03/18/12

Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
Hatching:
1.    Midges
2.    Blue-winged Ollives and Little BWOs
3.    Blue Quills
4.    Quill Gordons
5.    Little Black Caddis (
Brachycentrus)
6.    
Little Brown Stoneflies
7.    Hendricksons & Red Quills
8.     American March Browns
Most available/ Near hatching and/or other types of available food:
9.     Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)

Understanding U.S.G.S. Stream Data for the Park
I don't think I mentioned this before, but a couple of months ago we made several
changes in our
"Links" page. Many think of a links page as a long list of other websites
put there where links are swapped with other sites for purposes of increasing website
traffic from the search engines. We don't swap links with anyone for that purpose.
Our
links page has several links to other sites we think are helpful and important
for those planning on fishing the park.
One set of those links are links to U.S.G.S.
Stream Data for streams that exit the park.

With all the rain recently, and more on the way this Spring, I thought it may be helpful to
provide some information about how to read the charts and data from the U.S.G.S.
Website. Below, in coral color are the summaries we provide on our links page.

These graphs and the data can be very valuable information. It can provide a good
idea of what to expect prior to your making a trip to the particular watershed.

The stream flow measurements are given in cubic feet per second or cfs. The graphs
show little triangles that show the average measurements of flows for the particular day
of the year.

Little River above Townsend
Up to 250 good wading levels, 250 - 400 wadable but use caution, 400 - 700 wading not
recommended,  900 up - blown out.

The comments regarding the flows listed above for wading are just my personal
suggestions for the larger areas of Little River. For that matter, the same thing applies
to the data for Cataloochee Creek and Oconaluftee River listed below. Consider this:

1. What's safe for one person isn't necessarily safe for another. A four year old child, or
an man that's 98 years old cannot wade current as safely as a 21 year old athlete.
2. What a guide may contend as being safe would probably be less conservative
because for one thing, they would be around to advise and help their client if something
went wrong.
3. Different parts of the streams have different current flows and of course, the
pressure exerted by current varies with depth. In other words, it's possible to pick and
choose areas of water that may be safe when the streams are running a little high.

Whenever your wading, high or low water, strong or weak current, keep your wading
belt tight around your waist and use the knee deep rule.

Now that my disclaimer is finished, let's get back to the Little River Data.
The Little River data can give you a good idea of the flows of all three major Prongs, or
the West, East and Middle. It can also give you an idea of what Abrams Creek is doing
since it's water comes at least partially from the same watershed. Keep in mind that
isolated thunderstorms, as opposed to wide spread thunderstorms and associated
precipitation, can increase the amounts of flow within these individual prongs. The
USGS station is located outside of the park on Little River in Townsend and is a
measure of the water coming from all three prongs. Most of the flow comes from the
main Little River, but all three prongs can influence the flows. If you enter the park at
the south entrance at Townsend you can see the flows from all three within a short
drive of the entrance because all three flow together near the entrance.

Keep in mind, this areas of the park (the Townsend Entrance) is at a very low elevation,
more suitable for smallmouth bass than trout, and during most of the season other than
during the Winter, this entrance to the park puts you several miles from where you
should be fishing for trout. The stream data provided from the station does give you a
good idea of the flows in the Elkmont area, for example. Just keep in mind that it takes a
few hours for the water in that area to get downstream to the station and if it has rained
in the higher elevations of the watershed, it will take a few hours for the station to reflect
the changes.

Cataloochee Creek, downstream of park but useful
Up to 125 good wading levels, 125 -150 use caution, 150 to 250 not recommended, 250 up blown out.

This graph works well for all streams in Cataloochee Valley. It isn't inside the park and
like the other two stations, it takes the water a good while to reach the stations from the
streams, especially the headwater streams like Palmer Creek, Caldwell and Rough
Creeks.

Oconaluftee River downstream of park but useful
Up to 500 wadable, 500 to 700 high use caution, 700 to 900 wading not recommended, 900 up blown
out

The Oconaluftee River U.S.G.S. station is located quite a ways downstream of the park
boundary. It's in the lower section of the Cherokee Reservation. In other words, the
water from the park takes a good amount of time to reach the station. It does provide a
good idea of what to expect. It works well for Bradley Fork but here again, the water
there takes a few hours to reach the station. It could have rained in the watershed,
raised the levels in upper Oconaluftee and Bradley Fork and not be detected at the
station for a few hours. By the same token, if it has rained a few hours earlier in the day
or night, the water could be falling out in the upper areas of the watershed and be
fishable even when the station shows the levels still high. To judge this properly for any
of the streams, you need to have an idea of the rainfall amounts in the park. That's
easy to get. Use the National Weather Service
Precipitation Map. It will show what you
need to know to be able to judge this and for that matter, flows given at the other two
U.S.G.S. stations.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh