Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
2. Little Winter Stoneflies (Capniidae/Taeniopterygidae)
3. Blue-winged Ollives (Baetis brunnicolor) and Little BWOs
4. Blue Quills
5. Quill Gordons
6. Little Black Caddis (Brachycentrus)
Most available/ Near hatching and/or other types of available food:
7. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fly Fishing Strategies - What Fly To Use - Part 30 - Continued
First a Correction:
While answering an email pertaining to yesterdays article, I noticed I had goofed and listed the Little Black
Caddis that's going to hatch soon as Glossosoma species. That's what "cut and paste" gets you when your not
paying close attention. It also illustrates how you can get into trouble using common names because some
anglers call the Glossosoma species "Little Black Caddis". Most anglers, including us call them "Short-horned
Sedges". Anyway, I cut and paste Little Black Caddis at the speed of light and had to correct it later on after
realizing I had listed the wrong insect. The Little Black Caddis that will be hatching are Brachycentrus species,
often call Grannoms, which are the little chimney cased caddis. Some of you may have caught it before I made
the correction. Sorry about that.
Now ,do as I say or go home with an empty creel (kidding):
The weather is also changing at the speed of light. Gatlinburg should reach a high near 60
degrees today. It's much warmer than that where I am and no, I'm not telling. Getting back to the
subject, as usual, when that happens during the Winter, you can count on water falling from the
sky but not until tonight. Also as usual, I'm skeptical of the amount of rainfall in the forecast which
is about a half inch. As mentioned just about every week, I'm skeptical because the amounts are
often much higher in the higher elevations of the park; however, who am I to try to outguess the
National Weather Service? I'll take the forecast amount because a half inch will be just fine. The
streams are actual on the low side of normal for a change. .
The rain should end on Thursday morning for a short time and the day should turn out to be
almost as warm as today will be. Friday and Saturday are projected to be just a tad bit cooler with
a high of 55. Rain should return by Saturday afternoon and continue through Sunday but it
should be rather light. There may be some snow in the park Sunday night but those of you that
have to work Monday could probably care less. It's not going to be a Winter storm by any stretch
because the high temperatures will remain in the mid fifties on Monday and Tuesday. The only
snow will be on top of old Smoky and it probably won't even be enough for a good bowl of acid
enhanced, snow ice cream.
The bottom line is the weather and stream conditions looks great for the next few days.
My guess is you will see some of the insects listed above appear in the lower elevations within
coming next few days. If the weather guys are accurate, the water temperature should bounce
back and forth around the magic 50 degree mark but averaging on the low side of it. From a KISS
standpoint, that means you should keep a fly "in" the water as opposed to "on" the water until you
see some bugs appear on the surface and fly away. That should happen but it will depend largely
on exactly "where" your fishing.
On the Tennessee side of the park, streams like the West Prong of Little Pigeon River (the one
that flows through Gatlinburg) and it's Middle Prong (the one the visitors often miss) are usually a
little colder than some of the other streams. That's because they drain from higher elevations
than some of the other streams. On the North Carolina side of the park, the Oconaluftee River is
usually a tad colder than some of the other streams due to the same reason. This isn't to say
they shouldn't be fished. I'm just pointing out the fact that the hatch times vary with the streams
some depending on the elevations the particular watershed drains.
If your fishing an area of a stream that's reaching a temperature of 50 degrees or better during
the afternoons, you can count on the water having high odds of having plenty of Blue Quill, BWO,
and Quill Gordon mayfly nymphs; some Little Winter Stoneflies nymphs (late afternoons); and
some to a bunch of Little Black Caddis pupae. Of course, they are always there at this time but
I'm referring to what's available for the trout to eat, rather than what's hiding under a rock.
If you know for a fact any of these bugs hatched within the previous day or two of the time you
are fishing, fish the nymph/larvae that imitates that particular species during the morning and
continue until you see something hatching. If you know that more than one of them hatched,
choose an imitation of the nymph or larva in this priority - Blue Quill, Quill Gordon, Little Black
Caddis, BWO and fish it up until you see something hatching. I'm basing that on the quantities of
the insects available to the trout to eat that most likely exist due to the previous day's activity.
If you find Quill Gordons hatching, fish an imitation of the emerging dun, or the dun, in priority to
any of the other mayflies. Next in line would be the Blue Quills. If they are hatching (and the QGs
aren't) go with an emerger or dun pattern. Next in priority of mayflies, if hatching, would be BWOs.
If you find the Little Black Caddis hatching, fish an imitation of the pupa first and later the adult.
Fish these in priority to everything but the Quill Gordons. If the QG hatch isn't substantial, I would
still fish the Little Black Caddis hatch.
At least I know what I'm trying to write. I hope I'm doing a good enough job of trying to explain the
strategy I would use. I'm a fisherman, appropriately (at least in some respects) named "James",
not a professional writer.
Late in the day, depending on which of the multiple hatches listed above you may happen to
have found, fish the spinner fall and/or egg laying activity as appropriate. Later in the day, if none
of the above insects have hatched, fish an imitation of the Little Winter Stonefly nymphs. They will
begin to crawl out of the water to hatch late in the afternoon and if it's cloudy, a little earlier in the
If your a little confused, enter my K.I.S.S. A Bug School resuming tomorrow.
I can't help it if the weather and stream conditions are getting in shape for multiple hatches to
occur. I mean, what more could you ask for?
Copyright 2012 James Marsh