10/18/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
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)

Big Mistake I make on the Great Autumn Brown Sedge (Caddisfly)
Yesterday, it hit me that I didn't have anything written, or what I call "in the can", for
the daily article. In a rush to get something out, i discovered I had missed doing
anything on the Great Autumn Brown Sedges that starts to hatch in October. In a
rush to see what I showed on my hatch chart, I pulled the wrong one up on the PC.
It was for a New England Stream, and not the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
and I didn't notice it. I should have known better anyway it I had stopped to think a
minute. I stated the hatch would end by the end of October and only go on into
November if the weather stayed fairly warm. Fact are, these big caddisflies hatch off
and on through the month of December most years. It all depends on when the
cold, below freezing weather occurs. I have seen  plenty of them on Lower Little
River in mid December. Since I am on the subject of hatches, I may as well continue.

Changes Coming up in Smoky Mountain Stream Hatches:
There are a few changes that will take place in the near future and maybe even this
week in the Smokies. The weather has finally changed into a Fall mode and I doubt
there will be any temperatures in the mid-eighties in the near future and maybe not
until next Spring.

The big change is the larger Blue-winged Olives will begin to hatch and maybe even
very soon. These larger BWOs are
Baetis species and are a hook size 18. Some
are the second hatch of the bi-brooded species of
Baetis and some are not, just
new for the year odd species. Most of the Little Blue-winged Olives that have
hatched the last two months off and on are Little BWOs. Some are not even
swimming nymphs. These ranged in size from a 22 to an occasional species in a 18
size but most of them are the smaller ones. These little ones will continue to hatch
for the rest of the year, off and on, depending on the species. These are species of
Acentrella,.Diphetor and other genera. About the only time you will notice them is
when the males congregate to do their dance. They will fly up and down about a
foot or two and when you get them between you and the sun, you will see them.
This happens in the afternoon. You cannot see these little Jenny spinners when
they fall on the water at all. It's impossible. You can only find them by skimming the
surface. The light is low and their clear wings (some even have partially clear
bodies) just disappear. You can catch trout on imitations of them, but few anglers
know when and how to do this and few even have imitations of them that will work.

In good light, you can see the larger 18 size
Baetis species, but the problem is they
hatch very little, if at all, during bright sky conditions. These mayflies usually hatch
when it is cloudy and overcast or even raining or snowing lightly. The only time they
hatch on a clear day is when they can no longer keep from hatching. Then they
hatch over a long period of time instead of the normal couple of hours. Right now
they would hatch late in the day, around 4:00 or 5:00 PM. Later on in colder
weather they will hatch much earlier in the day. On some cold December days they
may come off just past noon.

The problem with all of this is few anglers know how to fish this hatch. I may have
never learned how if I had of only fished the Smokies. I have fished these little
mayflies throughout the year from coast to coast. I have fished them mostly on
smoother, much more difficult to fish streams than the Smokies, including many
Spring Creeks. This helps a bunch. The hatches are larger and its easy to see what
you are doing, but it's also much more difficult to do it. You can be off a hook size,
or not get a perfect drift, or anyone of a dozen other things. If you do, you won't
catch jack. I have watched anglers fishing this hatch on the Madison River in
Yellowstone National Park in September and October, fish all day and not catch one
trout, when at the same time others fishing the same water catch twenty and some
up to 18 inches on these little mayflies. It's much easier to catch trout in the
Smokies on the same hatch but it's more difficult to know when they are hatching.

Here are some key things. I don't want to over complicate it. Most of us hate that but
it is a difficult thing to describe from a to z and for one to know what to do and how
to do it. First of all, it isn't necessary for these mayflies to even be hatching. If it's
the right time of year, like right now and for the next two months, you can catch trout
on imitations of their nymphs. The reason is simple. They will move from their
normal hiding places in cover, meaning mostly in crevices under and down between
rocks in Smokies, into the slower to moderate flowing parts of the stream like the tail
ends of runs and riffles and the tail ends of pools, in the case of two species of
them. They hatch in water that when they swim to the surface want take them ten
yards downstream. It is usually slicker, smoother surface water like you find in the
pockets along a bank, or behind large boulders and rocks. They will even hatch in
slow eddies. They have a difficult time getting through the surface skim. They tend
to drift a few seconds before being able to dry their wings enough to fly away. That
is one reason why the emerger fly patterns work so good with these mayflies. They
are difficult to fish because they are difficult to see but they will catch more on the
average than dun imitations. Once you learn to not try to see the fly and to watch
the end of your fly line and leader for odd movements or just stops, you can hook
plenty of them. Often they will hook themselves but you have to be quick to set the
hook when you feel them. Its easy to miss the surface disturbance or line movement.

Getting back to fishing imitations of their nymphs, let me just say that if it's the right
time of year, such as the next two months, don't wait to see them on the surface.
You may not even be able to do that when they are hatching. Don't wait for the day
to be cloudy and overcast. Fish the nymph anytime of the day. If something else
isn't hatching, or it isn't near dark for other shots at hatches like the Little Needle
stoneflies or Great Autumn Brown Sedges, don't fish a dry fly. Keep fishing the
nymph. Now here is another big problem some anglers have. They don't know the
difference in a BWO nymph and the others. There is much, much more difference in
the nymphs of BWOs compared to nymphs of crawler and clinger mayflies than they
are in the difference in any of the mayfly duns. The duns are much more similar.
The Blue-winged Olive nymphs are slim, skinny and don't crawl on the bottom. They
swim. They look like tiny minnows except most minnow are much fatter or heavier.
I'll put it this way. If you use a hairs ear nymph or most any generic nymph, you are
waisting your time imitating them. They look as much like a BWO nymph as a white
tail deer looks like a wild hog. You may catch a trout on one, but your odds of
success compared to imitating the BWO nymph right are very low. There aren't any
crawler mayfly nymphs swimming in the water since number one, they can't swim,
and number two, there are not any crawling around on the bottom this time of year
over a hook size 28. They are all tiny babies. They are also well hidden.

Please don't tell me about the nocturnal drift you read about in some books. If it
exist at all in the Smokies, it's as rare as the cougar. The writers who have written
such garbage, most likely copied it from something a previous trout bum writer on
crack cocaine wrote. We have put drift and skim nets in the water and strained
enough water to float the Titanic ship, on dozens of occasions and haven't caught
enough mayfly nymphs to feed one tiny minnow. On top of that, it supposedly
occurs at night. I guess the drugged up writer that dreamed it up figured no one
could tell if it really occurred or not in the dark. Anyway, you can't fish the Smokies
at night, at least legally.

Swimming BWOs nymphs also act like tiny minnows. They quickly dart away. You
cannot pick up a rock from the stream and see one. They should be fished to
imitate their natural behavior and movements - not drift dead in the water. If you are
lazy or just learning to fish, you may want to use an indicator. They work okay, just
not near as well as without one provided only you can fish one on a free line.  I will
get into this even more tomorrow. If you fish good imitations of the BWOs and do it
right, you can catch a lot of trout even when they are not hatching the next two
months - that is if and only if you take your mind off the big browns that will be
moving around. That's up to you. I know I will have a rough time doing it. If you do
that (I will be doing it part of the time) you have to focus totally on that. You want
need to worry about BWOs. It's a great time to be fishing the Smokies.

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