Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 10/22/14
From what little time I have had to spend outdoors during the last couple of days, it
seems like the wind forecast for Gatlinburg of 5 to 10 mph seemed more like 10 to
15. Of course, that isn't bad at all, just not what I expected. It makes little difference
driving down the road (my only outside experience yesterday), unless your going
about 200 mph and my old jeep won't do that. If you're in Pigeon Forge or
Gatlinburg, you will have a difficult time averaging one mile per hour.
I think once the weird, little cold front that is passing becomes history, the wind will
calm down to nothing (Thursday) and be an absolutely perfect day for fly fishing
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I don't think conditions could possibly be any
Yes, I know some of the "self proclaimed Smoky Mountain fishing experts", will claim
the bright sun is the reason they didn't catch as many trout as they could have. If
they finished the sixth grade, they may claim the change in the barometric pressure
shut the fish down a little. If they didn't finish the 6th grade, they may blame it on the
solunar table in their Farmer's Almanac. Yes, I am kidding. Don't take it so seriously.
The bright sun will help those self proclaimed big fish experts looking for spawning
brown trout - the ones that only catch the males and only then, the ones that are so
old they are bound to lose the battle with a younger male - the experts that don't fish
for spawning browns but catch their largest trout when the browns are spawning? -
and only the males who don't play an important role in the mating process. I haven't
figured all of that out yet. I'm either just not that smart or I'm not that big of a liar, one
or the other. I don't even know if most brown trout trophy hunters support abortion
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 58. North wind will range from 5 to 10
mph. Tonight's low will be around 38.
Thursday will be sunny with a high near 65. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph
in the afternoon.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 201 cfs at 1.89 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 299 cfs at 1.51 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 60 cfs at 2.35 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but is back in good shape.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake: Customers
reported Hazel is in good shape.
Current Recommended Streams:
I think you can fish about anywhere you wish today.
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 20/18/16
2. Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Especially good in off color, high water & early/late in the day
Hook Size 6
3. Slate Drakes
Hook Size 10/12
4. Little Yellow Quills
Hook Size 16
5. Great Autumn Brown Sedge:
Hook Size 10
6. Needle Stoneflies
Hook Size 16/18
7. Carpenter Ants, Black
Hook Size 16/18
8. Japanese Beetles
Hook Size 16/14
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, assuming I was fishing a low to mid elevation
stream, I would fish a size 18 Blue-winged Olive nymph. Many of the species of
mayflies called Blue-winged Olives are bi-brooded, meaning they hatch twice a year.
The life cycle is still a year long but there's a spring and fall hatch that occcurs.
These, along with some size 20 and 16 BWO nymphs, are plentiful throughout the
lower to middle elevation streams of the Smokies. They are swimming nymphs that
dart around in short spurts and hide wherever they can. They don't stay wedged up
under the rocks like most of the other mayfly nymphs, the majority of which are
There are still some Slate Drakes hatching in the lower elevations. This will occur off
and on from now into the month of November. If you spot their shucks on the rocks,
switch to a Slate Drake nymph.
Little Yellow Quills are still hatching in some of the higher elevation streams. These
are mostly a mid to high elevation insect, often confused with Light Cahills, but quite
Needle Stoneflies will still be hatching in the mid to high elevations. These are very
narrow, long shaped stoneflies that when in flight, look more like a caddifly than a
stonefly. Like all stoneflies they crawl out of the water in low light conditions to hatch.
The egg layers can provide some great action in the late afternoons.
Great Autumn Brown Sedges, or caddiflies, are hatching. These are large caddis that
hatch during the evening and lay their eggs late in the day and early evenings. If you
camp, you will probably see them around your lights.
Carpenter ants are still very plentiful. 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
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.
Tips for Beginners:
First learn what food it is you need to be imitating, that should determine what flies
you should be using. It isn't really that complicated. Trout will always focus on and
position themselves in the stream to eat the most plentiful and most available food.
It's natures way for them to expend the least amount of energy to acquire the most
Many anglers, in fact most anglers, try to short cut the process and first try
to determine what flies they need to be using. It's the difference in knowing what you
are doing, and just relying on pure trial and error. It makes the difference in being
consistently successful or having to blame the lack of success on the fish or
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
None, I've done enough damage already
Whatever Hits Me:
Thank you for visiting our site. James Marsh, Pending CFO (Chief Fishing Officer)
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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