Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2. Cinnamon Sedges (Caddisflies) (Abrams Creek)
3. Green Sedges (Caddisflies)
4. Little Sister Caddisflies (Abrams Creek)
5. Little Yellow Stoneflies -Yellow Sallies
6. Slate Drakes
7. Little Green Stoneflies
8. Golden Stoneflies
15. Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
New Series on Fly Selection and Presentation - Part 3
Note: If you missed parts one and two, please read them.
There are four basic types of mayfly nymphs - clingers, swimmers, crawlers and
burrowers. Most stonefly nymphs are clingers. Caddisfly larvae come in three basic
types - cased, net-spinning and free living. Most midge larvae are burrowers.
As mentioned before, all of the above are sometimes classified as "nymphs" by
some fly shops and anglers. Most of the better shops are now breaking them down
into the proper classifications.
These four types of mayfly nymphs are more to do with the behavior of the nymph
than the appearance. For example, both the Slate Drake nymphs and Blue-winged
Olive nymphs are swimmers. They both swim but they don't resemble each other at
On your left is a Blue-winged Olive nymph, a baetis species, and on your right a
Slate Drake nymph. As you can see, the two don't resemble each other very much
at all. The baetis has a much larger wing pad area, shorter abdomen with gills so
tiny you can barely see them in the low quality image. The Slate Drake has large
gills and a long abdomen.
The big difference is shown above. This is a side view of the Slate Drake nymph
which easily lays down on its side. You cannot lay the BWO nymph on its side at all.
The point I am making is the two nymphs are shaped completely different. The Slate
Drake is round and the BWO nymph more flat that round.
Now keep in mind, both of the above nymphs are swimmers.
Above is an American March Brown nymph. Compare it to the BWO and Slate
Drake nymphs above. There isn't any resemblance. What you can't see in this
image is the difference in the depth or shape of the nymphs. The BWO is flat
compared to the Slate Drake which is round, but nothing like as flat as the March
Brown clinger. It's head is even flat and in fact some scientist call them flat heads.
The are flat enough to always be found under rocks on the streambed. The BWO
can get down between rocks but not really under them in tight spaces. They hide in
crevices and so do the Slate Drake nymphs.
These (3) three mayfly nymphs are very common in Great Smoky Mountains
National Park. Not only do they not look anything alike, they don't live in the same
areas. The BWO and Slate Drake swimmers live in the slow to moderate water in
the fringes of the streams, not in the fast water of riffles and runs. The March
Brown nymphs live on the bottom under rocks in the fast water riffles and runs. Not
only do you need different flies to imitate them, you need to fish them in
completely different areas of the streams.
The top two images are of the Hares Ear Nymph on top, and the Bead Head Hares
Ear Nymph on the bottom that we sell at Perfect Fly for $.79 each delivered. Aren't
they pretty? Don't they look like the three nymphs shown above, or the BWO,
March Brown and Slate Drake nymphs?
No they sure don't
Lets look at two of the three basics, size (we can control this), shape and color.
The shape of the Hares Ear is more like the Slate Drake than the other two but it is
still far off because it's two short and stubby. The color isn't close at all.
It's far to thick and bulky in the abdomen for a BWO nymph. It doesn't resemble a
March Brown nymph at all. It isn't flat, it's color is completely different and where
are the big legs on the fly that matches the real March Brown nymph?
Will they catch trout? Yes, of course but keep in mind you probably couldn't tie a
fly made out of normal fly tying material that wouldn't catch a trout. The question
becomes, when they are used at the right time and place where there's a
concentration of either of the above nymphs, will the Hare's Ear catch more trout
than a fly that closely imitates the looks and behavior of the real nymph. The
answer is , "No they won't".
Some will respond with "the Hare's Ear is a good searching fly". I respond to that
with, "If you know what you are doing you don't need to search". There will be
much more on this coming in future articles in this series.