Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2. Little Short Horned Sedges
3. American March Browns
4. Cinnamon Sedges (Caddisflies) (Abrams Creek)
5. Green Sedges (Caddisflies)
6. Little Sister Caddisflies (Abrams Creek)
7. Pale Evening Duns
8. Little Yellow Stoneflies -Yellow Sallies
9. Eastern Green Drakes (Abrams Creek)
10. Giant Stoneflies
11. Light Cahills
12. Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
LIttle Yellow Stonefly Nymphs:
From a fly fishing the Smokies standpoint, I doubt any group of insects is more
important than the Little Yellow Stoneflies. As shown yesterday, there are several
species of Little Yellow Stoneflies called Yellow Sallies. The hatches of these
species carry over for a long time. Of course, there are interruptions between the
hatches because different species hatch at different times. Yellow Sallies are
hatching much of the time from late Spring to Fall. I doubt you could find a stream or
a section of a stream in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that doesn't have at
least one species of these insects.
Just so those that are new to fly fishing, or that are just joining in know, all stoneflies
hatch out of the water usually on the bank and rocks that are above the water. They
migrate from their normal locations beneath the rocks on the streambed of the fast
water to the banks to hatch. This movement takes place throughout the day and
night but the stoneflies don't usually start crawling out of the water until late
afternoon or early evening. It mostly takes place during the night. Low light
conditions such as heavy cloud cover will start this process earlier in the day. I have
found them in the act of emerging out of the water when it was raining a few times.
The best way to catch numbers of trout during the Yellow Sally hatch is to fish an
imitation of the nymph starting late in the afternoon. The best way to do that is to rig
a single nymph with weight added a few inches above it and fish it right on the
bottom from the fast water runs and riffles all the way to the bank. You may catch
some trout by using an indicator but this keeps the fly off the bottom and isn't nearly
as effective as keeping it on the bottom. It also may possible spook the trout feeding
in the shallower, slower moving water near the bank. The trout see and know exactly
when the migration of these nymphs is taking place and they key in on them.
If you have a clear enough area along the bank, the best procedure is to fish from
the bank, casting to the fast water and bringing the fly back on the bottom back to
the bank. If you stand on the bank at the edge of the water, you will spook the trout
that would be looking for the nymphs. Stay well back away from the water and bring
the fly all the way to the bank. You can cast up and across and let the fly swing
around to the down and across position when it comes back to the bank.
Most of the time you will not be able to find clear bank conditions. Most of the
stream's banks are lined with bushes and trees and wading is the only option. In this
case you should stay well away from the banks wading midstream and swing your fly
around all the way to the bank. Cast up and across in the fast water and let the fly
swing to the bank, keeping it on the bottom the entire way if possible.
Another, more productive way to do this, is to cast down and across to the fast
water and allow the fly to swing all the way to the bank. It takes longer cast but it
puts the fly in front of the trout looking for the nymphs before they can see your line
You cannot use the "high stickin" method for this effectively because you would be
too close to the banks and spook the trout. The only exception would be where
there is deep water right at the bank but this isn't the most likely place the stonefly
nymphs would choose to crawl out of the water to hatch.
Fishing a nymph without an indicator bothers some anglers, mostly those
inexperienced at nymph fishing. It is really much easier than most anglers think it is.
You can both feel and see the takes if you concentrate and watch your fly line. It
does take practice and getting used to but it is also by far the most effective method
if done correctly. If you aren't willing to practice it some, then I suppose you would
be better off using an indicator and catching less trout.
If you are maintaining contact from the tip of your rod to the fly, you will feel the
take. It will feel different from those times the fly bumps something along the bottom
or hangs up temporarily. You have to experience this though. If you try it, you will
learn to easily tell the difference. If you watch your fly line and leader you will also
be able to see the takes. Normally, the fly line will jump or twitch. The jumps don't
occur when you hang something in the water. The line just stops. When a trout
takes the fly, the line usually stops but also moves after stopping a split second.
Again, it is difficult to tell someone how to do this. It just takes practicing it. The more
you fish without an indicator, the more your will be able to detect the strikes and the
more trout you will catch.
In many situations, the trout get a good look at the nymphs because the water along
the banks where the stoneflies normally hatch isn't fast water. It is usually moderate
to slow moving water. You may fool a few trout with a generic imitation, but the more
your fly looks like the real nymphs, the better your chances of catching trout. By the
way, Yellow Sally or Little Yellow Stonefly nymphs are not yellow. They have
yellow tints to them but they are mostly brown.