Fishing Cold Water in the Great Smoky Mountains - Winter
Stoneflies - Part 14
Stoneflies are great at staying hidden under rocks on the bottom of the stream.
When you pick up a rock from the bottom of the stream (which you are not
supposed to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park) you will find them on the
bottom side of the rock, usually running around the rock trying to escape. After all,
unless some other person picked up the same rock, that is the first time they have
seen the world out of the water. The smaller ones are more subject to being caught
in the drift. Stonefly nymphs are sometimes exposed to trout when they are feeding
but most of the time they are safe from them
All stoneflies (with some totally unimportant exceptions to anglers) crawl out of the
water to hatch. When this happens, they are very exposed to trout. In order for
them to get to the banks and rocks to crawl out of the water, they must crawl across
the bottom. They can't swim. When a particular species of stonefly starts to hatch
and the migration to the banks begin, the trout are very aware of it. They can and
do eat all of them they want to eat. This is by far the best time to fish a stonefly
When you first get to a trout stream, you should always observe what insect activity
is occurring on the banks, in the bushes and trees around the stream as well as
what is occurring on the water. If you see stonefly shucks along the banks and on
the rocks around the edges of the stream that means a hatch is probably occurring
at the time. The shucks want be there very long after the hatch has ended. They
are quite fragile.
As I said yesterday, most species of winter stoneflies, sometimes called snowflies,
are small. They range from a hook size 18, and some even smaller, up to a hook
size 14, which would be a large winter stonefly species. The Smokies have several
different species of them of the two families I mentioned, that hatch during the
winter months in cold water. Most of them are a hook size 18. Most of them are
black or either a very dark brown that looks black until you observe it in bright light.
They tend to be very slim, long stonefly nymphs and most of them have two long
tails and antennae as opposed to the two little short tails of most of the other
Winter stonefly nymph
Winter stonefly nymph with one antennae
My timing is not very good. I write most of these articles weeks or months before I
publish them. When this one was written, I was certain that I would have all of our
new "Perfect Fly" patterns of stonefly nymphs and adults available but we don't. We
will have them any day now. There are nine new nymph patterns and nine new
adult patterns that are simi-realistic imitations of all the important stoneflies. This will
be far more than anyone has put on the commercial market. They are far better
than any other imitations of stoneflies on the market. I can't wait to get pictures of
them posted on our "Perfect Fly" website and for you to be able to purchase them.
Tomorrow I will get into fishing stonefly nymphs during the winter months.
Thanks to all of you that read these articles.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh