Spring is an exciting time of year for fly fishermen. Following the Winter with few opportunities for dry fly fishing in the Southern Appalachians, when the water warms, the action begins. Spring, for purposes of the angler begins when the water temperature exceeds 50 degrees.
Early Spring mayflies are dark, such as those matched by the Blue Wing Olive, Quill Gordon and Blue Quill. You will soon see lighter mayflies like the March Brown and Hendrickson. You may see caddis, specifically the Little Black Caddis. These aquatic insects usually become active in February or early March. Mayfly patterns used in the early Spring include: Blue Wing Olive, Adams Parachute, Quill Gordon, Blue Quill, Blue Dun, Thunderhead and others.
As we move into the warmer periods the mayflies become lighter. Small yellow stoneflies appear. You may still encounter the darker mayflies in the higher elevations where the water is colder, while finding lighter colored mayflies in the lower elevations. Some of the lighter mayflies include: Light Cahill, Light Hendrickson and other Sulphurs. You will start spotting the Yellow Sally Stonefly later in the Spring, along with Brown Stoneflies. If you find a high concentration of small yellow stoneflies, it may be time to try some of the many choices to mimic that insect. They would be the Neversink Caddis, Little Yellow Stone, Extended Body Yellow Stone or Yellow Stimulator. Throughout the Spring a Parachute Adams or Mr. Rapidan in various sizes will produce.
If dry flies are not working well, or you prefer to fish with nymphs, there are many choices that work well during the Spring and most of the year. They include Copper John, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Tellico or Hare’s Ear. You can use the bead head versions or those without beads. The flies you see here are our most popular and productive patterns. These are the flies we recommend for the Smokies during the Spring.