Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Baetis) - sparse hatches
2. Blue Quills - hatching
3. Quill Gordons - hatching but about to end
4. Hendricksons - could start any day now - nymphs are important
5. Little Black Caddis - hatching
6. Little Brown Stoneflies - hatching
7. Midges - hatching in isolated locations
8. Little Short-horned Sedges - should hatch randomly for 2-3 months
9. American March Browns - should start within a couple of weeks
10.Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish
American March Browns
Within a couple of weeks the large American March Browns or Maccaffertium
vicarium mayflies should begin to hatch. Before I get into how to fish this hatch let
me clarify which bug I am writing about. I have written about this before, but just to
make sure, the American March Brown is the same exact mayfly as what anglers
call the "Gray Fox". It is referred to by common name as an "American" March
Brown to distinguish it from the other "March Brown" or "Western March Brown".
The two mayflies are not in the same genus or group of mayflies. The Western
March Brown is in the Rhithronega genus.
The American March Brown is the most plentiful "large" mayfly in the streams of
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The nymphs act like little crayfish. They are
big and strong. They are clingers that stay down between and underneath the
rocks on the bottom of the stream for most of their one-year lifetime.
These mayflies hatch from the fast water they live in. They will move to the closest
adjacent slower moving water, usually not far away, before they hatch. That is why I
am writing about them now. They are subject to being eaten by trout when they do
change their location even thought the distance they travel is usually short. When a
trout does get one of these nymphs, they get a good meal.
When it comes to the American March Brown there is one major problem that us
anglers face. They hatch over a long period of time or from about the middle of
April until about the middle of June. During that two month period of time, they don't
hatch in any one location at any one time. They just hatch here and there,
sometimes in large quantities but most of the time in sparse quantities. Isolating a
hatch isn't easy. You just have to watch for the big duns to start appearing. Once
you see one, you know they are hatching - you just don't know how many of them
there will be or whether or not they will really get the attention of the trout. If there is
nothing else hatching, and that is often the case, then you just have to fish
imitations of them as if there is going to be a big hatch of them. If you wait until you
see a lot of them on the water and on the banks, you will have missed the hatch. In
other words, it is a aggravating hatch to fish. Most of the time, when they first begin
to hatch you will find more of them than you will find later on in the season. They will
seem to disappear and it will look as if the hatch has ended and then you will run
across a few more of them in the same location you found them at an earlier date.
The later in the season it gets, the smaller these mayflies get. They also seem to
get darker as the days go by. That is how the "Gray Fox" came about. Anglers and
even scientist thought they were different species. They were just a smaller, darker
version of the same species.
I will get into the hatch later. Be sure and read tomorrow's article. It is about a
very important subject.
March Brown Nymph
Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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