Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 11/08/14
I had an unusual experience yesterday. I noticed some beautiful plants blooming in
the thick woods upon the bank on the upper side of the house and I climbed up there
to see what kind of plants they were. They were only about 6 inches high and solid
yellow and orange. All of a sudden, within about 5 feet of my feet, a covey of
Bobwhite Quail few up and scared the daylights out of me. Within a half of a second I
knew what they were, but not having experienced that in a few years, the noise from
a flushing covey of quail coming up from almost underneath my feet shocked me..
Instantly, scenes of bird hunting with my dad flashed across my mind.
He was a very avid quail hunter. The Birmingham News, outdoor sports writer, Don
Cummins, wrote many articles in his "Fins and Feathers" column about my father. He
came up to Arab, Alabama, my hometown, back in the 1950's and hunted with him
Joe and Jude, his prize pointer bird dogs, were highly trained. They would point the
birds, not ever flush them, and pick them up and hand them to you after they had
been shot. They never bit down on them to as much as to ruffle the feathers,
knowing they would be in trouble with Cecil Marsh.
Where did we hunt in my early years? Well, although dad hunted everywhere, when I
got to go with him, we usually just grabbed the sweet 16, whistled for the dogs (they
were never put in a pen), and walked away from the house to thousands of acres of
farmland and woods. I never knew anyone back in those days that didn't allow bird
hunters on their property. Posted property didn't exist back then. We would only have
to go a few hundred yards before Joe and Jude would be pointing a covey of quail. I
had quail to eat for breakfast very often and always once or twice a week during the
hunting season. The freezer would usually be full of what we couldn't eat fresh during
Those are the first quail I have seen near the house and in fact, I don't think I have
ever jumped a covey in the park. I saw a coyote in the front yard this spring. I see
wild turkey in my private green field across the road. I call it my private green field
and it really isn't, but it is a perfect patch of green grass smack in the middle of the
woods about 40 yards from the front porch where I have seen about every kind of
animal that lives here. That brings up the next topic.
We have bears around the house every once in a while, but often during the fall of
the year at this time. We never put garbage in the can until early in the morning when
the city of Pigeon Forge picks it up. If we did, we would have bears in our yard every
day of the year. I learned that the hard way when we first moved here from
Gatlinburg. It happened in Gatlinburg very often since we lived only a couple of
blocks from the National Park. When we moved to Pigeon Forge, I thought we were
through having to deal with bears but I was bad wrong. We see them all year but
mostly during the fall months.
Angie walked out in the front yard with Biddie last night, without turning on the front
flood lights, and Biddie went nuts. With them only about twenty feet away, a bear that
in the dark looks about like the big garbage can, turned over our empty garbage can
which stays at the edge of the road all the time. It rolled the can out into the middle of
the street and didn't leave until it was convinced it was empty. I had to get dressed
and go get the can out of the street so a car wouldn't get wrecked. Angie isn't afraid
of bears and that bothers me, but I bet she turns the lights on when walking Biddie
for at least the next few nights. We have video taped, often at close ranges, over a
hundred bear scenes, or actually there are more bears than that since often there
was two or three. We have done that in the park here, New York, New Jersey, several
north western states including Yellowstone, Colorado and probably more locations. I
have over 6 hours of video shot with professional 3 tube/3 chip cameras on bears
and have yet to get around to doing anything with it. Oh well, I'm getting off subject.
We live in the vicinity of several rental cabins, and visitors either don't know, or don't
care, if they are warned by the owners, not to put food or the packages, cans and
containers that food comes in, in the garbage. Unlike Gatlinburg, apparently there
isn't a rule requiring them to have the big, heavy metal top loading, lockable cans.
We never bring the empty large, plastic container on wheels near the house. We
learned that the hard way, when a big bear was starring me in the eyes out my half
glass back door with only the big garbage can between me and him/or her. I had
pulled it up to the door, so I could toss the bagged garbage from the garage into the
can without having to go out the door in cold weather. Brave me, opened the door,
only three or four feet from the bear, but separated by the big can. It was standing on
its hind feet with its front legs on top of the can trying to open it. I yelled as loud as I
could to scare it away, thinking it may break the glass and try to come in the kitchen.
It never moved! It just looked at me like, "leave me alone". Biddie was going nuts
barking as loud and fast and she could, and is the only reason I knew the bear was
at the back door. Me yelling and her barking didn't phase it. That meant only one
thing. It was a dangerous bear.
I didn't call anyone to come and trap the bear. I knew it was completely my fault. An
empty garbage can smells even though we do wash it down good with bleach very
So, if you go fishing in the park today, and you certainly should, beware of garbage
cans and quail.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today, will be mostly sunn, with a high near 59. South wind will be around 5 to 10
mph, becoming west in the afternoon. Tonight's low will be around 37.
Sunday, will be mostly sunny with a high near 55. Calm wind will come out of the
northwest 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 291 cfs at 2.15 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 286 cfs at 1.48 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 46 cfs at 2.26 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 near normal.
I won't see it until later this morning.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake: I don't
have any reports but my guess is it is about normal and in good shape.
Current Recommended Streams:
I recommend you fish the lower to middle elevations. The brown trout are spawning,
so please leave them alone so they can raise some children for us to play with.
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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