Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
2. Light Cahills
3. Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams)
4. Eastern Pale Evening Duns
5. Little Short-horned Sedges
7. Green Sedges
8. Little Yellow Stoneflies
9. Golden Stoneflies
10. Slate Drakes
11. Little Green Stoneflies
Most available - Other types of food:
12. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
13. Inch Worms
This Week's Featured Trout Food - Slate Drakes
The Slate Drake is a large mayfly that is found in various types of trout water. It crawls out of the
water to hatch into a dun and is only important in the nymphal and spinner stages of life. The
nymphs are swimmers that are almost always available for trout to eat. One key to determining
where to fish the nymph imitation is if you find a lot of shucks along the banks, fish the shallow,
calm pockets along the banks and behind boulders. If you do not find the shucks, fish the deeper
runs and riffles using standard nymph fishing techniques.
The Slate Drakes belong to the Isonychia genus of the Siphlonuridae family of mayflies. The
most important species is the bicolor. It is a very common mayfly. These mayflies are also called
“Dun Variant”, “Leadwing Coachmans” and sometimes Mahogany Duns.
The species name, bicolor, comes from its legs of the nymphs that are bi-colored. The common
name “leadwing” comes from the lead color of the dun's wings. This mayfly can hatch from
spring until fall, but is very sporadic throughout that long period of time and this makes it difficult
to pin the exact times down. When they do hatch, however, it can be prolific.
Hatching usually occurs late in the afternoon and sometimes into the evenings but will occur
occasionally during the day if it is cloudy or rainy. Again, these mayflies usually crawl out of
the water on the banks and on boulders and rocks to hatch. You will find their shucks along the
banks after a hatch.
Slate Drake nymphs are large swimming nymphs. Nymphs of these species prefer rather highly
oxygenated water. Most often they are found in medium to fast flowing, freestone streams. After
the nymphs migrate to the banks of the stream, this swimmer nymphs crawl out of the water on
rocks and logs.
Nymphs are quick and move fast when they migrate to the shallow water. They act a lot like
minnows and other small fish. They are difficult to catch in regular kick nets and you want catch
any of them just by picking up rocks from the streams and looking at the bottoms of them. They
will escape as soon as you try to lift the rocks, if not sooner than that.
One key to determining where to fish the nymph imitation is where you find shucks along the
banks. That indicates they are hatching. The duns are difficult to find during the daylight hours
because they fly off into the trees and molt into spinners.
Imitations of the nymph should be fished in pockets near the bank and behind rocks, boulders
and logs. The nymphs want hold directly in fast current, rather the water immediate adjacent to
the fast water such as pockets. They will also congregate in flats and the heads, edges and tail
ends of pools where the current isn't strong, yet there's plenty of oxygen.
You should allow the Perfect Fly Slate Drake Nymph to drift naturally or dead drift. The fly has a
tremendous amount of build-in action or movement. Just a slight amount of current will make the
fly appear as if it's alive and breathing.
You can add a short erratic stripping motion to the fly to imitate the natural reaction of the Slate
Drake nymphs trying to escape a predator. This will sometimes trigger a strike from a trout. In this
case, I would not add any weight or if so, very little.
The “down and across” presentation works best in the shallow water that the nymphs crawl out of
the water to hatch from. In this case, you should use the stripping action to imitate the motions
made by the nymph.
During the other times when no hatch is occurring, you should weight the nymph down to keep in
on or near the bottom in the deeper water. The amount of weight depends on the water depth
and swiftness. In this case I would suggest up or up and across presentations. You can also
present the fly on the swing keeping the rod high in the air and staying in contact with the fly.
This is best done in the runs and current seams along the pockets behind boulders. When
hatching, these nymphs can often be found in very shallow water so don't be afraid to fish the
shallow water areas adjacent to the deeper water.
New Schedule of Daily
Mondays: Weather and Stream
Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout
More Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing the park and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions.
Please allow up to 24 hours for a
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
will help you decide which flies you
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
them to you in time for your trip.
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