Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Baetis) - sparse hatches
2. Blue Quills - hatching
3. Quill Gordons - hatching
4. Hendricksons - could start any day now - nymphs are important
5. Little Black Caddis - hatching
6. Little Brown Stoneflies - hatching
7. Midges - hatching in isolated locations
8. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish
I stopped writing about the Hendricksons yesterday to try to answer some questions
we received from some anglers regarding their lack of success. Anyway, if you did
not read the first two articles about the Hendricksons, please do. I don't want to
repeat any of the things I wrote about in those articles. The first one was a general
article about the Hendricksons and the Red Quills or the male spinner. The second
article was about the nymphs.
The Hendrickson nymphs emerge in the surface skim. The leave the bottom and
swim to the surface with a wiggle like motion of their bodies. I raised some in an
aquarium and have watched them do that. I don't really think it is anything you need
to worry about as far as imitating the emergers. You have to watch carefully to even
notice the wiggles that help get them to the surface. They emerge when the water is
anywhere from about 50 degrees F. to about 55 degrees. If the water gets as warm
as 60 during the hatch, it will end in any one location within just about a week. It
rarely last longer than two weeks on any one stream. Because of the different
elevations, some of the streams in the park may be behind some of the others,
temperature wise, and that can cause them to string out for as much as three or
possible four weeks. They don't usually start hatching until the Quill Gordons are
These crawler nymphs get caught in the current seams of the moderate water they
hatch in. You want to fish the current seams in the type of water I described in the
previous article on the Hendrickson nymphs. I usually use an up and across
presentation. I am sure there could be some situations were a down and across
presentation would be beneficial, but nine-five percent of the time, the up and
across method works just fine.
If you fish our Perfect Flies, you know we have two different types of emergers for
the Hendricksons. One has two CDC wings, and a biot body with soft hackle for its
legs and tails. It is designed to hang in the surface skim like the real nymphs do
when they shed their nymphal shuck and emerge into duns. That fly is more nymph
than dun. It wings are just beginning to open all the way up and the shuck has not
come off the abdomen. The second type is a trailing shuck emerger. It represents
the emerging dun when its nymphal shuck is almost off but still attached to the tail.
It is more dun than nymph and is designed to float in the skim with the trailing shuck
floating level with the water. It too has two CDC wings and a biot body with soft
hackle for its legs (for the male) but it has an Antron type shuck attached to the
abdomen. Either type works well. I don't necessarily prefer one over the other. The
trailing shuck version is much easier to see and therefore results in a high
percentage of hook ups, but the emerger without the shuck probably gets more
takes. I usually start with the trailing shuck version and only change to the other
when I am not very successful.
Once you start seeing duns come off the water, you should change from a nymph
to an emerger imitation. The emergers usually work better than the duns. Late in
the hatch or if there is a huge number of duns on the surface, you may want to go
to the dun. I will discuss that more tomorrow. Many anglers only use the trailing
shuck version and never go to a dun imitation. However, the dun is much easier to
see than the trailing shuck emerger and works best for many anglers.
Now you may also notice that we have a pattern for the male and another one for
the female for the trailing shuck versions. This isn't necessary for the emerger
because it still has its shuck on its abdomen. The trailing shuck version doesn't.
The male and female duns (and spinners) are completely different colors. I doubt it
would be necessary to concern yourself with the sex versions in the Smokies but it
could. It is important in many streams where there are a lot of Hendricksons and
where the trout become selective on them. If you read my first article on
Hendricksons you noticed I said it isn't unusual for that to happen in the Smokies.
They are much easier for the trout to acquire, the trout often just feed on the
emergers and duns in the smooth water they hatch in and do not feed on the other
insects that may be present. We have found that true on several ocassions.
This is our Perfect Fly Hendrickson TS Emerger - Female
This is our Perfect Fly Hendrickson TS Emerger - Male
This is our Perfect Fly Hendrickson Emerger (Don't grease the body or tail/legs.
Just the head of the fly if you want to. Never grease CDC. The CDC wing should be
the only thing floating this one.
Copyright 2009 James Marsh