09/02/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives (See Below)
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies - Summer Stones
4.    Slate Drakes
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Little Yellow Quills
7.    Ants
8.    Inchworms
9.    Beetles
10.  Grasshoppers
11.  Hellgrammite
12.  Craneflies
13.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)


Back To The Basics - Hatch Charts - Part 2
I am going to use today and this coming weekend as an example time frame for
determining which insects would be the ones on the menu for trout. When that is
complete, I am also going to tell you the priority in which the trout may choose items
from the menu for their breakfast, lunch and dinner.

There's a reason for doing this. Changing weather conditions represent the biggest
challenge there is to trying to decide which insects are most likely to be keyed in on
by the trout. The weather forecast shows a big change in weather patterns taking
place this weekend and that provides a good opportunity for me to use it as an
illustration of what to do. Changes in weather provide the biggest challenge in
determining what strategies to use. Today and tomorrow I will tell you how you
should go about deciding where and how to fish. This will also include which flies to
use.

Changes in weather can change the hatches but keep in mind, that if it happens to
get cold tomorrow after being unusually warm for several days, that doesn't mean
that all of a sudden insects that should be hatching at this time of the year will
immediately start hatching. It does mean that it could start the process for those
hatches that should be occurring that haven't yet occurred because of the
unusually warm weather that we have been experiencing. Changes will take place
before this holiday weekend is over but the actual emergence won't begin the first
day it turns cool. In this case it is supposed to turn cool this coming Saturday. The
bugs won't immediately start flying off the water but it will move the nymphs that
should be hatching into those areas of the streams where they should hatch from if
they are not already there. The actual emergence could start as early as Sunday or
Monday.

A short list of these insects that should be hatching is shown at the top of this page,
but let's look at the
Summer Hatch Chart for the streams in Great Smoky Mountains
National Park to get more details about what should be going on. Notice there are
two listings for Blue-winged Olives. That's because anglers call a lot of different
mayflies BWOs. We should be right in the middle of some of the Little BWO species
hatching. These are mostly hook sizes 18 and some 20s and are swimming nymphs.
The hatch chart doesn't tell you that exactly but other information about the insects
would and that is why knowing your insects is important. The other BWOs that are
scheduled to be just starting to hatch are
Drunella species. These are one of the
species of Eastern BWOs that are, in this case, a hook size 18. The only reason I
separated them is because they are not swimming nymphs. They are crawlers and
just happen to be the same color as BWO, so many angles call them Eastern
BWOs. From a fly standpoint, it doesn't make any difference. Since they are shown
as just now starting to hatch, it's obvious that they are less important than the Little
BWO species that are in the middle of their predicted hatch times. This all means
that BWOs should be on the trout's menu for today as well as this weekend.

The next insect shown on the hatch chart are the Little Yellow Stoneflies or Yellow
Sallies. They should just be starting to hatch but notice down below I show Little
Summer Stoneflies as being in the middle of their hatch times. This will be changed
because it causes some confusion. From a fishing standpoint, these Summer
stoneflies may as well be considered a Yellow Sally. They hatch the same way and
look almost identical. The bottom line to this is Yellow Sallies are on the trout's
menu for today and this weekend.

The next insect on the chart is the Slate Drake. Again, here is where knowing your
insects becomes important. Notice they hatch from Spring into Fall. These have
their highs and lows in terms of numbers of flies in the hatch but all in all, you
should not expect to see them every day. It would be a good idea to have some
imitations of the nymphs and spinners in case you did notice some duns (that hatch
out of the water). In other words, these insects are not the most likely ones to be
hatching today or this weekend but could hatch in small quantities.

The next insects shown are the Little Yellow Quills. These little mayflies should be
right smack in the middle of their hatch period. They should be on the trout's menu
for certain.

The next insects are the Needle Stoneflies. They are also shown to be in the middle
of their hatch period. They are a definite trout menu item.

Midges are shown next and also shown the entire year. This is because they hatch
often throughout the year. If you know your insects, you would know that they would
be far more important if there were fewer insects hatching. For example, if it was mid
Winter and only a very few insects could possible hatch. If conditions turn horrible
cold during the next few days, we may want to consider them but that isn't the case
according to the forecast. It's always a good idea to have a selection of midge flies
but they shouldn't be on the main menu. I would call them something the trout may
have to place a side order for if conditions turned lousy for other hatches to occur.

Next in terms of aquatic insects on the chart are the Mahogany Duns. Notice they
are nearing the end of their hatch period. Even so, the cooling weather trend of the
coming weekend could bring about a good hatch of them, especially on the lower
elevation streams where crawler nymphs are most likely to exist and hatch. They
should be on the trout's menu.

Not on the hatch chart but should be are Dobsonflies. I just today caught that error
and will correct it. They are aquatic insects and trout do eat their larvae or
hellgrammites. They should be on the menu.

Next are the terrestrial insects, such as ants, beetles, grasshoppers and moth
larvae (Inch Worms). I'll put craneflies in the terrestrial category but there are both
terrestrial cranefly species and aquatic cranefly species. The nymphs and adults
look and behave similarly. Craneflies will be present and on the water and should
be on the menu.

Terrestrial insects shouldn't be in the water at all but it's a fact they often
accidentally end up there and when they do the trout will eat them. They should be
on the trout's menu and especially if the predicted chance of thunderstorms show
up for today and tomorrow. Heavy rains and high winds put most of these bugs in
the water. It increases the odds the trout will have more than a very small number to
eat. They should be on the trout's menu.

Notice crustaceans and baitfish don't hatch and are not on the hatch chart but they
are listed on the list at the top of the page to remind you that you should always
have a selection of streamers along to imitate them. If the thunderstorms I just
mentioned occur and the water gets dingy, you will be glad you did have some
streamers.

There we have it. That completes our trout's menu for today through this coming
holiday weekend. If you have flies that imitate these insects for the various stages of
their life, you would be in
great shape fly wise but keep in mind that they are
only tools
you can use in applying the best strategies.

Trout's Menu: Sept. 2 through Sept. 6:
Blue-winged Olives
Little Yellow Stoneflies
Slate Drakes
Little Yellow Quills
Needle Stoneflies
Midges
Mahogany Duns
Craneflies
Hellgrammites (Dobsonfly Larvae)
Terrestrial Insects
Baitfish

Tomorrow, I will get into the even more important part - the strategies to
use to determine just what the trout will most likely order from the above menu for
breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don't miss it or the above list would be of far less
importance.
Copyright 2010 James Marsh