Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
2. Little Winter Stoneflies
3. Blue-winged Ollives (Baetis brunnicolor) and Little BWOs
4. Blue Quills
5. Quill Gordons
6. Little Black Caddis (Brachycentrus)
7. Little Brown Stoneflies
Most available/ Near hatching and/or other types of available food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fly Fishing Strategies - What Fly To Use - Part 33
Well friends, AccuWeather hit the nail on the head with their long range forecast for last week. In
the last strategy article, I mentioned that the rain headed our way this past Friday night may raise
the stream levels too high to wade and that's exactly what happened. They also correctly
predicted the drastic change in temperatures that took place Friday night. I hope that may have
saved some out of town anglers planning on fishing during the weekend from having an
unproductive trip. I don't want to brag on the weather guys too much because neither
AccuWeather nor the National Weather Service got the snow prediction for yesterday right. The
high elevations got a very small dusting of the white stuff but the main event stayed farther north
than they expected.
This coming week appears to be similar to last week except that, although some rain is
expected, there isn't any severe weather in the forecast. I almost feel guilty just thinking
about the upcoming good weather and the opportunities us more fortunate people have to go
fishing. Anyone of us could be digging our personal family photos out of a pile of twisted lumber. I
hope everyone keeps those less fortunate people suffering from loses due to the recent horrible
weather in their prayers.
We should have beautiful, springlike weather for the next several days. One big welcome
change is the wind is finally going to die down. The tall trees around our house are totally
exhausted from fighting the wind for the last few days. I'm surprised some of them are still
standing. The squirrels all have blisters on their feet from holding on. Right now it feels like it's
wintertime and by the way, according to the calendar, it actually is Winter. Right now it feels like it.
It's 30 degrees outside and our two heat pumps are turned off. By tomorrow, things will be back to
normal, or I mean back to abnormal. You have to keep in mind that normal this year is abnormal.
Today is going to be sunny with a high near 60 and tomorrow, even warmer. There's a slight
chance of rain on Thursday with a predicted high of 68 degrees. The chance of rain will increase
to 50% for Friday.
Although that means there's a 50% chance it won't rain Friday, I'm betting it will. The good news
is the AccuWeather prediction for total precipitation is .8 inches - Point 8, not 8 inches.
That will raise the levels, dingy the water and increase the speed of the flow just enough to give
those "shut their eyes and pick a fly" anglers the same odds as a blind squirrel looking for an
Unless they change their minds, the weather guys are saying the chances of rain will decrease to
the 20 and 30 percent range for Saturday and Sunday. The high temperatures for the weekend
days should remain in the sixties. I call that the perfect weekend forecast for fly fishing the
Great Smoky Mountains for the next seven days. What more could we ask for? Well, I guess
we could ask for the forecast to turn out to be correct.
The strategy report will have little changes in it from last week. We should have some great
weather conditions the next few days, especially considering it's still the first of the month of
I hope I'm getting ahead in the KISS Bug series. I've already started the Hendrickson and Red
Quill articles but since they exist more in the lower elevation of the park than anywhere, I wouldn't
doubt them starting to hatch within the next few days. Normally, the earliest they start is the last
week of March. Even so, I'm not going to put them in the above list just yet. I hope that doesn't
turn out to be a mistake.
Following the Hendrickson hatch, the American March Browns will begin to emerge. Our hatch
chart shows them starting the second week of April and usuall, that's the very earliest you will see
them in the areas of the streams where trout exist in the Smokies. They are next on the KISS list
of articles following the Hendricksons and Red Quills. They usually start hatching before the
Hendrickson hatch has ended.
Basically, you should start out in the mornings fishing a nymph and change to an emerger/pupa
or a dun/adult dry fly pattern if and when you see something hatching. Hatches should start
taking place around 1:00 to 2:00 PM. Insects you see before then probably hatched the day
before. If you don't find anything hatching by 2:00 to 2:30, you should quickly change locations. If
your fishing the upper lower or middle elevations of the park, that's highly unlikely. Most likely the
problem will be choosing which of the insects hatching to imitate.
Later in the day, when the hatches subside, switch back to the morning pattern I suggest below.
From about 4:30 PM to near 7:00 PM, watch closely for mayfly egg laying and spinner falls. If
Little Black Caddis hatch earlier in the day, watch for the egg laying activity and fish an adult
imitation of them. If you find any Little Brown stoneflies emerging (crawling out of the water to
hatch late in the day), by all means switch to the nymph imitation of them. The same thing goes
for egg laying stoneflies. If you see them in action, switch to an adult imitation of them.
The only problem in the above strategy is it doesn't take into consideration which of the insects to
imitate prior to your seeing something hatching and even then, if you find more than one insect
hatching (likely the case), it doesn't give an order of priority. I suggest just about the same
strategy provided last week with some modifications.
Mornings until early afternoon:
From the mid elevations and up, there's high odds of having plenty of Blue Quills, BWOs, and
Quill Gordon mayfly nymphs; and some Little Brown Stoneflies. There should also be plenty of
Little Black Caddis pupae in many areas of the larger streams. Of course, all of the above insects
are always there at this time of the season. 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, at the particular
time you are fishing, fish the nymph or larva fly that imitates that particular species during the
morning and continue to do so 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. The hatch is easier to fish than the Blue Quills or BWOs.
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.
Exception: 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.
Late In The Day:
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.
If none of the above insects have hatched, laying eggs or falling on the water, fish an imitation of
the Little Brown Stonefly nymphs (size 14). 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 afternoon.
If conditions change, I may update this later on this week.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh