Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 12/17/14
I was a little surprised at the lack of rain during this last frontal passage. It flew
through at the speed of light. I'm reluctant to guess at what the approaching front is
going to deliver, but it appears that it will be around a lot longer than the last one.
Maybe the weather guys will have a clearer picture by tomorrow.
Believe it or not, there are some out of town guys wanting to fish this coming
weekend. My guess is they are here at their wife's request to do some last minute
shopping. Manhattan, New York, doesn't have anything on Pigeon Forge in that
regard. Half the population of the south seems to be in town.
Tuckasegee River, North Carolina, part 1:
The Tuckasegee River begins in the North Carolina mountains from several small
tributary streams. It combines into two forks, the East and West forks, both of which
are dammed. The two cold water discharges combine into one river that provides a
suitable habitat for trout for most of the year. Notice I said "most" of the year.
Because of that, it was one of the first "delayed harvest streams" in the country and
in the first state in the nation to start the delayed harvest regulations.
The popular Delayed Harvest section is approximately five miles long and located
between the small towns of Dillsboro and Sylvia, North Carolina. It is heavily stocked
by the state during the fall and winter months with brown, rainbow and brook trout.
I have several favorite stories about fly fishing the Tuck. The best story occurred
when Angie and I took a guy to the river visiting us from her hometown in Florida.
Randy had caught bream and bass from local north Florida creeks and the Escambia
River, but had never caught a trout. We knew the Tuck would be a good choice
because to make it simple, catching trout there is about as easy as it gets.
I rigged up Randy a rod with a bead-head hare's ear nymph under an indicator (this
was before we started Perfect Fly company) and waded out in the river with him to
demonstrate how to cast what he called a funny looking fly rig. I explained the
indicator was no different than a bream float and I also figured that would be his best
shot at hooking a trout. I made a cast or two to show him how not to get everything all
tanged up and handed him the rod. I asked him to wait until I got out of his way (not
wanting a hook in my head) and started wading back to our SUV to rig my rod.
Meantime, Angie had set our camera up on a tripod so she could video tape us
fishing. On Randy's first cast, before I reached the bank, the strike indicator shot
under the water and he set the hook. This turned out to be the first trout he ever
caught and on the first cast he ever made for trout.
That should tell you a lot about the Tuckasegee River "delayed harvest" section. We
are still very busy at Perfect Fly shipping orders to customers in time for Xmas gifts,
so this will be continued tomorrow.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today, will be mostly cloudy with a high near 47. Northwest wind will be around 5
mph. Tonight's low will be around 28.
Thursday, there's a chance of rain and snow showers before 11am, then a chance of
rain showers. It will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 49. The chance of precipitation
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 304 cfs at 1.52 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 63 cfs at 2.37 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 was in good shape
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake: They are
in good shape.
Current Recommended Streams: I would fish the lower elevation streams
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 20/18/16
2. Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
3. Cream Midges: 20/22
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.
If the water is below 43 degrees, I would switch to a Cream Midge larva and Cream
Midge Pupa tandem rig, with the larva the bottom fly and the pupa above it.
If you spot something hatching, it will most likely be Cream Midges or small
Blue-winged Olives. Switch to the adult Cream Midge, if it is midges hatching, or the
BWO Dun or emerger, if it is the BWOs.
Tips for Beginners:
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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Twas 8 days before Xmas, when all through the
woods.........................Ho, ho, ho