Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2. Cinnamon Sedges (Caddisflies) (Abrams Creek)
3. Green Sedges (Caddisflies)
4. Little Sister Caddisflies (Abrams Creek)
5. Eastern Pale Evening Duns
7. Little Yellow Stoneflies -Yellow Sallies
8. Slate Drakes
9. Light Cahills
10. Little Green Stoneflies
11. Golden Stoneflies
18. Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
The Cranefly is a two winged fly that looks like a giant midge. For those
interested, the cranefly is a member of the Tipulidae family of insects. They
are called not only craneflies, but daddy longlegs, mosquito eater, mosquito
killers and probably many other names. There are millions of them along the
streams of the Smokies as well as in the water. Most often you will see the
adults around the shallow edges of the water.
Yes, trout eat the adults but much more so, they eat their larvae. They eat two
forms of the craneflies larvae - the terrestrial larvae, that get washed into the
water by heavy rain and the aquatic larvae which exist in the stream. This is
because the insect have both types and both types are found in the Smokies.
The terrestrial type live in damp soil above the waterline. The species that
live in the water live where there's lots of algae, woody debris and vegetation.
Most of those that live in the water in the Smokies live in the woody debris
that you will see piled up in the water along the banks of the stream.
Like terrestrial insects, the adult craneflies become more important during
the times when there are few aquatic insect hatches. I think the majority of
them are eaten by trout under low light conditions mostly in the early mornings
or late in the day near dark. One reason is the shallow water they are found
in. During the day under bright light conditions, trout are too spooky to spend
any time in the shallow water they mostly exist in.
You don't hear much about the canefly in the Smokies but you do in many
other trout streams. You will notice it is even listed as a major hatch on
certain streams and it isn't always the streams that have few aquatic insects.
It's a prime insect for trout on the Big Horn River in Montana, for example.
However, everything considered, I feel like the reason isn't the availability of
the insect or its importance in the stream. I feel like it is just a matter of
certain angler's preferences. In areas where anglers have used imitations of
them and caught fish, others followed. Anglers are the World's biggest
copy cats. Only a small percentage can think for themselves. That is the
reason for the stupidest question in fishing - "what did you catch that
I think you will find a good imitation of the canefly larva, such as our Perfect
Fly specific imitation of it, will catch its fair share of trout in any waters trout
exist in that has craneflies and that's probably most of them.
This is the Perfect Fly Cranefly Larva. I think you will find it very effective in the
streams of the Smokies starting about this time of year on through most of the Fall.