Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 11/01/14
It is snowing in Pigeon Forge at this time but so far, it is melting. I don't think any will
stick today in the lower elevations, but I'm sure it will in the park at the middle to
higher elevations. I'm sure they will be closing some roads, so check with the National
Park website for information on what is closed. They do two sentence Tweeter
reports after coffee breaks. It is difficult to tell which way a large area of snow is
moving on the radar, but it appears to be slowing moving in a northeast to southwest
direction. It doesn't look like a very good day for tube floating.
When a strong cold front moves through and the water temperatures drop
substantially, the cold blood of the trout undergo the same changes as the water.
The drop in their body temperature doesn't quite take place as fast as the change in
the water temperature. This usually makes it tough on those brave enough to try to
get them to eat right after a sudden, drastic drop in temperature. After a short time,
usually less than a day, the trout will adjust to the changes and begin to feed as they
normally would feed.
Yes, I know their metabolism won't be quite as high as it was in the warmer water, but
they will still eat. You shouldn't be concerned with how many flies a trout will eat. If
you set the hook right, you only need for them to eat one fly. For example, it isn't a
matter of whether the trout will eat 30 nymphs in the warmer water, versus 25 in the
colder water, like some people think. They still eat in cold water.
Unlike us warm blooded humans, trout don't get "cold". They don't feel a difference
because their blood ends up the same temperature as the water. They won't fight
current to eat like they do in water at higher temperatures for short periods of time.
They tend to stay out of the current and feed on nymphs and larvae where they will
expend less energy.
IN OTHER WORDS, give the water and the trout a few hours to adjust to the drastic
changes taking place, and continue to catch fish by fishing areas of the stream that's
out of the faster currents, such as calmer pockets, eddies, slower pools, holes in the
bottom, etc. The most plentiful food in the lower elevation streams at this time that is
not wedged up under a rock, are small Blue-winged Olive nymphs.
You will find the larger brown trout are in the pre-spawn mode and will aggressively
attack other fish and crustaceans that get near their territory. They have love on
their pea size brains and are not interested in eating as much as their are killing, and
or getting other fish out of their way. IN OTHER WORDS, they will attack streamers,
especially those that imitate sculpin at this time of the year. I need to make some
more changes in the flies and strategies listed below and will do so within the next
day or two.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today, we can expect snow showers before noon, then rain showers. The high will be
near 40. Northwest wind will range from 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
The chance of precipitation is 100%. A total daytime snow accumulation of less than
one inch is possible. Tonight, we can expect more rain and snow showers before
11pm, then a chance of snow showers. The low will be around 28. A new snow
accumulation of less than a half inch is possible.
Sunday, there is a 10 percent chance of snow showers before 8am. It will be mostly
cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 44. North wind will be
around 5 mph.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 167 cfs at 1.78 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 215 cfs at 1.30 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 49 cfs at 2.28 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 in good shape but getting a
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake: Customers
reported Hazel was in good shape as of yesterday.
Current Recommended Streams:
You should fish the lower elevations where trout exist 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.
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 clingers.
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.
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:
Whatever Hits Me:
Thank you for visiting our site. James Marsh, Pending CFO
(Chief Fishing Officer) Perfect Fly
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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This rainbow was caught by Derek Porter last week on the Chattahoochee River
in Atlanta on his first Tenkara fly fishing trip.
Another one of many brown and rainbow trout caught by Derek on his trip
to the Smokies the first of this week.