03/30/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
2.   Little Black Winter Stoneflies
3.   Quill Gordon Mayflies
4.   Blue Quill Mayflies
5.   Little Brown Stoneflies
6.   Little Black Caddis (American Grannoms)
7.   Hendricksons and Red Quills
8.   Little Short Horned Sedges
9.   Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
10  Midges

Little Short Horned Sedges
These little caddisflies are ignored by most all anglers, simply because they don't
think the trout eat them as much as other insects. I would venture to say, that in
terms of numbers, far more Little Short-horned Sedges are eaten by trout in the
Smokies than Quill Gordons. It is the size of the flies that impress anglers. We all
have a tendency to think trout prefer the larger mayflies. In streams where there are
multiple hatches of different size insects, it has been proven time and time again,
that right the opposite is not always, but most often true. For example, a joke about
the Western Green Drake hatch on the famous Henry's Fork of the Snake River
goes something like this. The Green Drake hatch is going great. "The trout are
eating imitations of the Spotted Sedge Caddisflies." That is simply because your
odds of catching trout are far, far greater during the Green Drake hatch if you fish
the caddisfly hatches. I could give many examples.

One reason for this is the simplicity of the trout's ability to capture and eat the
different insects. The Little Black Caddis are easily picking for the trout, they hatch
in large quantities, and they hatch when the light is low and the trout feel more
secure.

I must admit, all anglers including myself, prefer fishing larger flies that are easier to
see. The Little Black Caddis are a hook size 20, which is very small. You can't see
the pupa imitations at all and that is what the trout prefer. You can detect the takes
very easily though if you just watch your line and leader. It will flinch or move
differently than when it is just drifting normally.

You cast the pupa up and across and let swing all the way around to the down and
across position, staying near the bottom. When it reaches the end of the drift, you
just stop the swing of the rod, slightly raise the rod and let the fly surface. You want
this to happen in the area you think they are emerging. This is usually the smooth
water past the tail end of a run or riffle. If there are any of them hatching, you will
get takes very often. I have done it on just about every cast. The key is the timing of
the  hatch. You must be fishing when they are emerging, not after they have already
hatched.

The other part of the Little Black Caddis hatch comes later, sometimes a few days
later when the females lay their eggs. This activity occurs late in the day, earlier if it
is cloudy or the sky is overcast. You will see the females swirling around on top of
the water. This usually occurs over the end of the runs or over the riffles. You will
see them hit the water, not lightly land on it. They dive to the bottom or rocks and
paste their eggs. They return to the surface to die. This can start occurring before a
hatch is over but most often, it is well after the hatch has ended, sometimes a few
days.

Here are our "Perfect Fly" imitations of the
Little Short-horned Sedge caddisflies: