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)
"K.I.S.S. A Bug" Series - Hendrickson and Red Quill - Part 3
Fishing Imitations of the Nymphs
First of all, remember:
The male and female duns have completely different color bodies. The male and female spinners
also have completely different color bodies. We will show you pictures of them later on. For now
remember, the Hendrickson is the female and the Red Quill is the male Ephemerella
The Hendrickson and Red Quill nymphs are crawler nymphs that do their best to stay hidden from
the trout but are susceptible to being eaten most anytime. Like most mayfly nymphs, they are
much more prone to becoming trout food just prior to a hatch than at any other time.
These nymphs hatch in the surface skim in smooth to moderately flowing water. Even so, in the
streams of Great Smoky Mountains, it usually doesn't take very long for them to get caught by the
faster currents and carried downstream.
Where you find them:
Before, I mentioned that they exist in good quantities in the Smokies, but only in isolated areas of
the streams. That's because most of the water in the park is pocket water that doesn't have many
areas of smoother, moderate flows. You will want to look for the shallower parts of pools, large
pockets, the very ends of long runs and riffles where the water smooths out to moderate flows.
They don't reside in the faster water of the plunges, riffles and runs.
Another limiting factor in the streams of the Smokies is the fact the nymphs prefer softer bottoms
consisting of sand, soil and/or bottoms made up of small gravel or cobble. Of course, If you have
prior knowledge of where the Hendricksons and Red Quills live, it certainly helps. We have found
them in all the major streams in the park. Often, they are in smaller areas of the stream but
there's a few places we have found large quantities of them in larger size areas of the streams
where we have caught a lot trout feeding on the emerging nymphs and duns. The same areas
have produced even more trout during the spinner fall. I'll mention just a few to give you an idea
of the type of water they live in.
Just upstream from the first bridge just over a half mile from the lake on Hazel Creek there are
some long moderately flowing pools that have good populations. Just upstream of the bridge near
the Little River Trailhead above Elkmont, you'll find a large pool with plenty of them. There's a lot
of them in the Cataloochee River and Palmer Creek. Two areas in Cataloochee Valley are shown
on your right. There's good numbers of them in Abrams Creek, especially the upper section
shown on your right. Maybe the pictures will give you an idea of where they live.
When and How to Imitate the Nymph:
These mayflies hatch from the mid to late afternoon depending on the weather. Sometimes the
duns are not completely finished coming off before the spinner fall starts. If you find the duns or
spinners in the late afternoon, you will know that same area of the stream will most likely have
some nymphs ready to hatch the following day and you can usually do well using an imitation of
the nymph the following day up until the hatch starts.
In the mornings prior to the hatch, imitations should be presented right on the bottom in the slow
sides of the current seams bordering faster moving water, and along the edges of pockets. Unlike
what I normally recommend for nymph fishing in the streams of the park, I suggest you first try
drifting the nymphs along the bottom of the shallower parts of the pools.
By shallower, I mean water less than three to four feet, avoiding the very deep parts of the pools.
The sections of moderate water at the ends of the long runs and riffles often produces. An up
and across presentation works most of the time but in some cases where your likely to spook
trout in the shallower, slower flowing sections of water, you may need to use a longer, down and
This is one of the few times I think a strike indicator works okay nymph fishing in the park. The
type of water the Hendrickson and Red Quill inhibit, is often suitable for an indicator. By that I
mean water than has a fairly level bottom versus an erratic bottom. With variable stream depths,
an indicator causes the fly to either drag the bottom or be too far above the bottom.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
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