaller areas where they lived and hatched. Most of
them land, or at least end up, in the fast water. That's another reason why they are
so difficult to see on the water. Also, don't forget that those females that deposit
their eggs on the bottom of the stream, die in the water, not on the surface. This
means both wet and dry flies could be used to imitate them.

The best procedure is to fish those areas of the stream where the spent spinners
are most likely to congregate, not the faster water. The ends of current seams, the
ends of long runs and riffles and the tail ends of the pools are likely spots. Eddies
are always prime spots because they concentrate the spinners. The trout will eat
the spinners long after the spinner fall has ended.

You will not be able to see your spinner imitation in most cases. The spinner falls
are usually going to occur in low light conditions late in the day or just prior to dark,
depending on the weather. The real spinners that fell on the surface and your fly
should float on the surface of the water. You may see a rise ring that indicates a
trout has taken your fly but in most cases, you want see anything.

The best way to detect the takes is to watch the end of your fly line or leader if you
can see it. When it is drifting in the slow to moderate water that you should be
fishing, it should move along at the same rate of the water. When it stops, or fails to
continue to move downstream, you should set the hook with a long sweep of the rod
tip. This doesn't always mean a trout has taken the fly. However, when one does,
that's about the only indication you will get unless you are able to see your fly. This
requires a lot of concentration.

I don't think it matters how you present the fly, as long as you can get it in the area
the trout are feeding on the spinners and get a drag free drift. The trout don't look
for the spinners in the fast water. As I mentioned, they tend to feed on them at the
ends of the fast water. They are well aware the mayflies cannot escape them. If you
are fishing at the time a spinner fall is or just has occurred, and in the right areas of
the stream, you are subject to catch several trout in a very short time. You can't
always count on pinpointing the time or location, but when you do, it can be very
rewarding.  

Copyright 2010 James Marsh