Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives and Little BWOs
2. Blue Quills
3. Quill Gordons
4. Little Short Horned Sedges
5. Little Brown Stoneflies
6. Hendricksons & Red Quills
7. American March Browns
Most available/ Near hatching and/or other types of available food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fly Fishing Strategies - Which Fly To Use - Part 37
It never fails that when conditions get quote "perfect" and anglers think fishing is quote
"excellent", they start complaining about the fishing. This same exact thing happens every
Too many anglers think in terms of "how good the fishing is" instead of "how good at fishing
they are". The fishing doesn't automatically get good. That's fly shop hype. Right at the time
the insect hatches peak and the water temperature is optimum and the streams flows are
ideal, anglers are forced to come to a full realization that the quote "ideal fishing conditions"
doesn't necessarily relate to success.
Multiple hatches are causing multiple problems for anglers at this particular time.
The trout will focus on what's most available and plentiful at any one particular time and if
anglers aren't focused on imitating that particular insect at that particular time, they don't have
the success they expect. It becomes more of a matter of exactly "where" in the stream an
angler is fishing than anyone other thing. For example, if your fishing a dry fly in a fast water
run and the trout are focused on eating stonefly nymphs on the bottom migrating from the
banks to crawl out of the water to hatch, you would be waisting your time. If your fishing the
fast water runs and riffles with a nymph and the trout are focused on eating caddisfly pupae
near the ends of the runs and riffles, you would be waisting your time. I could give dozens of
other sceneries. It's just a fact that multiple hatches, created mostly by quote "ideal
conditions", can complicate the problem more than it makes things easy to catch
Weather and Stream Level Outlook:
For the first time in a long time, the Smokies may get more rain during the week when most
people are at work than during the weekend when they have free time to fish. For the past few
weeks, the weather pattern has been rain on Friday and Saturday with resulting high stream
levels. During the week the weather and stream levels have been good. The predictions for
this week are just the opposite. It should rain off and on for most of the week and be clear and
nice this weekend.
A 50% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms are predicted for today. Less than a
quarter of an inch of rain is expected. The same thing is expected for Wednesday. They do
mention that you should expect higher amounts of rain from thunderstorms. Showers and
thunderstorms are likely on Thursday. The chances increase to 60% with as much as a half
inch of rain possible. They are predicting the same thing for Thursday night meaning up to an
inch of rain is possible. The odds go back down to 50% for Friday.
Both Saturday and Sunday should be sunny. There's only one problem with this forecast. It
could result in high water for the weekend. It all depends on exactly how much precipitation the
Smokies get. It's going to be another "wait and see" game.
There's not really much change in the strategies you should use from last week. Again, you
should start out in the mornings fishing a nymph and change to an emerger/pupa or a
dun/adult dry fly pattern if and when you see something hatching. Most hatches should start
taking place around 1:00 to 3:00 PM and again, the hatches will depend greatly on the
elevation of the stream your fishing. Later in the day, when the hatches subside, switch back
to the morning pattern. From about 4:30 PM to near 7:00 PM, watch closely for mayfly egg
laying and spinner falls.
I haven't been doing a good job of explaining this. 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.
From the mid elevations and up, there's still some odds of having Blue Quills and Blue-winged
Olive hatches. I think you would be hard pressed to find any more Quill Gordon hatches taking
place. I'm taking them off the above list of insects this week. The same thing goes for the Little
Brown Stoneflies. They are approaching the end of their hatch period. By the way, there are
other brown colored adult stoneflies. I'm only referring to the Taeniopterygidae family of
stoneflies commonly called Little Brown Stoneflies.
Hendrickson/Red Quills are hatching. This could be a very good week for them. Remember,
they generally don't hatch in the higher elevation, or where the stream gradients are
steep..They are more of a pool and slack water insect. They are concentrated, but only in
isolated areas of the streams.
Little Short-horned Sedges are hatching but like the Hendrickson/Red Quill mayflies, they are
concentrated but only in isolated areas of the streams.
March Browns are showing up everywhere but remember that they hatch a few here and there
and throughout much of the day. They are not usually concentrated at any one point in time.
That doesn't mean they aren't important insects to imitate. It just means that you cannot expect
to see heavy hatches taking place. If they are hatching, you can expect some rather heavy
spinner falls to occur near dark because the spinner falls are concentrated into a short time of
usually less than an hour.
I may be behind on Little Yellow Stonefly hatches. I heard some reports of anglers seeing
them. They could possibly be hatching due to the crazy weather but I have yet to see any so
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.
If you know that more than one insect hatched, choose an imitation of the nymph or larva in
this priority - Hendrickson/RQ, Blue Quill, BWO, March Brown, and fish it up until you see
something hatching. I'm basing this on the availability of the insects for the trout to eat that
most likely exist based on the previous day's activity.
Which Fly to use During Hatches?
If you find Hendricksons/RQ hatching, fish an imitation of the emerging dun, or the dun, in
priority to any of the other insects. Next in priority are the Little Short-horned Sedges. If they
are hatching, fish an imitation of the pupa. Next in line would be the March Browns. The
hatches are easier to fish than either the Blue Quills or BWOs.
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, fish the spinner fall and/or egg laying activity as appropriate. By all means, if you
noticed a Hendrickson/Red Quill hatch, fish the spinner fall. March Browns will likely fall.
I repeat from last week: An Important Tip for Handling Multiple Hatches
Many anglers make the mistake of thinking when there several insects hatching, the particular
fly you use isn't all that important. This is exactly backwards or just the opposite of what
the real situation is. When multiple hatches are occurring, the trout will become even more
selective to the most available and easiest one of the insects to acquire. It's even more of a
mater of them becoming selective to the particular area of the stream they feed in.
This misunderstanding of what is happening often leads to an unproductive fishing experience
for those that don't key in on the right insect. That has been the case with many anglers
recently. Although it's usually more of a matter of presenting your fly in the right areas of the
stream than the particular imitation you use, if it's an insect that's hatching in the slow to
moderate water, rather than the fast water, the particular fly you use will make a
huge difference. In other words, the trout will get a much better look at the fly than they do in
the fast water.
Don't make the mistake of thinking just because several insects or hatching, the particular fly
you use isn't important. The facts are, it's exactly the opposite situation.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh