Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 03/11/14
It is disappointing to hear from some guys who had great hopes of catching trout the
past few days but ended up disappointed. On the other hand, we had two customers
who are just getting started that managed to catch from four to six trout
each. The difference was quite obvious. The two guys new at it followed our
instructions and fished a small nymph on the slow side of the current seams and in
the pockets. One fished Little River above Metcalf Bottoms and the other Cosby
Creek. Neither one tied on a dry fly.
Sure, having the right fly is important. Using our Perfect Flies will improve your
success because they are much better imitations of the naturals than the generic
flies sold by fly shops. However, if they aren't selected properly and aren't
fished in the right places at the right times, it doesn't matter what fly you
use. The results will end up being the same - disappointing. That is the first
and foremost problem many anglers have. They try to force the trout into feeding
they way they want them to feed. It never works.
One reason the wrong approach was used by some and the subsequent
disappointment of some, was the nicer, warmer weather made it tempting to fish just
like it was May. The other reason is some listened to anglers who stretch the truth
(sounds better than lies) about what they catch. Some listen to others who never fish
and are only interested in the financial aspects of the sport.
If you haven't made it to the Smokies, you haven't missed anything of any
significance. The so-called Spring hatches of Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, and Little
Black caddis haven't really started. It is also a fact that they are usually overrated
and more often than not, interrupted by cold fronts.
There could be some decent hatches today in a few, lower elevation areas but that
will abruptly come to an end tomorrow for at least the following two or three days.
Where hatches have started, they will continue in spite of the cold weather but those
insects eaten by trout will to a huge extent be eaten within the water column and on
the bottom, not the surface.
I hope no one takes what I am trying to point out the wrong way. Anytime you
can go fishing is a good time. Anytime the weather is nice, it is worthwhile to get
outside and fish. All I am trying to point out is that if catching fish is important, and the
water is still cold, you better stick with using cold water fishing methods and
strategies. Warm air and a lot of hyperbole can lead you in the wrong
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today will be sunny with highs in the upper 50s to high sixties. There is a chance of
showers this evening and a chance of thunderstorms after midnight. Lows will be in
the mid 40s to mid 50s. The chance of rain is 90 percent.
Wednesday's forecast calls for rain showers and a chance of thunderstorms in the
morning...then rain showers in the afternoon. It will be very windy. Highs will range
from the mid 40s to lower 60s. The temperature will fall into the upper 40s in the
afternoon. West winds will be between 20 to 30 mph. The chance of rain is 80
percent. Wednesday night, rain and snow is in the forecast. The lows will be in the
low twenties. The wind will range from 20 to 30 mph. OUCH! The chance of
precipitation is 80 percent. NWS Forecast
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 208 cfs at 1.85 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 393 cfs at 1.75 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 104 cfs at 2.60 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby. It is near a normal level.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
is they are near a normal level.
Current Recommended Streams
Any of the streams where trout exist in the lower elevations.
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 18
nymphs (this would be the main fly)
2. Sculpins: Especially good in off color, high water & early/late in the day
Hook Size 6
White Belly Sculpin
3. Winter Stoneflies: 18/16
4. Little Brown Stoneflies: 14
5. Blue Quills: 18
6. Quill Gordons: 12/14
emerging duns (wet fly)
8. Little Black Caddis: 18
Recommended Fishing Strategy:
There's a chance you could see some Little Brown stoneflies laying eggs this
afternoon. It is also possible to see some Blue Quills and maybe even a Quill Gordon
hatching in the lower elevations. I would fish the BWO or Blue Quill nymph until about
3:00 PM and then switch to a Little Brown stonefly nymph. The only time I would
change that strategy is when and if I saw something hatching, and then I would go to
the appropriate emerger or dun imitation of that insect. The water temperature is
going to in the mid to high forties again today and could reach 50 is a few areas.
There is a good chance the Blue Quills will hatch in the low elevations. They are
usually a little ahead of the Quill Gordons and are more plentiful, but not as easy to
imitate. They are a size 18 mayfly. They hatch is the slower moving side of the
current seams, usually in the shallower pockets and edges of the fast water.
I would still avoid the fast water and fish the slow side of the current seams, pockets
and pools where there is less current. If you see any Little Brown stoneflies laying
eggs, switch to the adult pattern. You will likely see some very small black caddis. I
suggest you ignore them. They crawl out of the water to hatch and we have always
been unable to catch trout trying to imitate them. Although it is probably possible, I
think the BWO nymphs, or even the Blue Quill nymphs which are out and about are
far better options. If you do spot a Quill Gordon, you should try the Emerging Quill
Gordon Dun (wet fly) or Quill Gordon nymph in that same area.
Tips for Beginners:
Good wading conditions exist but avoid getting up on the rocks or any high point.
The objective is to keep a low profile. The higher you are above the water, the better
the trout can spot you.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
For numbers of trout, you still need to favor the nymph.
Whatever Hits Me:
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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