Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 03/30/14
If you were here in the Smokies, the difference in the weather you would experience
this morning, as compared to the rest of this coming week, would make you think you
had traveled from Siberia to the Cayman Islands overnight. Yes, that's a little stretch
but the point is, big time weather changes are going to occur this week. By the end of
the week, the problem anglers will have will be change from wishing for something to
hatch, to learning how to handle multiple hatches.
Another good plus is we got just about the perfect amount of rain. The streams are in
great shape. The Oconaluftee River is high this morning but will fall back down within
a day or two.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Snow showers likely this morning, mainly before 8am. It will be cloudy through mid
morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 54. Yikes! Northwest wind will be
around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Tonight's low will be around 33.
Monday will be sunny, with a high near 69. The wind will die down to around 5 mph.
Your looking at temperatures in the middle 70's for most of the coming week.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 553 cfs at 2.65 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 941 cfs at 2.50 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 128 cfs at 2.70 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 probably high this morning.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My
guess, based on the precipitation map, is they are a little high
Current Recommended Streams
Any of the streams in the lower to middle 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 4/6/8
Black Matuka Sculpin
Olive Matuka Sculpin
3. Little Brown Stoneflies: 14
4. Blue Quills: 18
5. Quill Gordons: 12/14
emerging duns (wet fly)
6. Little Black Caddis: 18
Recommended Fishing Strategy:
Keep in mind, the strategies I am recommending is for the maximum odds of
catching numbers of fish. Many prefer or favor a dry fly and by all means there
isn't anything wrong with that. It's just a fact that if nothing is hatching at the time, it
reduces your odds. You can still probably hook some trout, just not as many as if you
fish subsurface. Of course, this is also based on using good techniques and the right
flies. Some guys don't know how to fish below the surface.
There's a chance you could see some Little Brown stoneflies laying eggs this
afternoon. It is also possible to see some Blue Quills, BWO and Quill Gordon
hatching. Until I spotted something hatching, With the Quill Gordon exception
mentioned below, I would fish the BWO or Blue Quill nymph. If I still hadn't witnessed
a hatch, about 3:00 PM, I would switch to a Little Brown stonefly nymph. In an area
where you spotted Quill Gordons hatching the previous day, you should fish the
Quill Gordon nymph until they begin to hatch. The odds are good they will continue
to hatch and the clinger nymphs are out from underneath the rocks exposed.
The only time I would change from the nymph is when and if I saw something
hatching, and then I would go to the appropriate emerger or dun/adult imitation of
that insect. In the Quill Gordon case, if the hatch is taking place and the trout are not
feeding on the surface very much, use the Emerging Quill Gordon wet fly.
There is a good chance the Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, Little Black Caddis and baetis
BWO's will hatch today. Any or all of them could hatch in the lower to middle
elevations. Little Brown stoneflies will likely hatch but the hatch occurs near or after
dark. Fishing the Little Brown stonefly nymph near the banks very late in the day
should be very effective. If you see any Little Brown stoneflies laying eggs, switch to
the adult pattern.
The Little Black Caddis Brachycentrus (American Grannoms) (size 18) hatch mid
water like many mayflies. They don't crawl out of the water. They fly off the water.
Use an imitation of the pupa during the hatch, and adults during egg laying.
Tips for Beginners:
I'm leaving this up for another day; Fish nymphs until you see surface activity and
then switch to your dry fly imitation of what you think is hatching. It will be one of
the above insects.
Some quick tips on identifying them.
Mayfly duns have upright wings. The Quill Gordons are big, size 12 to 14, with dark
bodies and wings, the Blue Quills have very dark wings and bodies and are little, a
size 18, and the Blue-winged Olives have olive bodies and light wings and are little,
size 18. The Little Black Caddis are dark and little, a size 18, with tent shaped down
wings. The Little Brown Stoneflies will be small for stoneflies but fairly large compared
to the other insects other than the Quill Gordons. They are a size 14 with flat down
wings. You will sometimes see them dipping down to touch the water late in the day.
And by the way, you may catch a few fish on a Parachute Adams but they are
really a pitiful imitation of anything hatching at this time of the year. They are
not even close. It is about all the mom and pop fly shops have to sell. If you
want to fish them, we sell them along with all the other generic flies, but at a
$1.00 each and that's delivered to your front door.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Read the above tips on identifying the insects because it is obvious that many of you
that think you are an expert can't even identify the few insects currently hatching.
Whatever Hits Me:
I'm guessing because it isn't daylight yet, but the higher elevations may be white this
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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Little Brown Stonefly
Blue Quill Dun
Quill Gordon Dun
Little Black Caddis