Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 04/16/14
The wind and cool weather has passed and things are looking up for the next few
days. The water will be a little colder than it has been but that should have little effect
on anything. The number of hatches are fewer and will remain that way for a couple
of weeks. Blue-winged olives and American March Browns will be the most consistent.
I didn't write they will be very consistent. I said the most consistent. Hendrickson/Red
Quill will continue to hatch but remember they occur in isolated areas and mostly the
pools. The trout will be a little sluggish this morning but by noon, things should be
back to normal and in good shape provided you use the right strategies.
I keep hearing and reading about concern over sunny days. This affects the larger
brown trout but during the day at this time of the year the large browns stay wedged
up under boulders and rocks for the most part. The small browns and rainbows that
feed on aquatic insects are not affected at all by the sunlight. In fact, at times they
seem to feed better on bright days even though the hatches of most aquatic insects
are not as prolific as they are on cloudy days. We have caught 50 to over a hundred
trout in the Smokies many times when the sun was high and bright. They didn't just
feed up under a tree in the shade either.
Also, another point of confusion is this. It isn't the number of insect on the water at
any time that's a big deal. It fact, that often makes it more difficult to catch trout on
the dry fly. They simply have a lot of real insects to choose from. If your using
generic flies that usually imitate the insects very poorly, your really in trouble when
lots of bugs are on the water. Often you do better when only a very few insects are
This isn't rocket science. They more your flies look like the real things, the higher
your odds of fooling the trout. Of course, this also includes the presentation of the
fly. It too, needs to be as realistic as possible.
The next excuse I'm expecting to hear is the red moon has fouled things up.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today will be sunny, with a high near 63. Northeast wind will range from 5 to 10 mph
becoming light in the afternoon. The low tonight will be around 33.
Thursday will be sunny, with a high near 65. Southeast wind will be 5 to 10 mph
becoming light and variable in the afternoon. The low Thursday night will be about
40. 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 357 cfs at 2.25 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 670 cfs at 2.04 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 140 cfs at 2.16 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 just above normal.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
is they are a little above 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 spinners in the end of the pools.
Tips for Beginners:
If you stop worrying about things you have no control over and take care of those
things you can control, you will succeed in catching trout.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Read the tip for beginners.
Whatever Hits Me:
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Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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