Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 05/26/14
I missed getting a report out yesterday for one simple reason. I never had the time to
do it. The western fly fishing season is coming on full blast and creating a huge
number of fly orders. We will sell as many flies this 3 day weekend as we did all
month 3 years ago.
I'm usually up and starting to work about 4:00 AM. I have done that for the last few
years because I can get a lot more done when I'm not being interrupted by anyone. I
update our Perfect Fly website files, review the orders that came in over night and go
over any questions or problems I think the girls might have when they start to work
around 9:00 AM. This includes the weekends and holidays because we are just as
busy then as we are through the week.
The past few weeks have convinced me that we need to get more help. Angie has
been telling me that for the last two months. I have a couple of part time people
working along with me on web updates and development, help on our fly fishing
journal and some other isolated things, but getting the orders fulfilled and ready to
ship each day has taken myself, Angie and her mother more hours than there are in
a day. I stay busy on our 800 lines much of the time talking to customers. This goes
on from about 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM most days. That's because we sell as many flies,
leaders and other items to west coast anglers as we do anywhere else in the nation.
There's a 4 hour time difference. If I don't, I have to try to catch up on returning calls
to a long list of people.
I'm working on the idea of setting up a west coast office, which isn't a problem for me
in terms of the normal things you may think would be a problem. I've worked with west
coast companies for the last thirty years. It is finding someone familiar with aquatic
insects and other trout foods, and our matching 450 fly patterns, to the point they are
qualified to help our customers. I don't know the answer to our growth problems yet,
but I know we are going to have to do something and do it before another season
Because I took too much time writing this and because we are still behind, I won't
write an article for tomorrow. I do want to thank all those men and women who died
serving our country, as well as their families and friends who were affected by their
loss. I hope everyone remembers them on this Memorial Day.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
There's a chance of rain everyday for the next week and I hope we get some,
otherwise, we may be in for some problems later on in the late Summer.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 139 cfs at 1.62 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 327 cfs at 1.61 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 81 cfs at 2.47 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby and I haven't seen it this morning
yet, but its probably lower than normal.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
is they are lower than normal.
Current Recommended Streams
I would avoid the lowest elevations. It isn't that you can't catch trout down low. It
certainly isn't too warm yet, but simply because you will have higher odds of success
in the middle elevations. The higher elevations are now in great condition for
catching lots of brookies and you may prefer to do that.
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 16/20
2. Sculpins: Especially good in off color, high water & early/late in the day
Hook Size 4/6
Black Matuka Sculpin
Olive Matuka Sculpin
3. Light Cahills:
Hook Size 16/14
4. American March Browns: 10/12
5. Giant Black StoneflIies: 4/6
6. Green Sedge (Caddisfly):
Hook Size 14/16
larvae (Green Rock Worms)
7. Little Yellow Stoneflies:
Hook Size 14/16
Miscellaneous Hatches Occurring in the Smokies:
Cinnamon Caddis and Little Sister caddis:
I should mention that you may find some Cinnamon Caddis, sizes 18 and 16, about
the middle of the month of May, along with their Little Sister Caddis, size 18. These
are usually found in the slower sections of the larger streams but only in very small
quantities and only in isolated locations within the stream. Abrams Creek has plenty
of both of these caddisflies and if you fish Abrams I suggest you have imitations of
The Eastern Pale Evening Duns have begin to hatch. These mayflies are called
"Sulphurs" by local southern anglers but are not true Sulphurs. They are a size 14
and slightly larger than the true sulphurs and very common in nearby tailwaters such
as the Clinch and South Holston. The true Sulphurs will start to hatch about the first
of the month in the Smokies and at times you may find both species. The Eastern
Pale Evening Duns have more of a tan colored body and hatch in faster water than
the true Sulphurs. The true Sulphurs have more of a sulphur colored body, are
slightly smaller, and hatch in slower water but often very near fast water runs and
riffles. Neither of these mayflies are plentiful in the Smokies. They are crawler
nymphs and found mostly in pockets and pools with areas of softer bottom. They can
be plentiful but only in very small, isolated sections of the larger streams.
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. Right now you have
two completely different size BWOs hatching, one a size 20 and another closer to a
size 16. The only time I would change from the nymphs just mentioned is when and if
I saw something hatching, and then I would go to the appropriate emerger or
dun/adult imitation of that insect.
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.
Giant Black stoneflies are also likely to hatch but the hatch occurs near or after dark.
Fishing the Giant Black stonefly nymph near the banks very late in the day should be
very effective. If you see any Giant Black stoneflies laying eggs, switch to the adult
Little Yellow Stoneflies are hatching. If you see any adults during the day, it is a good
idea to fish an imitation of the nymph late in the day and near the banks of the
stream. They crawl out and hatch during the darkness of the night. You may also
spot some of the females laying eggs. This usually occurs late afternoons and if so,
be certain to fish an imitation of the adult.
Green Sedges should start to hatch in the lower elevation first, and then progress
upstream as the days go by. The do not hatch in big numbers but where they hatch,
trout will focus on eating them because they hatch at a time of day that is different
from other hatching insects at this time of the year. It usually occurs later in the day
near the same time the previously hatched adults are depositing their eggs. You
should concentrate far more on fishing the Green Rock Worm or larva stage of life of
the Green Sedge.
Light Cahills have started hatching and will continue for the next few weeks. This is a
good mayfly hatch for the Smokies and if you encounter any, you want to make sure
you fish it. If you encounter one today, you should fish the Light Cahill nymph in the
morning and for the next few days in the same area. This hatch tends to move
upstream a few days at a time. If you see the duns, you can expect the spinners to
fall late in the afternoon. They are very difficult to see and you probably won't see
them. Just fish the Light Cahill spinner pattern at the ends of the runs and riffles
where they will congregate. If a hatch has occurred, they will be there for certain but
sometimes it is quite late near dark.
Tips for Beginners:
Please don't fall into the category many guys do, and blame low catches on the
conditions. The fishing conditions are excellent. The only ones that are not
catching lots of trout are those who need to learn how to fly fish. In other words,
those that have to have higher flows (faster water) to help cover up there lousy
presentations and their lousy generic imitations of the food (flies) sold by most fly
shops. To catch trout under the low water conditions we are experiencing, simply
means you have to do things the right way.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Maybe you need to read the above tip two or three times.
Whatever Hits Me:
Thanks for visiting
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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