Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Hatches and Trout Flies for the Hiwassee River Tennessee
This is one tailwater that has a very large diversity of aquatic insect hatches. Fish can
be caught on a dry fly just about the entire year. Even on nice, warm winter days, the
dry fly can bring the trout up to the surface.
The midge is the most consistently available insect in the river. Most anglers ignore it
when other insects are hatching as well as during the spring, summer and fall
seasons, but you can actually do well with midge larvae and pupae imitations
Blue-winged Olives, consisting of several different species, hatch just about the entire
year. They can hatch as early in the year as January but they are far more reliable
starting about the middle of March. Most species are bi-brooded and they usually
hatch again in mid September. Hatches of Little BWOs, Small BWOs, and other tiny
species of BWOs may hatch anytime from late spring through December.
Winter Stoneflies are usually present as early as January. Little Brown Early Season
Stoneflies show up about the end of February. Both of these hatches last about a
month. Nymphs are your best bets for the early stoneflies.
Little Black Caddis (American Grannoms) start hatching about the first of March and
last through most of April, depending on the water temperatures. This hatch can be
heavy for a few days.
There is a light hatch of Hendricksons that takes place in April in parts of the river. It is
not consistent and not very reliable, but if you happen to catch it right, it can be
rewarding. There are a few Light Cahills that hatch about the middle of May, but they
are not very reliable. Water levels, discharges and water temperature can drastically
affect these two mayflies.
From about the first of May, all the way through September, Slate Drakes (Isonychia
Bicolor) mayflies hatch off and on. These mayflies usually hatch in short spurts. It can
be heavy at the first part of the long hatch period and then drop off to occur randomly
until near the end of the hatch period, at which time it can again be rather heavy.
May and June usually brings on some decent hatches of Golden Stoneflies. They can
hatch for as long as a couple of months. In June, you will also find some Little Yellow
Stoneflies most anglers call Yellow Sallies.
Sulphurs usually start hatching around the first of May and the hatch can last until mid
June and even later. It can provide some excellent fishing. Little Mahogany Duns
hatch in June but not in heavy concentrations.
There are sparse hatches of Tricos in some of the lower, smoother water sections of
the stream with soft bottom. They can hatch anywhere from July until mid October.
This hatch is greatly affected by water levels. There is also a sparse White Drake
(White Fly) hatch that occurs in September. These are burrowers and exist where
there is soft stream bottoms, mostly in the lower end of the tailwater.
Caddisflies represent a large part of the aquatic insect population. There are several
different species. The majority are net-spinning caddis consisting mostly of Cinnamon
Caddis. Several species of them hatch from about the first of April through August.
There's also some Little Sisters. Green Sedges start hatching in May and last through
June. You will find them in the upper section. From about mid August until mid
November, two species of Little Brown Caddis will hatch. In the fall during the month of
October, the Great Autumn Brown Sedge hatches. These are large caddisflies that
can produce some good trout provided the hatch is fished correctly.
Streamers, imitating Sculpin and a variety of baitfish including shad; and small crayfish
imitations work well just about anytime, especially for the larger holdover trout. There's
also a lot of craneflies, black flies and moths (helligramite) larvae in the water.
Imitations of these insects will work good at times.
The terrestrial season runs from about the first of June through the first frost.
Grasshopper, ant and beetle imitations will catch trout during this time. We even saw a
flying ant fall on the stream during August a few years ago.
As always, we recommend our "Perfect Flies". They are not only the most realistic
imitations of insects and other trout food you can buy, they are the most effective flies
you can use. We hope you give them a try. You can match anything that trout eat in
the Hiwassee River using them.
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
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