Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 04/15/14
Today isn't going to be a good day for anyone wishing to fish the streams of great
Smoky Mountains National Park. It is 5:00 AM this morning and according to the
radar, raining throughout the entire park. It has just started raining here in Pigeon
Forge, but the rain is moving in a southwest to the northeast direction. It is a weird
morning, weather-wise. The temperature outside is now in the low sixties but will
drop until around noon to as low as 40 degrees (right the opposite of a normal spring
morning), then start rising from around noon until later today, and then start falling
again until early morning tomorrow. It will likely snow in the high elevations. If I were
you, I wouldn't leave the house in a short sleeve shirt this morning.
There could still be a few Quill Gordons, Blue Quills and Little Black Caddis hatching
in a few isolated places but for the most part, they are done for the year.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Rain is expected, mainly before 2pm. Today's high will be near 53. Winds will be
around 10 to 15 mph becoming northwest in the morning. Winds could gust as high
as 25 mph. The chance of precipitation is 100%.
Tonight, there's a chance of rain showers before 11pm, then scattered sprinkles and
flurries between 11pm and midnight. The low will be around 26. Wednesday will be
sunny, with a high near 62 and a low around 33. NWS Forecast
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data: These
will change throughout the day
Little River: Rate 307 cfs at 2.13 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 601 cfs at 2.04 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 130 cfs at 2.71 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 about normal.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
is they are about normal levels.
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. Hendricksons and Red Quills: 12/14
5. American March Browns: 10/12
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 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.
Until I spotted something hatching, I would fish the BWO nymph. 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.
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
American March Browns are hatching but they are always sporadic hatches that are
difficult to predict in terms of the time of day. They will hatch off and on over a long
period of time, for the next couple of months. If you see any duns emerging, change
to an American March Brown emerger or dun. That also means there will be a
spinner fall late in the day near dark and that always concentrates them. You can
catch several trout very fast if you catch that right. It will be the same with the
Hendricksons but in a completely different type of water. The AMBs will fall in the
riffles and runs and the Hendricksons/RQ in the end of the pools.
Tips for Beginners:
I do not recommend you fish today due to chance of strong wind and possible high
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
It will take some time for the trout to adjust to the sudden drop in water temperature.
They will go through a transition from where they will only take a fly if it is presented
smack in front of their nose, to back to a normal feeding pattern within the next 24
hours. It isn't the lower water temperature as such that's the problem. It is
the drastic change their internal body temperature goes though that's the
problem. Don't expect them to do much feeding on the surface for the next few
hours. They won't. You have to slow down and fish as if it is the middle of the winter
until they re-adjust and then they will feed normally even if the water temps remain
lower than it has been.
Whatever Hits Me:
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