Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 11/05/14
I still didn't get any reports from anyone fishing the park yesterday. That's unusual. I
know some visitors were planning on fishing yesterday. I wrote that as if it is important
for me to know who is catching what, when and where, but I actually pay absolutely
no attention to that in-so-far as recommending what other anglers should be doing. I
do pay attention to stream conditions reported by those fishing, particularly if it is for
those streams that we don't have U.S.G.S real-time stream data on. I base all
recommendations on stream flow data, weather conditions, water temperature and
what we know for a fact are the most plentiful and available foods at the time.
What made me think to write about this is that Yesterday, I had a guy ask me about a
non-Smoky stream he called us about, how I knew what flies one should be using if I
hadn't fished it recently or at least received reports from other anglers who had
fished it recently. I tried to explain our recommendations were based on data from
actual samples of larvae and other food from the stream: the weather at the time as
well as weather history for the past several days, water temperature at the time as
well as the average for the past several days; and current stream flow data. We
never base anything on anyone's fishing reports as far as what fly or fishing method
they used. We are always interested in what they observed otherwise.
In case you don't understand the importance of larvae samples, it simply tells one for
a fact what food is available in a given section of water. That, alone with a good
understanding of the type of water and its chemistry, as relates to how well a
particular insect does in that type of water, will give a good idea as to the quantity of
a particular insect. It takes more than one sampling because if it is an aquatic insect,
it may be an egg at the time. This is very general explanation as to how this is done.
Although I could write a book about it, it isn't really complicated. It is something you
can't learn everything about without a great deal of study and effort.
We have a huge data base that took us 14 years of hard work, 180 to 250 days per
year, to put together. We also use data from a few aquatic entomologist familiar with
fly fishing for trout in several streams we haven't personally taken larvae samples
from. There are actually only a few people that fit that category. There is a good
reason why. There's no money to be made in aquatic entomology from a fly fishing
Trout will always focus on the most plentiful and available food for them to eat at any
given time. It is nature's way for them to survive, that is, using the least amount of
energy to acquire the most food.
Let me put this in more common sense terms. Lets say Joe Blow fishes "X" fly for an
hour on a Smoky trout stream and fails to catch a single trout. He then changes the
fly to a "Y" fly and catches three trout the next hour. Most anglers will exclaim the
trout wouldn't hit the "X" fly but they will hit the "Y" fly. That is completely worthless
information that has no real basis for anything. First of all, the time of day he fished
the "Y" fly was different from the time he fished the "X" fly. Unless, he is completely
stupid, he wouldn't have fished the exact same water (beat one section of the stream
to death), rather he would have fished a completely different area of the stream.
Thirdly, if he had of continued to fish the "X" fly, he may well have caught six trout the
second hour of fishing.
Using such trial and error information for a fly fishing strategy would be worth
about as much as having gone to one particular location in the state of Georgia, day
before yesterday, and asking 6 random people on the street who was going to win
the Senate Race.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today, we can expect showers, mainly before 7am. It is now 5:00am and raining, but
the radar shows it won't last much longer. The high will be near 60. West wind will be
from 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. The chance of precipitation is 90%.
Tonight, there's a chance of rain showers before 5am, then a slight chance of rain
and snow showers. It will be mostly cloudy with a low around 34.
Friday, there's a 10 percent chance of snow showers before 7am. It will be partly
sunny with a high near 51. 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 261 cfs at 2.07 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 265 cfs at 1.43 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 47 cfs at 2.27 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but it is probably getting a little
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake: Customers
reported Hazel was in good shape as of yesterday. There's been little snow melt
Current Recommended Streams:
You should fish the lower elevations where trout exist today. It is difficult to tell at 5:00
am this morning just how much higher the streams will get but I don't expect them to
get very much higher.
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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