Stoneflies Beginning to Show Up in Force in the Smokies

Stonefly Husk

There are still plenty of mayflies and caddis flitting about in the Smokies but we’re starting to notice more stoneflies everyday. The early brown stones are still out in force laying eggs on the water throughout the afternoons, but we’re beginning to see far more variety.

There have been large, medium, and small stoneflies buzzing around and the rocks show the evidence of the husks they leave behind after hatching. Most importantly, we’re starting to see the first Yellow Sallies of the season.

Yellow Sally On Moss

It’s still a little early to start fishing the Yellow Sally fly patterns, but we’re getting close. We always remind anglers to wait until they see significant number of these stoneflies laying eggs on the water before fishing a dry fly imitation. It’s relatively common to see them crawling about on streamside boulders, but most have yet to find themselves in front of a hungry trout.

Yellow Sallies migrate along the stream bottom to emerge on the river bank or boulders outside of the water like all stoneflies. Some nymphs are certainly eaten by trout, but the adults rarely find themselves in the water until they lay eggs.

Right now Mr Bownstone and Orange Stimulators are good representations of the egg laying brown stones. We’re probably the biggest fans of dry fly fishing that you know, but right now nymphs are hooking more fish than dries on our guided trips. The exact pattern isn’t important, but of course Tellico Nymphs, Tellico Princes, Pheasant Tails, and Copper Johns are at the top of our list.