Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 07/29/14
What a difference a day makes. High water levels and much cooler temperatures will
last for at least another day or two.

I overlooked posting this email a week or so ago, but I'm going ahead and doing so
today, because I think it serves two important purposes. It shows how drastic and how
fast downpours from thunderstorms can change the water levels and rates of flow,
especially in streams with steep declinations, and it also provides a report and
pictures of the best brook trout stream in the park - the Raven Fork.

James,
My nephew and I hiked up to Raven’s Fork last Thursday July 17th for a weekend of
fishing. A light rain started during the night on the 17th and continued on and off all
day on Friday the 18th but we still fished Raven’s Fork that day since the rain was
sporadic and never heavy. We had a great time and caught quite a few Brook Trout
and even landed one wayward 9 inch Rainbow. I had heard there was a one time
stocking of Rainbows in Raven’s Fork before the park was created but never thought
we would actually catch one.

About dark on the 18th, the rain started coming down heavy and it rained
continuously all night. When we woke up on Saturday morning it was incredible to
see how the stream had changed. Needless to say, we ended up hiking down since
the stream was no longer safe to fish. Straight Fork at the Hyatt Ridge trailhead didn’t
look any higher that I have even seen it when we got down. It was amazing to see
how small areas less than 3 miles apart could have totally different stream levels.

I’ve attached before and after pictures of the same spot where the bridge crosses
Raven’s Fork. You have my permission to use them if you want to show how quickly a
stream can change in just a few hours. Thanks for the valuable, information packed,
website and the quality products offered through the Perfect Fly Store.
Brad Tirey













































Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today should be partly sunny with a high near 79. Light and variable wind will
become northwest at 5 to 10 mph this afternoon.

Wednesday will be sunny with a high near 77. The wind will be calm.


Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:

Little River: Rate 379 cfs at 2.38 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)

Oconaluftee River: Rate 713 cfs at 2.23 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 91 cfs at 2.52 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)

Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but yesterday afternoon it was
very high.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
I am mostly going by the precipitation map and that indicates the streams should be
flowing high.

Current Recommended Streams
Later on today, provided you use caution if you attempt to wade the higher water
levels, I think you can fish about anywhere in the park. Water temperature shouldn't
be a problem, at least for today. The high in Gatlinburg will only be 79.

Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Eastern Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 14/16
nymphs
emergers
duns
spinners

2. Brown and White Belly Sculpins: Especially good in off color, high water &
early/late in the day
Hook Size 4/6

3.
Light Cahills:
Hook Size 16/14
nymphs
emergers
duns
spinners

4. Slate Drakes
Hook Size 10/12
nymphs
spinners

5. Cream Cahills
Hook Size 16/14
nymphs
emergers
duns
spinners

6.
Green Sedge (Caddisfly):
Hook Size 14/16
larvae (Green Rock Worms)
pupae
adults

7.
Little Yellow Stoneflies:
Hook Size 14/16
nymphs
adults

8. Little Green Stoneflies
Hook Size 16
nymphs
adults

9.
Golden Stoneflies:
Hook Size 10/12
nymphs
adults

10.
Moth Larvae: (Inch Worms): 10/12/14

11. Carpenter Ants, Black
Hook Size 16/18

12. Japanese Beetles
Hook Size 16/14

13. Grass Hoppers
Hook Size 10, 12, 14


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
them.

The
true Sulphurs are still hatching in the Smokies. They hatch in slower water but
often very near fast water runs and riffles. These mayflies are not 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.
Strategy:
Until I spotted something hatching, I would fish a Slate Drake nymph. These big
mayflies are plentiful throughout the streams of the Smokies. They are swimming
nymphs and represent a big meal for the trout that catch them. They have begin
congregating near the banks to crawl out of the water and hatch. That makes them
much easier for the trout to catch and gives you a good opportunity to catch some
nice trout. This will occur off and on from now into  the month of November. The
hatches will increase in late September and early October.

Let me note that if you fish the day before, and know for a fact a certain mayfly listed
above is hatching in a certain area of the stream your fishing, by all means
fish the nymph of that mayfly the next morning up until you begin to see them hatch.
That will always give you the highest odds of success.

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 near the banks of the stream late in the day.
They crawl out of the water 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.

Little Green Stoneflies are also hatching. They tend to hatch in slower water at the
ends of pools, more so than the fast water runs and riffles. They are similar to the
Little Yellows, but have a bright green body and wings. They average a hook size 16.

Golden Stoneflies have been hatching. These will be found in good numbers but only
in isolated areas of some streams, usually where the water has some deep, fast runs.
Like all stoneflies, they crawl out of the water mostly at night. Fishing an imitations of
the nymph late in the day is a good idea, provided you know they are hatching in a
given area. Fish the adult when you see them laying eggs late in the afternoon.

Green Sedges have been hatching and will continue for a few more weeks. There
are several different species of them. 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 beem hatching and will continue for the next two or three 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.  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.

Cream Cahills, similar to the Light Cahills, but a much lighter color mayfly will begin to
hatch within the next few days. They tend to be more of these in the middle and
higher elevations. The duns leave the water very quickly but the spinner fall can
produce some very hot action.

There are plenty of moth larvae hanging from the tree limbs. The moth larvae fly also
imitates the green caddis larvae quite well and is one reason the fly works well in the
Smokies.

Carpenter ants are becoming very plentiful and getting as large as they will get.
There are both black and browns ones in the park but the blacks are more plentiful.
These ants tend to only get in the water when they are washed in by heavy
downpours. It is a good idea to fish them anytime after a thunderstorm.

The same heavy rain scenario applies to the Japanese Beetle. These insects are
very plentiful in the park.  Fish our Perfect Fly imitation of them anytime, but they are
more effective after heavy downpours.

In areas where the streams in the park are surrounded by lots of grass, hoppers can
become a factor in the trout's diet. They are generally blown in the streams by high
wind, but can always accidentally jump in the water. They are not the smartest
creatures on earth.

Tips for Beginners:
Be extremely careful if you try to wade the streams today

Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
None

Whatever Hits Me:
Thank you for visiting our site.
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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