Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives and Little BWOs
2. Green Sedges (Caddisflies)
3. Cinnamon Caddis (Mostly Abrams Creek)
4. Little Short Horned Sedges
5. Eastern Green Drakes (Abrams Creek)
6. Hendricksons & Red Quills
7. American March Browns
8. Giant Stoneflies
9. Light Cahills
10. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Yellow Sally)
11. Eastern Pale Evening Duns
Most available/ Other types of available food:
13. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fly Fishing Strategies - What Fly To Use - Part 41
I finally got an opportunity to fish in the park some Sunday afternoon and yesterday. Both
times were much shorter than I would have preferred because conditions were very good. The
water was a little higher than I prefer it. It was actually getting a little on the warm side
yesterday afternoon. I would hate to find myself complaining about hot weather in the middle of
Spring. Last Tuesday's strategy article began with pictures of the mountains covered with
snow. Yesterday's article was about the strange weather.
I was surprised at the low number of anglers I spotted. Well, actually I didn't spot the first
angler Yesterday. Sunday, I spotted one vehicle in the park that appeared to belong to an
angler and only a three or so on Sunday afternoon. Maybe everyone was in the backcountry. I
know for sure some guys were. It probably was busy on Saturday.
I may have actually fished a grand total of three hours combined both days. I did manage to
catch all three species of trout in the park (not the same day) including a couple of brook trout
from Walker's Camp Prong and one brown from Little River. I caught several rainbows
although all but one was small. I did have the advantage of fishing during the prime afternoon
time. Rather than doing what I would recommend anyone do, I didn't get away from the obvious
spots along the roads. In fact, that's exactly where I fished and even avoided wading in some
cases. Normally that doesn't work well, not so much due to competition from other anglers, but
from non-anglers spooking the trout by stopping along the pulloff areas to look at the streams.
If I had been fishing for bass using the strategy I used it would be what I use to call my "hit and
run" strategy. The only difference is I was using our old jeep instead of a bass boat.
As it has been for the past few weeks, what's hatching will depend on the elevation even more
than it normally does. That's because some of the hatches have been "strung out". That's a
crude way of describing it but I think it gets the point across. I saw very few aquatic insects that
had or were hatching at the time. I was fishing during the time the majority of them should
hatch but the few I spotted were different species of mayflies, caddis and stoneflies at each
location I "hit and ran" from. By the way, I should mention that I really used that method of
fishing (which I do not recommend to anyone fly fishing for trout) to avoid having to waste
much of the short amount of time I had to fish wading. I spotted more small (probably hook size
20) Blue-winged Olives than anything. The only stoneflies I spotted along the banks were two
Little Yellows that hatched during prior days. That's enough to tell me they are hatching late in
the afternoon and evenings.
As you should almost always do, start out in the mornings fishing a nymph or larva imitation
and change to an emerger/pupa, or a dun/adult dry fly pattern, if and when you spot
something hatching. Most hatches should start taking place around 1:00 to 4:00 PM and
again, the hatches will depend greatly on the elevation of the stream your fishing.
Later in the day, when the hatches subside, switch back to the morning pattern. Again, even
though the trout will continue to fall for a few dry flies, I'm advising what to do based on your
highest odds of success, not necessarily your highest odds of fun.
From about 5:00 PM to as late as you can legally fish, watch closely for stonefly egg laying
activity and both mayfly egg laying and spinner falls. Fishing the spinner falls can result in the
fastest action and the most fish caught in a short time span but you will have to keep checking
for them well above the streams late in the day. Otherwise, you probably won't even be aware
By fishing a nymph or dry fly, I don't mean just any nymph or any dry fly. I am referring to
nymphs and dry flies that specifically match the insects that I list below. This will increase your
odds of success over the "match anything" generic and attractor type of flies that usually only
produce mediocre success.
There's still some fairly good odds of having some size 18 Blue-winged Olive hatches in the
higher elevations. There may also be some Little BWOs, size 20, hatching. Neither of these
sizes of BWOs usually hatch in large numbers.
I think the Hendrickson/Red Quills are finished but I'm leaving them listed a few more days.
Remember that they are more of a pool and slack water insect. Little Short-horned Sedges are
still hatching. That's the most of what I spotted the last couple of days but they too were
March Browns should still be showing up and will continue to do so for some time, but
remember that they hatch a few here and there and throughout much of the day over a long
period of time. I didn't spot any but I know they will continue to hatch They are not usually
concentrated at any one point in time or place. If they are hatching, you can expect spinner
falls to occur near dark. That's because the spinner falls are concentrated into a short time of
usually less than an hour. A March Brown Dun imitation should still provide good odds in the
afternoon. The March Brown Spinner imitation would provide great odds very late in the day.
Also keep in mind, they probably won't be the only spinners that fall. Any other mayflies that
hatched in the same area will also fall.
Little Yellow Stonefly hatches are taking place. If you happen to be at the right place at the
right time of day (late afternoons) you will likely see some this coming week. Remember, they
both start to hatch (crawl out of the water) very late in the day and deposit their eggs late in
the day. Fish the nymph imitation starting around 4 PM and switch to an adult only when you
see egg laying activity which is usually late in the day. That's what I would have done if I had
continued to fish late in the day.
I have added some other insects on the list above that may start hatching any day. The Green
Sedges (caddisflies); Giant Stoneflies and Light Cahills could start hatching especially in the
lower elevations. The Giant Stoneflies are probably already hatching. They are hard to find
during the day. They hatch very late in the afternoons and during the evening and deposit
their eggs very late in the afternoons and during the evenings. Those guys backpacking and
camping near the streams will probably see some around their lights. I did see a few Light
Cahills several days ago but none the last two days. That doesn't mean they are not hatching.
I am certain they already have started to hatch. In fact, I used our Light Cahill dun to catch all
the trout I caught.
It's also possible you will see some Eastern Pale Evening Duns and Sulphurs (both called
Sulphurs locally) show up. The first will be the EPEDs and then usually a couple of weeks later,
the true Sulphurs will appear. Here again, these are insects that can hatch in good quantities
but only in very isolated sections of the mid to large size streams. If and when you encounter
them (and you probably won't but could) you should have a few imitations of them.
Which nymph/larva imitation to fish?
If you know for a fact any of the above insects hatched within the previous day or two of the
particular time you are fishing, fish the nymph or larva fly that imitates that particular species
during the mornings and continue to do so until you see it or another insect hatching.
If you know that more than one insect hatched, choose an imitation of the nymph or larva in
this priority - BWO, March Brown, Light Cahill and fish it up until you see something hatching.
I'm basing this on the availability of the insects for the trout to eat that most likely exist based
on the previous day's activity. You could also spot some Green Sedges or Little Short horned
sedges hatching. If so, you would want to use an imitation of their pupa
Which Fly to use During Hatches?
If you happen to find any Eastern Pale Evening Duns or Sulphurs hatching, by all means fish
an imitation of the emerging dun, or the dun, in priority to any of the other insects. That's not
very likely though. Next in priority are the Little Short-horned Sedges or possibly the Green
Sedges. If they are hatching, fish an imitation of the pupa. Next in priority would be the March
Browns or Light Cahills. I would go with the Cahills. I went with a Cahill the last two days simply
because I started in the higher elevations on Walkers Camp Prong. I knew I wouldn't be
spotting any EPED or Sulphers or many caddisflies at those elevations. Little Blue-winged
Olives were hatching and guess what? I didn't have the first hook size 18 or 20 BWO dun with
me. A few weeks ago, we ran out of that size and Angie cleaned out my fly box to finish filling
an order she had. She didn't put them back when new shipments arrived from our tiers.
Which Fly to use Late In The Day:
I somehow missed this last week and it should apply this week. Late in the day, depending on
which of the hatches listed above you may happen to have found, watch for the spinner fall
and/or egg laying activity as applicable. By all means, if you a spinner fall, fish it. Light Cahills
and a few March Browns will likely fall. If you do find any EPEDs or Sulphurs, they will fall. If
there isn't any spinner falls occurring, but some caddis egg laying activity is taking place, fish
the adult pattern of that caddisfly.
Now here is the part I omitted last week. Up until you see a spinner fall or heavy egg
laying activity from caddis, fish an imitation of the Little Yellow Stonefly (Yellow Sally)
nymph. They will start crawling across the bottom to the banks to hatch late in the day. They
crawl out to hatch after sunset. If you see any depositing their eggs, switch to the adult
imitation. I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on the fun.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh