Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 01/22/15
I was looking at a new fishing catalog this morning and noticed a decline in red hooks
on the fishing lures. Maybe that has been going on and I haven't paid that much
attention, but I do remember just a few years ago, a big fad about red hooks. Just
before the man, that is Tom Mann, passed away, he and I were having daily
discussions about red hooks. He was sponsored for many years by Mustad and
seems at the time, about all they were making were red hooks. He was putting them
on just about all of his bass fishing lures. That was in the late 1990's and Angie and I
were doing a series of videos featuring Tom entitled the School of Bass Fishing.
Unfortunately, we only finished one, one hour long video before his heart gave away
on him.

He and I both felt the red hooks were merely a fad, but of course, neither one of us
could prove it did or didn't have some affect. I had been using red, big game fishing
offshore trolling lures at times for years, and for what I felt was a good reason. Red
isn't red when viewed by a fish under the water at a distance. It is brown and at a
long distance, gray. Up close it become red, and in the case of a 12 inch long trolling
lure for marlin, made the lure appear to light up and the fish approached it. All fish
light up to some degree when frightened. Some turn completely iridescent and some
completely change colors. Oh well, I am just rambling, but tomorrow I will ramble more
about the colors red and pink as relates to trout. By the way, I have no idea where I
am going with this.

I keep hearing about different computer weather forecast models regarding the next
few days. Looking at the map, it appears they really are having to guess as to just
what amounts of snow and/or rain will come to the southeast. Some areas may get hit
hard and others missed. The local weather seems to be fairly certain we are going to
get some rain or snow.

As usual, since today is Thursday, will try to give my best estimate of how the fishing
conditions will be through the weekend. Today, will be mostly cloudy with a high near
51. The wind will be around 5 mph in the afternoon. Tonight there's a 30 percent
chance of rain, mainly after 4am. The low will be around 32.

Friday, snow is likely, possibly mixed with rain before 7am, then snow likely between
7am and 10am, then rain after 10am. The high near 42. Southeast wind will around 5
mph becoming calm. The chance of precipitation is 90%. Little or no snow
accumulation is expected. Friday night, we can expect rain before 5am, then rain and
snow. The low will be around 34. The chance of precipitation is 90%. Little or no
snow accumulation is expected.

Saturday, more snow showers before 10am, then a chance of rain showers between
10am and 1pm. The high will be near 41. Northwest wind will be around 5 mph. The
chance of precipitation is 80%.Saturday night's low will be around 31.

Sunday will be mostly sunny with a high near 49.

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 170 cfs at 1.79 ft..
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)

Oconaluftee River: Rate 313 cfs at 1.55 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 74 cfs at 2.43 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.
Certainly, Abrams Creek would be a good one.

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:
Learn to imitate the most plentiful and available insects and other foods at the time
you are fishing, or continue to use trial and error methods and forever be a mediocre
angler.

Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
None

Whatever Hits Me:
Thank you

James Marsh
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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