Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives (Little Eastern BWOs)
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Cream Cahills
4.    Little Yellow Stoneflies (Little Summer Stones)
5.    Little Green Stoneflies
6.    Slate Drakes
7. .  Sculpin, Minnows (streamers)
8.    Inch Worms
9.    Grasshoppers
10.  Ants
11.  Beetles
12.  Craneflies
13.  Flying Ants

Mahogany Duns:
I've only talked to two or three anglers that regularly fish the Smokies that knows what
a Mahogany Dun is. One reason is due to the time of year they hatch, which is during
the late Summer and early Fall months when many anglers are waiting for cooler
weather to occur. Although I'm certain there are more anglers that are familiar with
them, they are little known insects. You can catch trout consistently from the hatch
anytime and the spinner fall if your lucky enough to catch a heavily cloudy day. One
word of caution. Some local anglers call a Slate Drake a Mahogany Dun. The Slate
Drake is much, much larger and completely different in all respects. The only thing
similar is the fact both duns have mahogany color abdomens.

Mahogany Duns are species of the
Paraleptophlebia genus and are one of the few
mayflies to hatch in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during that time of
year. The
debilis, mollis, guttata and swannanoa species all exist in the park. In some
parts of the nation, these mayflies are called Blue Quills. They exist in eastern,
mid-western and western streams of the country but the species vary some. In some
western streams, these little mayflies are considered a very important hatch. I
consider it important here in the Smokies. This is the same genus that the more
adoptive species, or early season Blue Quill, belongs to. The little Mahogany
Duns are very similar except for the time of year they hatch. In fact, these mayflies are
more important at the time of year they hatch than the Blue Quills are at the time they
hatch. This is due to the other available insects, such as Quill Gordons for the trout to
eat during the early season.

These mayflies don't just exist in the park in limited quantities, they exist in very
plentiful quantities. Our guess is that most anglers take them for little Blue-winged
Olive species; however, there are big differences. Those species most plentiful are a
hook size 18 or 20. The difference in size is due to the difference in sex, the males
being slightly smaller than the females. That is common with many other species of

These mayflies start to appear as duns in August and hatch into the first of October.
Like the Blue Quills, they hatch in the slower moving shallow water along the margins
of fast water. They are crawlers that stay in the current margins on the bottom
down in the rocks, gravel and other bottom structure.  

Imitations of the nymphs are much more effective just prior to a hatch but they will
catch trout year-round especially in the streams where there's a good population of
them. Prior to the hatch, concentrate on fishing our "Perfect Fly" Mahogany Dun
Nymph in the calm areas of water that is near ripples and runs, such as pockets,
eddies, and calm areas near the banks. Use an upstream or an up and across
presentation, with or without a strike indicator, depending upon the water conditions
and your preference.  You will want to use added weight to get the fly down near the

This is our Perfect Fly Mahogany Dun nymph. Notice it has two added sections of
EMU feathers that when submerged, look like the hair-like gills of the nymphs.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh