Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little and baetis BWOs)
2. Little Yellow Quills
3. Slate Drakes
4. Needle Stoneflies
Most available/ Other types of food:
5. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
The Low Down Black Fly
Not long ago, I was talking to a local angler that fishes the South Holston tailwater often and ask
him if he used imitations of the black flies. My motive was to get him to try our Perfect Fly Black fly
patterns for the larva, pupa and adult black flies. Before I could mention that to him, he told me he
tied a neat fly for the South Holston black flies. I dropped discussing our fly patterns with him and
for purposes of carrying on the conversation, I ask him when was the best time to fish imitations of
the black flies there. His answer surprised me. He said anytime of the year, morning, day or night.
He continued to say that black flies hatched every day of the year on the South Holston. The
gentlemen has been fly fishing for trout on the South Holston river for many years and should know
what he was talking about.
Up until then, I was under the impression that black flies were most important during the winter
months. That's still my belief due to the fact that other than midges, black flies are about the only
thing hatching on many winter days. Of course, there are always good Blue-winged Olive days
during the winter on the South Holston but they vary greatly in intensity depending on the weather
and discharges from the dam. Black flies are far more consistent.
So far, I have related black flies only to the South Holston tailwater. That's certainly not the only
place black flies are plentiful and not the only place in the nation black flies are a major source of
food for trout. Most all tailwaters have good populations of these insects. Many freestone streams
have good populations of them.
Fishing the South Holston tailwater and/or many of the other tailwaters in the Southeast and
nationwide, for that matter, requires some challenging and sometimes even technical skills and
knowledge if you expect to consistently catch trout. With the exception of the smaller, recently
stocked trout, fishing is often challenging. The larger wild and holdover trout can and often do feed
selectively and when they do, you will need to be able to match what the fish are eating as well as
present your imitations of that food very effectively.
As just mentioned, one of the common sources of food for these trout is the Black Fly. I'm
mentioning it not only because it's an important source of food for the trout, but also because most
anglers are not familiar with the Black Fly. Understand, I'm not just taking about the adult black fly.
The adult is an annoying fly that can and does bite. Although trout eat the adult Black Flies, it's the
larva stage of life of the black fly that's most frequently eaten by trout.
The Black Fly is of the Diptera order, or in more common terms, it's a true fly. They are members
of the Simuliidae family of flies. The larvae of these flies stick to rocks even in very fast water. They
live in large colonies and can provide a great amount of food where they are plentiful and as just
mentioned, they are plentiful in the South Holston Tailwater as well as most other tailwaters near
the Smoky Mountains.
The good thing about the low down Black Fly is that it is easy to imitate. I will get into the details of
how I fish our Perfect Fly imitations of the larva tomorrow.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh