Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 04/12/14
Today's weather looks great. The only possible problem I see for those fishing today
is determining the fly to use at any particular time and place with multiple hatches.
Unlike what anglers think, too many insects hatching at a given time can be a
problem. Actually, It is usually better to have only one hatching. In fact, it is actually
better sometimes if there are not a huge number of any one insect hatching. It gives
the trout a chance to select from many naturals over your one fly trying to imitate the
The number of insects hatching is on the way down with the Quill gordons, Blue
Quills, Little Black Caddis about to end, so multiple hatches shouldn't really be a big
problem at most locations.
There are lot of misconceptions about fishing hatches. I just touched on a couple of
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today will be mostly sunny with a high near 77. The wind will be out of the south
around 5 mph becoming calm. Tonight's low will be about 50.
Sunday should be sunny, with a high near 79. South winds will blow about 10 to 15
mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. The low Sunday night is only going down to 57.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 374 cfs at 2.29 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 677 cfs at 2.17 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 151 cfs at 2.79 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but It is slightly high.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
is they are slightly 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
7. Hendricksons and Red Quills: 12/14
8. American March Browns: 10/12
Recommended Fishing Strategy: NO CHANGES
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 of success. 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 and Quill Gordon hatching but
this will occur mostly in the middle to higher elevations. Until I spotted something
hatching, with the Quill Gordon exception mentioned below, I would fish the BWO or
Blue Quill 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 and then switch to an Emerging
Adult or dun. I would also make sure I fished the spinner fall late in the day near dark.
You can catch more trout on the spinner fall and in a much shorter time than you can
during the hatch.
The only time I would change from the nymphs mentioned above is when and if I saw
something hatching, and then I would go to the appropriate emerger or dun/adult
imitation of that insect.
There is a good chance Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, and Little Black Caddis will hatch
today. Any or all of them could hatch but this will only occur in the middle to higher
elevations. There not many of either of these insects in the higher elevations but
there are a some in the few larger, slower high elevation streams.
The Hendricksons/Red Quills are usually concentrated but only in isolated locations
consisting mostly of pools and slower moving water. Most Smoky Mountain anglers
don't have a clue as to how to fish pools. That can be a huge mistake. It is also a
huge mistake attempting to fish them with the poor, generic imitations sold by most fly
shops simply because the trout can see the flies in the slower water of the pools.
Little Brown stoneflies are also likely to 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
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. They
too, are nearing the end of their hatch period.
Tips for Beginners:
Fish the middle elevation streams. There are more hatches occurring there right now
than the lower or higher elevations.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
You can just about pick and choose the hatches to fish by varying the elevation you
Whatever Hits Me:
If you come down the main drag of through Pigeon Forge today headed to the park,
you better add an extra hour for the trip. There will be several thousands at the
Rod Run show. Use the by-pass from Dolly Pardon Parkway to the lower end of
Pigeon Forge and you can easily cruise around the big car show to the last couple of
blocks of Pigeon Forge and take the Gatlinburg bypass and into the park without any
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Please enter your e-mail address in
the box to sign up for a free
subscription to the Perfect Fly "Fishing
Journal". It includes feature articles on
blue-ribbon destinations , fly fishing
techniques, and many other types of
articles of interest to any fly angler. You
can opt out at any time. If you decide
you don't want to receive our
information, just change your status by
clicking at the bottom of an e-mail we
send you in the "Remove" box. We will
not sell or give your e-mail address to
New! If you haven't signed up
previously, please sign up for
our Free Perfect Fly Fishing
Little Brown Stonefly
Blue Quill Dun
Quill Gordon Dun
Little Black Caddis
Male Hendrickson Dun, has a redish olive body,
big tomato eyes
Female Hendrickson, has little eyes and
American March Brown dun (This one is a late
season male a little darker than you will find
them early in the season and the one that was
at one time called a Gray Fox.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing the park and
we will send you a list of our fly suggestions.
Please allow up to 24 hours for a response.
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Call or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select them
and get them to you in time for your trip.
Shipping is free in the U. S. for all orders of
any size. Orders over $50 are shipped free via