North Carolina Fly Hatch Chart

The North Carolina hatch chart will help you identify the most popular aquatic and terrestrial insects that inhabit rivers and streams throughout the state—including hatch dates, emergence timing, recommend fly patterns and sizes. This chart is not all inclusive. For a more detailed list of hatches, you’ll want to review hatch charts for the specific river you’ll be fishing. However, the following chart covers the majority of the hatches you’ll encounter when fly fishing North Carolina rivers and backcountry waterways.

north carolina fly hatch chart

North Carolina Fly Hatch Chart

North Carolina fly hatch chart including hatch dates, emergence times, fly sizes and patterns.

Midges18–24January-DecemberAfternoons warm daysBlack, Gray, Olive, and Cream Midge, Griffith‘s Gnat, Renegade
Blue Winged Olive18October-MarchEarly afternoon warm daysBlue Winged Olive, Adams
Early Black Stone Fly18October-MarchAll dayBlack Stone Fly Adult, Black Elk Hair Caddis
Blue Quill16–18Late March-Early AprilMorning to early afternoonBlue Quill, Adams
Quill Gordan12–14Late March-Early AprilEarly afternoonQuill Gordon, Adams
Hendrickson14AprilAll dayHendrickson, Red Quill
March Brown12Mid April-MayAll dayMarch Brown, Adams
Giant Stone Fly12Mid April-Early MayEarly morningStimulator
Black Caddis14–16Mid-April-Early MayMid morningDark Elk Hair Caddis, Dark Thunderhead
Mottled Brown Caddis4–8April-JuneAll dayElk Hair Caddis, Thunderhead, Irresistible Adams
Light Cahill14–18May-SeptemberAfternoon to eveningLight Cahill
Sulphur14–18May-JulyLate afternoon to eveningSulphurs, Yellow Humpy, Yellow Hammer
Green Sedge14–16May-JuneAll dayGreen Rock Worm, Light Elk Hair Caddis, Green Humpy
Dun Variant12June-SeptAll dayAdams
Yellow Stone Fly14–16June-JulyLate afternoonsYellow Sallie, Stimulator, Yellow Palmer, Tellico Nymph
Golden Stone Fly6–12July-AugustEarly morning and duskStimulator
Terrestrials/AttractorsVariousJune-SeptemberAll dayBlack Ants, Inchworms, Beetles, Crickets, Royal Wulff, Royal Coachman

Major Hatches in North Carolina by Month and Season

Knowing which fly hatches are occuring and when is useful for planning a successful fly fishing trip. Below we’ve listed the most important fly hatches by season you’ll want to pay attention to when planning your next fly fishing excursion in North Carolina’s trout waters.

January — March

Later winter and early spring is nymphing season and prime time to catch the trophy browns that habitate many of North Carolina’s trout fisheries. It’s also the season for streamer fishing and there’s no better way to hook a lunker than fishing two streamers at the same time. A small streamer followed a couple feet from behind by a larger streamer is a perfect setup for fly fishing during North Carolina’s colder months.

Midge hatches are present all winter long through early spring. Gray and olive midge, griffith gnat, and renegade patterns are your best options. February through March your target hatches are Blue Winged Olives (BWO) and Early Black Stoneflies. Elk Hair Caddis and Adams are your go-to patterns. Early spring entering into March, Blue Quill and Quill Gordon hatches take center stage.


By April, spring is well under way and aquatic insects hatches are prolific. During April nymphing is the name of the game and matching the hatch is critical for many of North Carolina top trout fisheries including the Tuckasegee River, Straight Fork Creek, Little River and many more.

Midge, Blue Quill, and Quill Gordon hatches continue through April with the introduction of Hendrickson, March Brown, Giant Stone Fly, and Black Caddis hatches mid month. Red Quill is one of the best patterns for targeting Hendrickson hatches. Stimulators are ideal for mimicing giant stone flies. Top caddis patterns include Elk Hair Caddis, Thunderhead, and Irresitible Adams. For mayfly hatches you can’t beat an Adams.


There are more hatches during May than any month of the year, as well as more fish aggressively feeding. The opportunities for anglers are huge but with all the activity it can be challenging to hook a trophy trout without a good presentation.

Light Cahill, Sulphurs, Black Caddis, and Green Sedge are the new hatches you want to prepare for. Midge, March Brown, BWO, and Giant Stone Fly hatches from April continue into May. A few of the best patterns to have on hand during May include Dark Elk Hair Caddis, Blue Winged Olive, Adams, and Green Rock Worm.


June ushers in the beginning of North Caronlina’s hot summer season—especially toward the end of the month. Brook trout are now in full feeding mode offering anglers some great fly fishing action in the mid to high elevantion streams and rivers.

Light Cahill, Sulphurs, Mottled Brown Caddis, and Green Sedge hatches continue from May into June, with Dun Variant and Yellow Stone Fly making their debut. Yellow Sallie, Yellow Palmer, and Stimulator patterns are perfect for targeting Yellow Stone Fly hatches. For Dun Variant your go to is the trusty old Adams.

Toward mid-June expect to start seeing more terrestrials along the river banks with vegetation. Black Ant, Beetle, Cricket, Royal Coachman, and Royal Wulff are your go-to terrestrial patterns. Inchworm patterns are also effective.


The best way to describe July in North Carolina is ‘The heat is on.’ Summer heat can put pressure on trout fishing especially in lower elevation trout fisheries. July is a great month to head for the high country and try your hand fishing some dry flies in cool water streams and rivers. Angler report a dry-dropper rig—a dry fly followed by a sub-surface fly or nymph—is one of the more productive presentations.

Most of the hatches that began in June continue through July. But we do see Golden Stone Fly hatches added to the mix and terrestrials really begin to take center stage on many of North Carolina’s trout waters. For targeting Golden Stone Fly hatches you’ll have best success with a good stimulator pattern. When fishing terrestrials, it’s important to match the hatch. Trout will quickly strike terrestrial patterns they’re familiar with, while ignoring those they don’t immediately recognize.


If you’re going to target trout during the dog days of August, you want to focus on the higher elevation creeks and streams where the water is relatively cool and the trout remain active. You’ll find good brown and brook trout activity throughout August in many higher elevation fisheries.

August hatches are a bit more sparse, but not non-existent. Some of your staple patterns including Griffith’s Gnat, Adams, stimulators, and Light Cahill will continue to produce. Fishing black ant, beetle, cricket, and hopper patterns, while matching the hatch for the region your fishing, is also productive. Royal Wulff and Royal Coachman are two top producing terrestrial patterns.


September is a transition month that marks the end of summer and beginning of cooler days and nights. Most of September is still hot but the morning and evenings begin to cool down toward the end of the month. For the first two weeks of September stick to mid elevations and higher.

The main hatches during September are Light Cahill and Dun Variant. Midge patterns continues to produce throughout September and terrestrial patterns will produce through the end of the month.

October — December

Weather really starts to cool down starting October and continues to get colder through the end of December. Trout fishing in October is strong and November provides the opportunity to hit some of the delayed harvest creeks and rivers to chase recently stocked trout. November can provide some great non-stop action for trout anglers.

The key to fishing these colder months is to downsize your line and flies. Water is clear and a smaller 6x or 7x tippet is required. Dry flies are out and nymphs and streamers are in. Hatches include Midges and Early Black Stone Fly. Smaller BWO hatches are sporadic. Black midges, Y2k eggs, jelly leeches, pheasant tail jigs, Adams, Black Elk Hair Caddis, and Black Adult Stone Fly patterns are top producers.