Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Little Eastern BWOs)
2. Mahogany Duns
3. Little Yellow Quills (Heptagenia Group)
4. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Little Summer Stones)
5. Needle Stoneflies
6. Slate Drakes
7. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
9. Ants (includes Flying Ants)
"New" Fly Fishing Strategy Series - What Fly To Use - Part 6
Remember: The key is to imitate the insects and or other food that's most
available and easiest for the trout to acquire.
If you haven't read the first parts of this series: What Fly To Use Part 1, What Fly To
Use Part 2 , What Fly To Use Part 3, What Fly To Use Part 4, and What Fly To Use
Part 5, please do so because it will make the following much more meaningful.
The only changes "hatch" wise that should occur from what we have previously
described is a different species of the Little Yellow Stoneflies should start hatching
again any day now. Our hatch chart shows them starting by the first of September but
as warm as the weather is, it will probably be a few more days.
Notice we show Little Yellow Stoneflies above but note they are "Little Summer
Stones". These are little yellow stoneflies but shorter and thicker stoneflies of the
Peltoperlidae family, not the Perlodidae family. These have been hatching for the last
couple of months but they are not plentiful. The Peltoperlidae family of stoneflies are
usually called "Roach Stoneflies" because they are shaped the same as a common
The Periodidae family species, which should start hatching any day now, includes
what's called a Yellow Sally, but true Yellow Sallies (Isoperla genus) hatched back in
the Spring and early Summer, not the Fall.
By the way, our Perfect Fly "Little Yellow Stonefly" imitates these stoneflies far better
than any fly you can purchase. We also sell the cheap, generic Yellow Neversink
Caddis pattern some anglers use (even though a stonefly isn't a caddisfly) as well as
the Yellow Stimulator fly some anglers use to imitate them. They will catch some trout
but you will find them far less effective than our much better Perfect Fly "Little Yellow
Stonefly". When it comes to the nymph, which is the most important stage to imitate,
our Perfect Fly "Little Yellow Stonefly nymph" is far superior to any generic stonefly
The only other change I have noticed is that the Mahogany Duns are hatching in
many of the streams. It is difficult to tell these from Little Blue-winged Olives when you
see them flying. They are small and the same size as some species that are called
BWOs, but they are a completely different color in the nymphal, dun and spinner
stages of life. You want to make certain you have imitations of them if you fish during
the next couple of weeks.
Other than the possibility of your encountering the Little Yellow Stoneflies hatching
and the increased chances of encountering a Mahogany Dun hatch, the strategy you
should use now, is exactly the same as what we have given for the last two weeks. I
won't repeat it but if you haven't, please go back and read what I recommend.
Report On Yesterday's Observations and Fishing:
As you can see from looking at the USGS stream flow data, all the streams in the park
are very low. Some are at near record lows. Although the daily air temperatures could
be warmer than they have been, cool nights have helped keep the water temperature
from being a huge problem. Low water is much more responsive to air temperature
changes than normal water levels, so changes are taking place fast.
I intended to start fishing near the parking lot just above Elkmont Campground but I
didn't because the water temperature (68 degrees) was too high. The trout would
have been nearing the point of being lethargic and difficult to catch. It would also
increase the chances of killing the fish. I didn't care to hike a few miles upstream to
cooler water, so I traveled back to #441 and crossed over the mountains to the
Oconaluftee River. It is always cooler than Little River simply because it doesn't have
a road that follows it closely for most of its length. It's covered with an almost solid
canopy of tree limbs in most places. The water temperature there was 63 degrees. A
road along a stream always has fewer trees, usually only about half as many as one
that isn't closely followed by a road.
I was fishing right at the warmest part of the day but managed to pick up 3 rainbows,
one of which was a solid 10 inches, and one brown that was about the same length.
All four took the #18 BWO nymph. These all came within about 45 minutes of actual
fishing time. I spotted some Little Blue-winged Olives that probably hatched earlier in
the day and a few Mahogany Duns, but I didn't see anything hatching while I was
fishing so I didn't change anything. If I had been fishing for fun, rather than testing
what I know was more effective, I probably would have tried a Mahogany Dun or BWO
Moving back up to Walkers Camp Prong as I crossed back over the mountain, I
stopped about 2 miles above Alum Cave Trailhead and caught a brook trout on about
my tenth cast. I spotted more tiny Little Blue-winged Olives but that was it. Mahogany
Duns (crawler nymphs) rarely hatch at that elevation. I didn't make another cast,
rather released the little brook and headed back home to help Angie get fly orders
filled. We had several large fly orders that came in Monday night and yesterday. One
that caught my attention was from a Texas customer and was obviously for the
Smokies. Most were for western destinations.
According to the National Weather Service, there's no chance of rain until Saturday. I
hope you get to fish over the holiday weekend. Tomorrow, I will give some tips on what
I think would be the best choices as to locations within the park to fish. There's no
reason you shouldn't be able to catch plenty of trout. If you follow the strategy I
outlined and fish the right locations you should catch about as many as you could any
Copyright 2011 James Marsh