Hatches Made Easy:

A Summary of the Winter Season: The flies To Have With You

Defining Seasons:
During the late winter when the days start getting longer and warmer and new
buds starts to appear on the trees and bushes most southern anglers will say
that it is springtime. That can happen any time from the middle of February to the
middle of March depending on the weather. However, defining Spring in that
manner can cause confusion because the dates these changes occur varies
considerably from year to year. It felt like spring last week for a couple of days but
it was actually the middle of winter. For that reason,
I like to use the actual
calender dates
when referring to seasons. Doing that clearly leaves no
question about the dates I am referring too. I also use the actual calender dates
hatch charts.

Flies In General:
I seriously doubt if any of you could tie a small fly with a hook in it using common
fly-tying materials in any color combination you desired and in any configuration
you could think of, that would not catch a trout in the Smokies.
At certain times of the year when the trout are feeding aggressively in the fast,
turbulent pocket water most anglers can catch a decent number of trout using
only attractor flies. The Parachute Adams and the Hair Ear Nymph both work well
under these conditions.
If you use the old traditional flies that have been around for years you will catch
trout, especially when conditions are great. These flies haven't stayed around for
years because they were ineffective. Some of them, whether accidentally or on
purpose, match certain aquatic insects that exist in the park quite well.
Although I love old cars, especially the old 57 Chevy I had for years, I only play
with them when I am not going anywhere important or need to arrive on schedule.
I love the old flies, the old cane rods and old reels and have several of each, but I
don't fish with them even though there is certainly nothing wrong with doing so if
that is one's preference.
I also want to mention that it doesn't matter what fly you use, it usually has to be
presented well to be effective. By presented well, I don't just mean making a good
cast and getting a good drift. I mean placing and drifting the fly in the manner it
needs to be placed and drifted in order to imitate the insects you are attempting
to imitate.

Choosing Flies:
Flies are usually classified two different ways. Those that imitate specific insects
at certain stages of life (specific imitations) and those that imitate a wide variety of
insects usually called attractor or suggestive flies. In any situation on any stream
anywhere in the nation,
I prefer to use a fly that imitates what the trout are
most likely feeding on at the time.
This simply increases your odds of
catching trout. That is the same exact approach I have successfully used for fifty
years fishing for any species of fish, freshwater and saltwater, irrespective of
whether I used a fly, lure, natural or live bait.
This does not necessarily mean hatches. Most of the time there are no hatches
underway. This also means using a fly that imitates what the trout are feeding on
in the nymphal stage of life as well as terrestrial insects, crustaceans and other
fish species. If you are not familiar with the food that trout feed on in the streams
you are fishing, including the aquatic insects, then most of the time you wouldn't
know what the trout would most likely be feeding on.
I have provided the information on the aquatic insects that hatch during the early
season in the Smokies in the previous articles as well as our
hatch chart. If you
take into consideration the stream conditions and allow for changes in weather,

see reading hatch charts) this will provide you the clues necessary to make
intelligent choices as to what fly to use.

Flies to have in your box:
This is what I think are the most effective flies to have with you during the winter
up until about mid March, plus or minus a week or two. The list is not that long.
There are only (9) nine aquatic insects that you need to be able to imitate during
this period.

Blue Winged Olives: (Baetis species)
Nymph:............ Orvis: Mercer's Poxyback Baetis: 18, 20
........Troutflies.com: CDC Biot Emerger: 18, 20
Duns w/TS:
......Orvis: Sparkle Dun: Olive: 18, 20
................Orvis: Blue-winged Olive Parachute: 18, 20
..........Orvis: Crystal Spinner: Rusty: 20, 22

Little Blue-winged Olives: (Acentrella, Diphetor, Plauditus & Timpanoga sp)
Nymph:              Orvis:.Mercer's Poxyback Baetis: 20
Emergers:.........Troutflies.com: CDC Biot Captive Dun: (fHarrop) 20, 22
.................Orvis: Blue-winged Olive Parachute: 20, 22
..........Orvis: Crystal Spinner: Rusty: 20, 22

Note: I am highly suggesting the above (both Blue-winged and Little Blue-winged Olives) flies
because you are going to need them year-round.

Winter Stoneflies: (Capniidae family)
Nymphs:............Orvis: Oliver Edward's Little Black: 16, 18
.............. None

Blue Quills: (Paraleptophlebia adoptive)
Nymphs: ............Troutflies.com: Mahogany Nymph: 18
..........Troutflies.com: CDC Emerging Midge-Dark Dun: 18
..................Orvis: Blue Quill: 18
...........Orvis: Indicator Spinner: Mahogany: 18

Note: This is probably the most important late winter season fly, even more so than the Quill
Gordon, because it hatches over a much longer period of time. Don't be without these

Midges: (Chironomidae family)
Larva:...................Orvis WD-40: 20, & 22 Tan, Olive
...................Orvis: CDC Midge Pupa: 20, 22, & 24
....................Orvis Midge: 20, 22, 24 & 26 Gray, Black, Cream and Olive
Note: I am highly suggesting these flies because you are going to need them year-round.

Little Black Caddis (Brachycentrus species)
Larva:                   Optional
Pupa:...................Troutflies.com: CDC Bubble Back Caddis: Black 16
Adult:................... blueribbonflies.com  X-Caddis  Black 16

Note: This is the most overlooked late winter season hatch. Many days when others are
complaining about the Quill Gordon hatch not happening, being slow, along with a host of
other excuses, you can rack up fishing this hatch if you do it properly.

Quill Gordons (Epeorus pleuralis)
Nymphs:               Pheasant Tail Nymph: 12, 14 (Closest commercial match i know of)
............ Wet Fly - Soft Hackle, Mahogany : 12, 14
....................Orvis: Quill Gordon: 12, 14
.............Orvis: Indicator Spinner: Mahogany: 14

Note: Often when the  Quill Gordon hatch is occurring but the trout are reluctant to take the dry
fly dun from the surface, you can still catch plenty of trout using the soft hackle or wet fly. In fact,
you will catch far more trout using it period. It is just not as much fun as fishing the dry fly. By
the way, the recommended fly for the dun is not that great at all, but you can get by with it. You
would be far better off tying a better imitation.

Little Brown Winter Stoneflies (Taeniopterygidae and Nemouridae Famlies)
Nymph:..................Orvis: Oliver Edward's Little Black: 14, 16, 18

Tiny Black Caddisflies (Chimarra sp)
......................Troutflies.com: CDC Bubble Back Caddis: Black 20

Sculphin and.........Orvis:.Woolhead Sculphin/Muddler Minnows various sizes 4-8

Please keep in mind that we are not recommending any of these companies over anyone else
that sells the same or very similar fly. We have no return favors or other consideration for
listing them. Our only purpose is to provide you, the viewer of this site, information that is
useful. Because there are so many takeoffs and patterns with similar names we want to
recommend specific flies that you can obtain commercially. For those that tie their own flies,
we will also provide our on "Perfect Fly Patterns" that are shown in our
Fly Tying DVDs. Orvis
product is sold by several local fly shops near the Smokies. Troutflies.com and
blueribbonflies.com have the best on-line selection of flies we know of. Umpqua is a fly
manufacturer that sells flies through several on-line stores and retail outlets such as Bass Pro
Shops, Cabelas, LL Bean, The Fly Shop, and others. Some of the local fly shops carry
Umpqua flies.

Coming Up Next:
Hendrickson and the Red Quill (Ephemerella subvaria)

Copyright 2008 James Marsh