Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
2.   Little Black Winter Stoneflies
3.   Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish
4.   Midges

Basics of Fly Fishing - Trout Food Series - Stoneflies - Part 3

As mentioned several times, stoneflies crawl out of the water on rocks, boulders
and the banks to hatch. When it gets near the time for the hatch to take place, the
nymphs migrate from their normal hiding places on the bottom of rock in the fast
water runs and riffles to the banks, or occasionally, a rock or boulder. They do this
mostly in low light conditions. You may find them in the shallow water at the banks in
the late afternoons and often in the early mornings. Most of the movement takes
place during the night with majority of the stonefly species that exist in the Smokies.
They usually emerge right at the edge of the water on the banks.

When the adult stonefly emergers from the nymph, it flies away to the bushes. They
can live for a few days. They mate in the trees and bushes and the females return
to the water to deposit their eggs. They do so in the same water they hatched from.

The best time to use a fly that imitates a stonefly nymph is from a few days before a
hatch begins up until it ends. The idea is to imitate the nymph crawling across the
bottom to the bank to hatch. This is best done with the Little Winter Stoneflies and
Early Brown Stonefly hatch from about mid-afternoon until dark, or from daylight
until about mid-morning. If the skies are heavily overcast, then they sometimes
hatch throughout the entire day. You should be able to spot the nymphs shucks
after they start to hatch but remember, these are very small nymphs and the shucks
are not easy to spot like the big Giant Stonefly nymph shucks.

If the banks are clear enough, the best way to do this is to stay back well away from
the bank, cast the fly out into fast water riffles and runs, and bring it back all the
way to the bank on the bottom. The problem is, there are few banks clear enough
to do this. If you can find even a small, clear spot where you can get to the edge of
the water and cast, you can allow the fly to swing around in the fast water to a
downstream position and then maneuver the fly back to the bank with your rod tip.

You can also wade and make your presentations such that the fly is brought along
the bottom all the way to the banks. The best way to do this is to make down and
across presentations in the fast water and then point the tip of your rod towards the
bank. The key to it is to stay well away from the banks or areas where the trout are
looking for the stoneflies. When it's almost dark, or the lighting conditions are very
low, you will often get strikes on the nymph when it is within inches of the bank,
even in very shallow water. If the trout are not spooked, they will often move in very
close to the banks looking for the nymphs.

Remember to keep the fly right on the bottom. You will probably loose one every
once in a while if you are fishing correctly.  

Copyright 2010 James Marsh