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. American March Brown
10. Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
Another aquatic insect that should start hatching any day now is the Cinnamon
Caddisfly. Before I begin to get into this insect, I want to remind you that the
caddisfly is the most miss-understood insect that exist in trout streams. The
Cinnamon Caddis is no exception to this. As with most all of the cadddisflies, the
average angler does not recognize this hatch until it is too late to do them any good.
When you start seeing them in the bushes, in the air and on the banks crawling
around, you have already probably missed the best part of the hatch. That doesn't
mean there will not be any more that hatch, but it does mean every one you see has
already hatched and it may possibly be over completely. Unlike mayflies, caddisflies
can live a long time out of the water before mating and dieing.
Now when I say you have missed the hatch, what I mean is you have missed the
emergence. You still have an opportunity to catch trout that will feed on the egg
laying part of the hatch. The problem is the caddisflies you see may not deposit
their eggs for a day or even a week. Usually, the egg laying activity progresses at
about the same speed or rate as the hatch occurs.
The Cinnamon Caddis is the most common name used for the Ceratopsyche
species of caddisflies. In the Eastern United States, this is the most common
caddisfly you will see on trout streams. They are net spinners, which represent
about 70% of all the caddisflies that exist on trout streams. They are very similar to
the Spotted Sedges, or Hydropsyche species, also fairly common in the East but
moreso in the Western and Mid-western U. S. Now don't let the scientific names bug
you. I just want to make certain I qualify the particular insects I am writing about for
those that are very familiar with them. If you have been on a trout stream anytime
during the late Spring, Summer or early Fall, anywhere in the East, chances are you
have seen these caddisflies. About the only difference in them appearance wise, is
the Spotted Sedges tend to have some subdued spots on their wings and the
Cinnamon Caddis's wings are a little more of a solid color. Some species, of which
there are many, are difficult to distinguish from each other.
All in all, compared to other trout streams consisting of tailwaters, spring creeks and
many freestone streams, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have few
Cinnamon Caddis. The reason is the generally low pH of the water. They are more
common in water that has a high pH. The reason is they exist in streams in large
numbers that have lots of algae. Algae don't grow very well in low pH streams. The
larvae of the net-spinners, they are called, make little nets and suspend them in the
current to catch their food. Abrams Creek has lots of these caddisflies. All of the
streams have some species of Ceratopsyche, but they don't exist in large quantities.
If you fish any of the tailwaters in Tennessee or North Carolina, or anywhere else in
the East for that matter, you have seen plenty of these caddis. If you are fishing
any trout stream in the East that has a slick bottom, there will be Cinnamon
Caddis species present and most likely, plenty of them.
In the next three or four articles, I will go over how you fish this hatch. You can catch
trout from it in all of the streams in the park from now until the middle of July. There
are several species that hatch in the park and chances are there will be some
around most of this time period. The big deal with them is that if you can catch
a hatch just starting, you can catch plenty of trout eating their pupae. Trout
key in on them because it is so easy for them to eat the pupae when they are
coming off. Again, most anglers miss this part of the hatch. One reason is they
simply can't see what is occurring. During the hatch, the trout eat the emerging
pupae. They do this as the pupae are accenting to the surface to change into an
adult caddisfly. All you may be able to see is a flash from a trout eating one near the
surface. Sometimes, during a large hatch, the trout will jump completely out of the
water chasing them to the surface. Most anglers don't fish the hatch until they start
seeing lots of the caddisflies, long after the majority of the hatch has occurred.
Then they usually tie on an Elk Hair caddisfly and usually get little, if any, results.
Unless the trout are keying in on the egg layers (if there are any depositing their
eggs) you would be waisting time.
You can also catch trout on imitations of the larvae. They are little worm like
creatures that hang out on their silk line dangling in the current when they are
eating. Fishing imitations of the larvae is best within the month or two leading up to
the time the hatch starts. That would have worked great during the past month and
it should work for the next month or so right now on Abrams Creek.