Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2 . Green Sedges (Caddis)
3. Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
4. Little Sister Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
5. LIght Cahills
6. Little Short-horned Sedges
7. American March Browns
8. Pale Evening Duns
9. Giant Black Stoneflies
10. Little Yellow Stoneflies
11. Streamers (Sculpin, Minnows)
12. Inch Worms
Visit Our Booth May 14 and 15 At Troutfest 2011
Weather, Fly Fishing & The Rest Of The Story
Yesterday, the intent of my article was to tell everyone that since the weather
recently turned good in many areas of the country for the first time, it was obvious
that much of the country suddenly went into a fishing mode. Our Perfect Fly orders
shot up like a rocket and I was on the phone all day Monday advising anglers which
flies to use and updating them on hatches and the water levels on their favorite
streams. Most of this activity was in the Northeast and Midwest where they are
getting their first real break in the weather this year.
After reading the article later on in the day (instead of before I published it) I
realized I almost made it sound as if I was complaining about too much business. My
poor communication skills were very obvious. I actually did complain about not
being able to fish as much as I wanted to. I'll bet you have already guessed what
happened the following day, or yesterday. The phones stopped ringing off the hook
and the amount of email dropped off considerably. It was almost like everyone in
the nation read my article on our Smoky Mountain website. It didn't appear on the
Perfect Fly website. Of course that really wasn't what happened. The slowdown was
purely coincidental but it did make me stop and think about the poor manner in
which I worded the article. The Perfect Fly website is doing exactly what I designed
it to do and exactly what I intended it to do - generate lots of business.
One of the things I do that I very much enjoy doing is to help anglers by providing
them information on what should be hatching on various streams and helping them
select the flies they need. Of course, if this pertains to the Smokies, I can do that off
the top of my head without any reference material, but in the case of the over
three-hundred other streams listed on our Perfect Fly website, I have to rely on
data such as weather trends, water levels, and hatch charts that we have
developed over the past few years. We have created a huge data base for most
every trout stream in the nation that I can easily access.
We have four computers and at least three of them run throughout the day. One
stays on 24 hours a day. Just by entering the name of a stream, I can access all of
the above information in less than a minute. This includes the hatch chart, stream
flow data for the various USGS stations on the stream, and the weather history for
the past several days along with the current forecast. All I need from the angler is
the time period he or she plans on fishing and any personal preferences they have.
I usually ask a few questions to get an idea of the amount of their experience and
knowledge about fly fishing, flies and insects so I talk with them on an
understandable level. I have one and only one objective. I want to help them catch
Sometimes they don't purchase anything. Sometimes they just give us a budget
and we go from there. Sometimes we send an email detailing the flies/hatches and
they place the order online. We have many anglers, probably a majority of them,
that have made multiple orders that we have never talked to or received an email
from. They know exactly what they want and just order it. Just to make certain they
know what the flies imitate, we have started labeling each type of fly. The only
thing we have found consistent about this is there isn't anything
consistent about it.
I certainly hope my yesterday's article wasn't misunderstood by anyone. We want
your calls and email and we want to offer our advice and assistance in anyway we
can. Every call or email is very much appreciated. It's appreciated whether or not
any purchases are made. Our Perfect Fly company is growing very fast and at the
present time we have 27 people tying flies for us that rely on us for their living.
Although it isn't an obligation, it is a responsibility we feel very good about.
The Light Cahill:
The Light Cahill was first the name of a fly, not the name of an insect. It was
actually just a light colored version of the original Cahill or Dark Cahill fly created by
Dan Cahill in the late 1800's. He worked for the railroad company that begin to
bring rainbow trout to stock the streams of the Catskill Mountains and as the story
goes, developed the fly to catch those trout. It wasn't developed to match any
Later on in time, Theodore Gordon, another famous fly fisherman, tied the fly in
both a dark and light version and that's where the Light in the name came from.
The fly is of the old Catskill fly design with vertical hackle and a thin, sparse body.
Later on at some point in time, the name of the fly also begin to be used as the
common name of a particular insect - the Stenacron interpunctatum.
In recent years the Stenacron genus, not to be confused with its sister genus, the
similar Stenonema genus, has been limited to (in terms of important species) this
one species. The mayfly is very similar to some of the old Stenonema species
(Such as the American March Brown or old Stenonema vicarium) that were recently
changed to Maccaffertium species.
The old Stenonema ithaca (now the Maccaffertium ithaca) is often called a Light
Cahill. It's also called a Gray Fox, adding even more confusion caused by common
names. There's actually no such thing as a Gray Fox because the species of mayfly
it was named after was dropped by the scientist. They discovered (dna test) it was
the same species as the American March Brown, just smaller, darker versions that
appears later on in the season.
Because of the confusion, you will hear anglers mention that Light Cahills are
hatching all the way from April until the middle of September in the Smokies. That's
mainly because of the lack of information, books and other written information on
aquatic insect hatches in the Southern states, but it's also due to a general local
lack of education on aquatic insects. In other words, some of the mayflies local
Smoky Mountain anglers and fly shops call Light Cahills are not what the name is
intended to represent. The results is the name Light Cahill is really meaningless.
Some of the other mayflies the Light Cahill name is confused with are the old
Stenonema (now Maccaffertium) mediopunctatum, carolina, and modestum
species. These all exist in the Smokies. These are usually and correctly (if there is
such a thing as a correct common name) called Cream Cahills but not by local
anglers and fly shops. They usually incorrectly call them Light Cahills. They hatch
at completely different times and are much lighter than the true Light Cahills.
The Light Cahills are also confused with the Heptagenia group of mayflies or the
Little Yellow Quills that hatch later on in the season. That's why you will hear local
anglers still taking about Light Cahills late in the Summer and early fall months of
the year. In other words, local anglers and fly shops may call every mayfly that's a
yellow or any light color a Light Cahill. The duns of some of these species look
similar but that's about the full extent of the similarity. The other stages of life vary
in appearance, they hatch at different times of the year and different time of the
day and even in some cases, different types of water within the streams of the
Now I'm certain all of the above scientific names are just as or even more confusing,
especially to those who are just getting started. I would make this simple if it were
not for those few guys who would respond with a lot of corrections in my over
simplification. Some want it simple and some want it as accurate as a snipper.
Scientific names are necessary in order to designate the insect being referred to.
What I and most of the fly fishing community nationwide refer to as a "Light Cahill" is
the Stenacron interpunctatum.
These mayflies hatch in the Smokies from the last week of April until the end of
June, depending mainly on location, the weather and elevation of the stream. This
hatch usually only last two to three weeks at any one location but the overall
duration from the streams at the lower elevations to the higher elevation, can last
up to eight weeks. These mayflies can be found in the tiny brook trout streams later
on in the year as well as the larger watersheds at the present time.
2011 James Marsh