Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Hatches and Trout Flies for the Chattooga River South Carolina
The Chattooga River is a low to medium gradient stream with a very good population of
The first insects to hatch are the little Winter Stoneflies. They hatch from January through the
month of March. Imitations of the nymph work good during the cold winter. The next stoneflies
to hatch are the Little Brown Stoneflies. They start hatching about the end of March and last
until the end of April.
Blue-winged Olive are the most consistent hatch throughout the year on the Chattooga
River. You will start to see some hatches about the middle of February and they will continue
off and on throughout the entire 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 Quill Gordons.
Mid February will also bring about one of the largest caddisfly hatches of the year - the Little
Black Caddis or Brachcentrus species.
The Hendricksons start hatching near the last week of March. They are fairly short lived. The
normal hatch last for only about a month. This hatch is normally fairly good on the Chattooga
River. It has a lot of moderate flowing water with a suitable habitat for the Hendricksons.
March Browns will begin to hatch about the middle of April. The hatch last until the first week
of June. Much more consistent are the Light Cahills. They start about a week or two after the
March Browns and last as long as three weeks, depending on the elevation.
The middle of April will bring about a hatch of the Short-horned Sedges. 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. This stream has some Cinnamon Sedges. They are not
heavy hatches but they exist in quantities sufficient to interest the trout.
In the middle 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 of
these hatches are usually fairly good.
The Little Yellow Stoneflies, called Yellow Sallies and one of the Smokies best hatches, will
start around the first of May and last until mid July. 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.
By the middle of August, hatches of Mahogany Duns will begin to occur. This hatch last for as
long as two months. Also by the middle of August you should start seeing some Needle
Stoneflies in the headwaters.
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.
The Great Autumn Brown Sedges, start hatching at night 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
Crayfish is one of those items. Another one is Sculpin. 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.
I didn't mention it above, but midges are abundant throughout the stream. They can be very
important when the water is cold and nothing else is hatching. Imitations of the larva and
pupa will catch trout anytime of the year.
Craneflies are everywhere water exist. The larva and adults are important insects to imitate.
Hellgrammites, or the larva stage of the Dobsonfly, is another abundant insect.
We recommend our "Perfect Fly" imitations. They are the best, most realistic flies you can
purchase. They are also the most effective flies you can use anywhere trout exist They have
proven very effective on the Chattooga River. We hope you give them a try.
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