Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little)
2. Cream Cahills
3. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Little Summer Stones)
4. Slate Drakes
5. Little Green Stoneflies
6. Mahogany Duns
Most available/ Other types of food:
7. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8. Inch Worm (moth larva)
Strategy For This Coming Week
Current Weather and Stream Conditions:
The stream and weather conditions continue to be excellent for this time of the year. It is still hot during the day but the
nightly lows have dropped and that has made a huge difference in the daily high water temperatures. The streams are low
but not too low. I prefer them like they are. The low water does makes it more difficult to get away with poor presentations
and lousy flies that imitate a little of everything. If you fish the higher elevations of at least 2500 feet or better, anglers that
know what they are doing and don't have a need for a stupid fly shop fishing gauge that insults their
intelligence, should be able to catch about as many trout as they could catch any other time of the year. Those
that rely mostly on luck, poor imitations and high fast water will find it much tougher. Guess what. The fish are
still in the streams in about the same quantities as they usually are. They still eat, yes, even in low water. The only thing that
should be measured slow or poor are the anglers trying to catch them that fail to do so as a results of believing false
Showers and thunderstorms are likely today. There's a 60 percent chance. The high will approach 86. It drops down to 40
percent tomorrow and the daily high will go back up to around 90 degrees. Wednesday and Thursday will be hot and sunny.
A 40 percent chance of rain will return for Friday. Saturday's chance will be around 30 percent. Sunday will be near the
I just read what I wrote last year at this same time and found it to be very much on target for what's happening at the current
time. I began by looking at the list of insects above in detail: It is exactly what I would recommend for the coming
week, so I'm going to take advantage of it and leave what was last years recommendations for this coming week. I won't be
that lucky when it get into the month of December. Things changed drastically from what may be considered normal for the
winter months and early spring months.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh
Last Year's Strategy:
There are three basic types of food listed.
1. Aquatic Insects (Insect that are born and live in the water most of their life) Items 1-6
2. Sculpin, minnows, baitfish (marine species you imitate with streamers) Item 7
3. Terrestrial Insects (insects that live on land and get into the water accidentally or by strong wind and water
from heavy rain. Items 8-13
Some General Notes:
The most available foods are the aquatic insects. The sculpin, minnow and baitfish are plentiful but they are
not the easiest to acquire. They are also more difficult to imitate. You need to fish the imitating streamers in
low light conditions, like early and late in the day or during heavy cloud cover. The terrestrials are plentiful (on
land) but not in the water. You should focus on them after or during windy times or after heavy rain where
water may wash them into the streams. An exception is when you see lots of moth larvae (green worms or
larvae) hanging from trees over the water that eventually fall into the water.
Now lets look at the Summer hatch chart for the Smokies: Weather conditions are normal for August. If
weather conditions were not normal, and it was unusually cooler or warmer, things could be a week or two off
schedule, but things are normal. You should always keep that in mind when using a hatch chart and
especially in the Winter, Spring and Fall months.
Now, stop and think about this. Most of the aquatic insects have already hatched this year. The Quill Gordons,
March Browns, Blue Quills, Hendricksons, Little Brown stoneflies, Winter stoneflies etc and many other
aquatic insects., have already hatched and are either eggs or tiny nymphs that are mostly well hidden. The
remaining aquatic insects that are grown and in the water at this time of year are those listed above along
with the Little Yellow Quills, Needle Stoneflies, Great Autumn Brown Caddis, and a few minor species of
caddisflies and insects that are not plentiful. These insects that are not yet hatching, are well hidden,
especially the Little Yellow Quills and Stoneflies which are clinger nymphs.
Of the 6 aquatic insects listed as hatching, notice the Mahogany duns are just starting to hatch and are not in
their prime hatch period of time, although they may be hatching. This lowers the odds of them being a key
insect this week. Fish imitations of them ONLY if you see the insects hatching.
Notice the Cream Cahills are at the very end of their hatch time. Those likely remaining will be in the high
elevations, or brook trout streams. In fact, two weeks ago they were plentiful but most likely now, they are not.
This lowers your odds. Fish imitations of them ONLY if you see them hatching.
The Little Yellow Stoneflies, are not Yellow Sallies as such. They are Summer Stones which are very, very
similar. They are slightly shorter and stocky but behave the same as Yellow Sallies and look almost the
same. I mention this only because the hatch chart separates them. Our Little Yellow Stonefly Perfect Fly
imitations are the same for both types. These stoneflies are hatching now but keep in mind, these hatch over
a long period of time and are hit and miss. If they are hatching, you will see some egg layers near dark. If you
see some one day, fish the nymph the next day beginning at about 7 PM. When you see egg laying activity
start, swap to the adult imitation for the most fun, or continue fishing the nymph for more fish. Remember, this
is hit or miss depending where your fishing. I give your chances of finding them only about twenty percent or
two out of ten days. If you don't see them, don't fish imitations of them.
The Little Green Stoneflies are hatching but mostly at the ends of pools and in the mid elevations. It's hot
now and if your high on the brook trout streams your odds are very low you will see any. At mid elevations (I'm
omitting low elevations due to the heat) your odds are still only about twenty percent. You may confuse these
with Yellow Sallies because some are yellow/green and difficult to tell apart as adults. Follow the same
strategy as with the Little Yellow Stoneflies that I provided above, fishing them only if you see them. Again,
only very late in the day.
You should also review previous info about stoneflies. I'm not going into detail about how to fish the hatch,
The Slate Drakes are in the middle of their hatch period, but that's deceptive. These mayflies hatch heavily at
the beginning of the very long hatch period and again near the end of the period. It is now in the middle of the
period. Chances are low you will see them but if you do, fish the hatch. These crawl out of the water and only
nymphs and spinners are important. If you see their shucks on rocks an boulders, fish the nymph from mid
afternoon to dark. If it is raining, fish the nymph anytime the water is coming down, morning or afternoon. Fish
the spinner right near dark and only if you see egg layers. Right now the odds are low you will see any. I'd say
only one out of ten chances at the most. However, the nymphs (about half of them) that haven't yet hatched
are in the water. These are swimmer nymphs that don't hide well. These are not plentiful at the high elevation,
but mostly mid elevations. Remember the low elevations are too warm to fish. The bottom line is the nymph
is a good fly to use anytime of the day, where they are hatching or not; however, I rank it second to the BWOs,
coming up next.
We are down to Blue-winged Olives on the aquatics. Notice on the hatch chart, these are Little Blue-winged
olives and include several species. These are size 18 at the largest and mostly size 20 with some males
even a 22. Use the size 20 or 18 only if you have to. I want bore you with species and specifics but there's
several species of them. These will most likely be hatching wherever you are. They are even in the high
elevation brook trout streams but vary greatly, depending on the stream. You may even mistake some
species for midges.
In the early mornings and late afternoons they are easy to spot. Some spinner falls take place in the early
morning. When the males are dancing up and down or when they are mating about head high or higher
above the water, they are easier to spot. That's proof of the hatches, but you don't need it. They will be
hatching in most of the areas you fish and is your number one nymph to fish. Remember, this includes
several species, some of which are bi-brooded. These are mostly swimmer nymphs which don't hide well
from the trout. Some are crawler nymphs and they don't hide well. The baetis species, size 16 and 18, are not
hatching and will not hatch again until October, but the nymphs are in most streams available for the trout to
eat, especially the mid-elevations. When your fishing a BWO nymph, your also imitating them.
The BWO nymph, emerger or dun when they are hatching, should be the number one flies you should use. It
will catch trout and it will even catch large trout, so don't let the small fly size fool you. It is best fished free-
lined with a little added weight, or by high stickin it with weight, but quite frankly, most anglers cannot manage
this type of fishing without lots of practice. You can also use the Czech method of nymphing with two flies. It's
difficult to detect strikes using either of these three methods but they are the most effective ways to fish the
nymph, but provided you are experienced at fishing nymphs without strike indicators or dropped from dry flies
used as indicators. If not, use a strike indicator, or better at this time of year, a beetle or hopper dry fly as an
indicator. Drop the nymph below our Japanese Beetle, hook size 14, or our Sandwich Hopper, size 10 or 12.
When these little mayflies start to hatch, and this is usually from 1 to 6 P M, depending on the species, shade
and cloud cover (earlier in the brook trout streams), change to an emerger or dun pattern.
Start the day out with a streamer, provided your fishing early before much light hits the water. If not, start the
day with one of the above rigs using the BWO nymph and don't change it. You will catch fish. If you don't, your
doing something bad wrong. You may try changing locations but don't change strategies unless you see
evidence that one of the insects are hatching or under the conditions as follows.
If it gets windy, or if a thunderstorm moves though with wind and rain, and your not doing well otherwise, go to
the terrestrials. If it stays calm, stay with the BWO nymph, that is of course, you see one of the other above
insects hatching. If you do, switch to imitations of that insect. If you don't, don't change flies. Stay with the BWO
nymph or as a backup, you can try the Slate Drake Nymph, but only if your going nuts from not changing flies.
An exception you might try is that if your fishing an area with lots of grass (mostly out in the open areas not
under heavy tree cover) on the banks and your kicking up hoppers, you may want to try fishing the banks with
a hopper. Unlike what many of you may think, this works far better in the middle of the day in direct sunlight,
not in the shade. I only recommend the hopper in the Smokies under the windy conditions as mentioned
above and then only around grass.
If it gets windy or it's after a rain, or if you find water draining back into a stream, fish an ant imitation. If you
don't like fishing the wet ant without an indicator, try our Japanese Beetle with the regular wet Perfect Fly Ant
as a dropper.
If your in the woods where there's little grass, use the Japanese Beetle. It's a dry fly and works great, even on
the brook trout. Use a size 16 for the brookies and the 14 at the mid elevations. Again, keep in mind, this is
only if wind or rain is present or recently occurred. It's not that these flies won't work anytime. It's just that the
BWO nymph will give you higher odds. The problem is many of you rather fish a dry fly than a nymph. I'm trying
to give you your highest odds for catching the most trout. If you want to change, by all means do. I find myself
fishing the dry fly most of the time. I just want you to know what your best odds are.
If you see any trout hitting the surface, use the Perfect Fly Carpenter ant. The woods are full of them. They are
thousands if not millions around my house at this time and I'm less than a mile from the Spur.
You can also drop our Perfect Fly Inch Worm (Green Weenie type fly but better) from either one of our
Sandwich Hoppers or our large size Japanese Beetle. You can also fish it with a split shot free-lined but I only
recommend that if you find moth larvae (inch worms) in the trees.
Remember, this strategy isn't exactly easy to follow until you build confidence, but for your highest odds, stick
with the BWO nymph until you see evidence of insects hatching, or unless the wind/rain situation given above
takes place. Even then, if something is hatching, I would not go with the terrestrials. I would go with imitations
of the hatching insect.