Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. BWOs (Eastern)
2. Green Sedges (Caddisflies)
3. Cinnamon Caddis (Mostly Abrams Creek)
4. Cream Cahills
5. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Little Summer Stones)
7. Slate Drakes
8. Little Green Stoneflies
Most available/ Other types of food:
10. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
11. Inch Worm (moth larva)
Fly Fishing Strategies - What Fly To Use - Part 50
The weather is continuing to stay hot as it should during the Summer, but not as hot as it has
been. The high temperatures for Gatlinburg should range from 92 to 94 for the next week.
Just as important as the temperature are the stream levels. Again, according to the National
Weather Service, there's a 20 to 30 percent chance of rain every day for the next week.
They show it increasing to 40% Sunday night. Hopefully, this will keep the levels up.
The fishing conditions remain excellent for the Smokies. You will need to fish in the
higher elevations where you will find the temperatures much more pleasant and the water
cooler. I wouldn't try to fish anything below 2500 feet elevation within the next few days. Last
week, I suggested not fishing below 3000. That doesn't seem like much difference but area
wise, it's a huge difference. There's a lot of water between those two elevations. By the way,
if you have an automobile GPS, unless it's a very old model, it will give you the elevation.
You can get a handheld model GPS for less than a hundred bucks and not only know your
elevation, you won't ever have to worry about getting lost. If you don't like electronics, get a
paper map. The best maps of the park are put out by Mr. Fred Turner of St. Clair Mapping.
The maps clearly show the elevations in detail.
You should definitely carry a thermometer. The temperature can be difficult to judge when
it's this warm. What may feel cool to you could be too warm of water to fish. I usually tell
people to use 67 degrees F. as the warmest water they should try to fish. Anything warmer
than that not only has a chance of hurting the trout if they are fought to long, it begins to
reduce your ability to catch them. At water temperatures beyond 68 degrees, the trout will
begin to become lethargic. This is especially true of the rainbows.
You can fish the lower middle elevations in the early mornings before the water temperature
gets too warm but you should avoid the lower elevations all together. At the higher elevations
you should be able to find plenty of water in the low sixties, even during the middle of the
afternoon during the hottest part of the day..
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 3:00 to 4:00 PM and again, the hatches will depend greatly on the
elevation of the stream your fishing. Keep in mind this doesn't include the Slate Drakes, Little
Yellow Summer Stones or the Little Green Stoneflies. They start hatching (crawling out of the
water) very late in the day after sunset.
When the other hatches (if you find any) subside (non Slate Drakes and Stoneflies) 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 6:00 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 they fall. It will mostly consist of Cream Cahills, Eastern BWOs and maybe
some Slate Drake spinners.
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.
Most Plentiful and Available Insects:
The Little Yellow Summer stoneflies and the Little Green stoneflies will continue to hatch but
in isolated areas. Remember, they 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 5 PM and
switch to an adult only when you see egg laying activity which is usually late in the day.
The Green Sedges (caddisflies) are hatching but they are usually rather sparse hatches. It's
the larva imitation of the free-living "green rock worm" that's productive anytime of the day.
Cream Cahills are hatching from many of the fast water areas of the streams in the middle
and higher elevations. Imitations of this mayfly can be very productive during a hatch.
They should be a top priority if they are encountered. It's also possible you will still see some
Sulphurs but only in very isolated sections of the mid to large size streams. Eastern
Blue-winged Olives are beginning to show up more. I will be writing about these in the next
few days. They not only include the larger size 16 Drunella species, it includes the smaller
size 18 Attenella species called Little Eastern Blue Winged Olives. These can be imitated
with the same flies as the other species of BWOs. I'm pointing out the difference only
because these are crawlers, not swimmers and there's a difference in their habitat or the
areas of water they inhibit. The hatches are rather isolated and never occur in huge
numbers but when few insects are hatching, it makes them that even more important.
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.
Which Fly to use During Hatches?
If you happen to find any Sulphurs hatching, and I doubt you do but there's still a few left, by
all means fish an imitation of the emerging dun, or the dun, in priority to any of the other
insects. Next in priority would be the Eastern Blue Winged Olives. Cream Cahills (clingers)
woulld fall next in priority. Next in priority are the Green Sedges. If they are hatching, fish an
imitation of the pupa.
Which Fly to use Late In The Day:
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
see a spinner fall, fish it. Cream Cahills will likely fall and possibly some Eastern BWOs. If you
do find Sulphurs, (your probably fishing at too low of an elevation) their spinners 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.
Up until you see a spinner fall or heavy egg laying activity from caddisflies, fish an imitation
of the Little Green Stonefly nymph or Little Yellow Stonefly (Summer Stone). They
will start crawling across the bottom to the banks to hatch very late in the day. They crawl out
to hatch after sunset. Do this until you begin to see any depositing their eggs and then
switch to the adult imitation.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh