View Full Version : What was it??

02-19-2008, 10:42 PM
While fishing the up by the Tremont (I think) last May we got into a mayfly hatch. The bodies of the Mayflies were a burnt red. Does anyone know what bug that was. Also, while setting on a rock feverishly looking through my fly box for a mayfly with a red body I felt something crawling on my neck. It was a HUGE stonefly, mottled grey, like the ones you see out west (I think they call them salmonflies). Is that strange, I thought the stoneflies in the Smokies were a lot smaller than that. That thing seriously freaked me out when I first caught a glimpse!

02-19-2008, 11:43 PM
While I'm not sure about the mayflies, the large gray stonefly is fairly common throughout southern Appalachian streams. We have several in the #8 size that hatch sporadically in North Georgia. You can find their spent husks on large rocks that protrude out of the water during late Spring/early Summer.

02-19-2008, 11:48 PM
A salmonfly will be almost solid black with a red collar on his abdomen that continues all the way around the neck. Some are a deep brown! They are unmistakable on the water and when there hatching or laying it's easy pickings....That's when fishing is fun, crazy eats!


Hugh Hartsell
02-20-2008, 06:04 AM
Good morning GG,
What you are describing sounds a lot like the Hendrickson Mayfly and the Giant Golden Stonefly. They are both plentiful in the Smokies. There are also some of the very large Salmon flies like you see in the Western waters. Although you're more apt to see the Hendrickson during late March or early April, it may be seen a little higher on the stream in May. I don't know where you live, but we're going to talk a lot about the hatches that will be coming up soon in the Park, at the Flytiers event on Saturday. If you're close enough to swing by the store, it would be a good time to learn about the hatches of the Smokies and how to identify them. You'll see how to match them on the stream, and the time of the year that each one takes place. These hatches are going to be starting in just a week or two.

02-20-2008, 11:17 AM
Thanks for the invite Hugh. Unfortunately, I live in Cincinnati so a quick run into Townsend just isn't in the cards. Any chance someone might be summarizing the great information exchanged and posting it? I know, that's a lot to ask. Wish like all getout I could be there. I'm Jonesing real bad right now.
Anyhoo, thanks for the information on the bugs. I guess I always thought that the Hendrickson was more pink than red, but I know VERY little when it comes to actual insect identification. I'm really good at identifying fly patterns and variations (too much time spent with a nose in catalogues) but not so much with the actual insect. I'm trying to get better and thus the thread.

Thanks again for the information.

Hugh Hartsell
02-20-2008, 11:52 AM
GG, I have been looking at some sites that might give you an explanation as to why you might sometimes see the Pink version of the Hendrickson as compared to the Dark stage. I'll try to connect this link.
This should give you some insight as to what takes place with many of the Mayflies that we see on the stream. If you do tie any at all, this is a good place to practice on different patterns and an excellent place to continue learning about all the hatches that take place in the Smokies. I hope you are able to make it down to the Park a few times this Spring and Summer.

02-20-2008, 01:33 PM
...there is any possibility of the sessions in the shop being video'd and made available online?


02-20-2008, 04:28 PM

Thanks for that link. That was the bug. I think they were in the "cinnamon" stage, plus it was later in the evening, so the setting sun made the bodies "glow" for lack of a better description. I took 3 fish that night on a PMD pattern that I got out in Oregon one year. It has a red biot body and a CDC post with grizzly hackle (I think it is a Harrop pattern). I used it because it was about the right size and had the red body.

I do tie, not expertly, but not poorly either. I am now thinking of trying to get some of those red biots (maybe turkey, or heaven forbid, the expensive "trout hunter" brand) and tying some hendrickson patterns with red bodies. If I can't find some biots I'll use cinnamon dubbing.

Thanks so much for the help and the link. We (two buddies and I) make an annual long weekend, fly-fishing only, no wives, no children, go till we drop trip every spring. We always make at least a stop or two in the shop while we are down, so I'll try and thank you personally when we are in!