Copyright 2015 James Marsh
Hatches and Flies for Cataloochee Creek (GSMNP) North Carolina
Cataloochee Creek is one of the more fertile streams in the park. Its water is still on the
acidic side of the pH scale, but not quite as low as the other streams in Great Smoky
Mountain National Park. Its insect vary some from the normal park stream but mostly, it is just
more of the same ones and a few more of the ones that are rare in other streams.
One of the first insects to hatch on Cataloochee Creek at the start of a new year are the
Little Winter Stoneflies. About the time these stop hatching you will see the Little Brown
Stoneflies beginning to hatch. They will hatch until the end of April. Some of these are more
black than brown but they are in the same family of Little Brown Stoneflies.
Blue-winged Olive are the most consistent and longest lasting mayfly hatches in the
Smokies. You will start to see them about the middle of February and they will continue to
hatch off and on throughout the entire year. These include the baetis species along with the
Eastern BWOs, Little BWOs and Small BWOs consisting of about 15 different species, some
of which are bi-brooded or hatch twice a year.
Blue Quills will start to hatch about the middle of February and last into the first of April. They
are usually very large hatches that are very consistent. About the same time you will begin to
see the larger Quill Gordons. They hatch until as late as the first week of April in the higher
Mid February will also bring about one of the largest caddisfly hatches of the year - the Little
Black Caddis or Brachcentrus species. This hatch is always very consistent. Short-horned
Sedges hatch starting about the middle of April. These are very small black caddisflies that
are quite abundant. About the same time you should notice the first hatches of the Green
Sedges. They hatch everywhere there is fast water for over two months but never in large
quantities. The larvae, or Green Rock Worms, are eaten by trout all year. At the same time
the first hatches of Cinnamon Caddis show up. They are quite plentiful in Cataloochee
Creek, or moreso than most other park streams. There are also a few Spotted Sedges that
hatch about the same time.
The Hendricksons start hatching near the last week of March. They are short lived, hatching
for only about a month to six weeks at the most. It occurs in moderate water. The hatch in
Cataloochee is as good as it is anywhere in the park, and better than most streams.
March Browns will begin to hatch by mid-April. These mayflies last until the first week of June.
Much more consistent hatches of the clinger mayflies are the Light Cahills. They start about
a week or two after the March Browns and last as long as a month, depending on the
elevation. Similar Cream Cahills will hatch during the summer and early fall but not in large
By the second week of May, Eastern Pale Evening Duns will start hatching. Most anglers call
these Sulphurs but the true Sulphurs will not start to hatch for another couple of weeks. Both
hatches last about a month. They are fairly heavy in certain areas of the stream.
The first of May the Giant Black Stoneflies will start hatching. These hatch at night and
deposit their eggs at night. Nymphs work well in the late afternoons. The Little Yellow
Stoneflies, called Yellow Sallies are one of the Smokies best hatches in the Smokies. They
will start around the first of May and last until mid-July. Another hatch also called Yellow
Sallies, but different species, starts again about September and last for about six weeks.
The Golden Stoneflies start hatching around the first of June and last about five weeks. The
Little Green Stoneflies start about the last week of May and last until July. These are sparse
hatches, but stoneflies in general are very important hatches.
By the middle of August hatches of Little Yellow Quills will start to occur mostly in the higher
elevations. This is a very good hatch that last until the end of October. By the middle of
August, hatches of Mahogany Duns will begin to occur. This hatch last for as long as two
months depending on the elevation.
Also by the middle of August you should start seeing some Needle Stoneflies. These hatch in
fairly large numbers until as late as November, especially in the higher elevations. Many
anglers take them for caddisflies which they resemble in flight. They can be very plentiful.
From the middle of May until the middle of November, a long period of time, you will find
hatches of Slate Drakes occurring. These mayflies hatch out of the water but never in large
quantities. Imitations of the nymphs and spinners can be important. This is one of the best
hatches in the Smokies.
The Great Autumn Brown Sedges, start hatching at night on Cataloochee Creek by the first
of October and last into the first of December.
During the month of June, grasshoppers, beetles, ants and inch worms, all terrestrial insects,
become important food items for the trout. There are few hatches occurring, so most anglers
start using imitations of these terrestrials. The inch worms, or moth larvae, are especially
important due to the large numbers of them in the forest of the park.
In addition to the terrestrial and aquatic insects, theres a lot of other food for the trout. Small
Crawfish is one of those items. The brown trout are especially fond of them. Another one is
Sculpin. These small fish are abundant in most of the stream. Imitations of them can be very
effective. The Black Nose Dace is another baitfish that is important. Streamers imitating
these and other minnows work great especially when the water is slightly off color.
Trout can be caught on imitations of Midge pupae, larvae and adults all year. They can be
very important when the water is cold and nothing else is hatching. Craneflies are
everywhere water exist in the park. The larva and adults are important insects to imitate.
Hellgrammites, or the larva stage of the Dobsonfly, is another abundant insect that is in
many of the park's streams.
We recommend our "Perfect Fly" trout flies for Cataloochee Creek. They are the best, most
effective flies you can purchase and use anywhere trout exist. If you haven't already done
so, please give them a try. We are confident that you'll be glad you did.
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North Carolina GSMNP
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