Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 01/20/15
Today's forecast is a good one - about as good as it could possible be for the middle
of the winter. The high today for Gatlinburg at about 1600 feet elevation will be near
62 degrees. It is currently 44, so the water temperature should be in the low forties in
the lower elevations of the park early this morning. It is possible it may reach the high
forties or even the fifty degree mark in some streams by mid afternoon.

Now, that probably sounds better than it will actually turn out to be because it will
actually have little effect on the trout, and by that I mean it won't change their feeding
habits or location very much. It could by tomorrow. The biggest advantage It will have
is it will have a positive effect on anyone that has the opportunity to go fishing today.
The biggest difference it will likely make in the "catching" department, is anyone
fishing will feel better and fish harder. That can make a huge difference. The single
biggest problem most anglers have fishing in very cold weather is they feel cold
themselves, and consequently, think the fish feel the same way. Fish don't get
uncomfortable in cold water. Their blood is the same temperature as the water and
they don't feel a difference like us warm blooded humans. In other words, the typical
anglers loses confidence when fishing cold water in cold weather and as a result,
won't concentrate and fish hard when concentration is very important.

Today will be mostly sunny with southwest wind ranging from 5 to 10 mph. Tonight's
low will be around 37. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 51. The wind
will be rather calm.

Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data: Click
to links to see updates:

Little River: Rate 195 cfs at 1.87 ft..
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)

Oconaluftee River: Rate 347 cfs at 1.62 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 79 cfs at 2.46 ft (This gauge is also messed up due to
ice)
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)

Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby. It was about normal yesterday
afternoon.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. My guess
is they are about normal but I still have no reports.

Current Recommended Streams: Any of the lower elevation streams with trout

Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 20/18
nymphs
emergers
duns
spinners

2. Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6

3. Cream Midges: 20/22
larva
pupa
adults

4. Winter Stoneflies: 16/18
nymphs
adults

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.
Strategy:
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. Winter stoneflies should begin crawling
out of the water to hatch within the next few days.

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:
None

Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
None

Whatever Hits Me:
Thank you for visiting our site. James Marsh, Pending CFO
(Chief Fishing Officer) Perfect Fly
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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