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. Eastern Pale Evening Duns
9. Little Yellow Stoneflies -Yellow Sallies
10. Slate Drakes
11. Giant Stoneflies
12. Light Cahills
13. Little Green Stoneflies
14. Golden Stoneflies
21. Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
Just so there is no confusion about which mayfly this is, the Slate Drake mayfly is a
Isonychia bicolor, a member of the Siphlonuridae family of mayflies. There are other
species that are almost identical and as far as trout fishing is concerned, they are
identical. It's a very common mayfly that exist in just about every trout stream in the
East. These mayflies are also called “Dun Variant”, “Leadwing Coachmans” and
sometimes Slate Winged Mahogany Duns. The species name, bicolor, comes from
its legs that are bi-colored or two colors. The common name “leadwing” comes from
the lead color of the flies’ wings. This is a very plentiful mayfly in the Smokies.
This mayfly can hatch from late spring until fall, but is very sporadic throughout that
long period of time and this makes it difficult to pin the exact times down. They are
not bi-brooded or they do not hatch twice a year. It is just over an extended period
of time. When they do hatch, however, it can be prolific at certain times and places.
You may see a big hatch in one section of a stream and that may be it for that entire
stream or other similar streams.
Hatching usually occurs late in the afternoon and sometimes into the evenings but
will occur occasionally during the day if it is cloudy or rainy. These mayflies usually
crawl out of the water on the banks and on boulders and rocks to hatch. You will
find their shucks along the banks after a hatch. The duns don't get in the water
and that is why we don't have a Perfect Fly imitation of the dun. Some
companies sell one, but that is completely stupid.
if you find some shucks along a bank, fish the shallow, calm pockets along that bank
and behind the boulders and large rocks in the water. They will often crawl out on
the rocks to hatch. If you don't find the shucks, fish the deeper runs and riffles using
standard nymph fishing techniques. Nymphs of this species prefer rather highly
oxygenated water. They are found in medium to fast flowing, freestone streams. The
streams of Great Smoky Mountains National Park provide the perfect habitat for
them. Nymphs are quick and move fast when they migrate to the shallow water.
They act a lot like minnows. They are swimming mayfly nymphs.
Imitations of the nymph should be fished in pockets near the bank and behind rocks
and logs. You should allow the imitation to drift naturally or dead drift. You can add
a short erratic stripping motion to the fly. In this case I would not add any weight or if
so, very little. The “down and across” presentation works in the shallow water. In this
case you should use the stripping action to imitate the motions made by the nymph.
During the other times when no hatch is occurring, you should weight the nymph
down to keep in on or near the bottom. The amount of weight depends on the water
depth and swiftness. In this case I would suggest up or up and across
presentations. You can also present the fly on the swing keeping the rod high in the
air and staying in contact with the fly. This is best done in the runs and current
seams along the pockets behind boulders. These nymphs can often be found in
very shallow water, so don't be afraid to fish the shallow water areas adjacent to the
New "Perfect Fly" Stream section on Pennsylvania's Elk Creek:
Please check out the new four page section on Elk Creek in our Perfect Fly
website. This is a great little stream to fish for wild, stream-bred brown trout. It is a
tributary of the famous Penns Creek.
This is our "Perfect Fly" Slate Drake Nymph. It
has a lot of action in the water and imitates the
large Slate Drake swimming mayfly nymphs very
well. They come in hook sizes 10 and 12.
Notice the bi-colored legs below in
the real Slate Drake nymph. Also,
all the gills which is why we use the
fuzzy looking abdomen material on
the fly and the specks on the legs.
When the fly moves, the legs fold
back towards the body of the fly
more like the real legs.