Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 11/03/14
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today should be sunny with a high near 61. South wind will be around 5 mph
becoming calm. Tonight's low will be around 35.
Tuesday will be mostly sunny with a high near 66. South wind will range from 5 to 10
mph becoming southwest in the afternoon
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 125 cfs at 1.63 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 234 cfs at 1.35 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 50 cfs at 2.29 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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Perfect Fly Great Autumn Brown Sedge (caddisfly) Pupa that Derek used 6 of.
This is what the trout eat when these large caddis are hatching. It is a hook size
10. The cold weather should put an end to the hatch or they will wake up frozen..
I have posted pictures from Derek Porter's trip to the Smokies the first of last week for the
past three days. I am posting a couple more this morning to remind anglers that you can
most likely experience some more great fishing opportunities in the Smokies this week. The
water should be warming back up into a good temperature range and of course, it will also
be a more comfortable time to fish. The snow melt will keep it a little cooler than normal.
The weather looks very good from now through Thursday with highs in Gatlinburg forecast
reaching into the 60's each day. Friday's high is forecast to only be 49 with a low of 31 and
Saturday 52 with a low of 36. Another front will move though Thursday/Firday. That is still a
reasonable fall temperature range.
The first picture below shows another shot of the Perfect Fly Great Brown Autumn Sedge
Pupa. In case you're not familiar, these are the pupae of the large caddisflies that hatch at
this time of the year. He said he completely destroyed the six pupa flies he had catching so
many trout this past trip. I'm a little late writing this because the hatch will probably be
ending soon, if the cold weather hasn't already ended it.
Derek mentioned he noticed the size of the adults seemed to be smaller than the hook size
10 we sell this fly in. We have over 1200 SKUs for our Perfect Fly patterns and in many
cases on the less important insects, we have tried to select hook sizes that represent the
average, otherwise, we would end up with a few thousand more SKUs.
I went back and looked at our notes from research we did on this caddisfly and noticed I
listed several sizes of the adults we caught over the years ranging from a hook size 10 up to
a hook size 4. Samples came from the Smokies and from 7 more streams all the way from
north Georgia to New Hampshire. The largest size came in October from the Rapidan River
in Shenandoah National Park.
I also went back and studied several entomology books I have on caddisflies, as well as
some fly fishing books such as Gary LaFontaine's Caddisflies. There is a good reason for
the various sizes of the species of the Pycnopsyche genus of the Limnephilidae family, or
tube case makers, which are commonly called Great Autumn Brown Sedges. There are
over 16 different species. The two most common are the guttifer and lepida. We have
identified these two but there are many more, although most of the books say the two above
are far more plentiful.
By the way, these are not October Caddis which are western species, but that's the problem
with common names. There isn't any standard for common name identification. Gary tied his
Deep Sparkle Pupa for the Great Autumn Brown Sedge in sizes 4 to 8, even larger than our
10. I think we found more species than Gary since most of his research was done in the
western states. I haven't had anyone mention the fly being too small and I think by next
season, I will start stocking these pupa and adult flies in hook sizes from 10 and 12. We
stock the October Caddis, (5 species of the Disosmoecus genus) also called a Giant
Orange Sedge, in a hook size 6, but they average an even larger size.
Derek has been a big help with things like this. He is the reason we started stocking the
Little Yellow Stoneflies most anglers call Yellow Sallies in a hook size 16 this past year. Up
until this year, we only carried it in a size 14. There are several different species of the Little
Yellow Stoneflies in the Smokies as well as nationwide. I have never had anyone requesting
the fly larger than a 14 or smaller than a 16, and we have never found any samples of
nymphs or adults of these species any larger or smaller although they may possibly exist.
Notice the Perfect Fly Great Brown Autumn Sedge Pupa in the mouth