Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 01/29/15
It is going to be windy today, but at least warmer than it has been the last couple of
days. Again, my advise for anyone wishing to fish the Smokies, is to head to upper
Abrams Creek. You will find the water a little warmer there. Just don't plan on bathing
in it.  

As usual on Thursdays, I will give the forecast through the weekend. That's so you
have a better idea of what to expect if you choose to visit the park the next few days.
Today, there is 30 percent chance of showers, mainly between noon and 3pm. It will
be partly sunny with a high near 49. South wind will range from 10 to 15 mph, with
gusts as high as 25 mph. Tonight, there is chance of rain showers before 3am, then
a chance of snow showers. The low will be around 30. The chance of precipitation is
50%.

Friday, there's a slight chance of snow showers before noon, then a slight chance of
rain showers between noon and 1pm. It will be mostly sunny with a high near 38.
Northwest wind will be around 10 mph. The chance of precipitation is only 20%.
Friday night's low will be around 19.

Saturday, will be mostly sunny with a high near 47. Winds will be near calm. Saturday
night's low will be around 32.

Sunday, there is a chance of rain and snow before 9am, then a chance of rain. It will
be cloudy with a high near 45. The chance of precipitation is 50%.

Little Winter Stoneflies - Part Four
When the Little Winter Stoneflies hatch, unlike a mayfly, they remain alive and near
the stream for a  few days. I'm not sure as to how long. All I can go by is other
stoneflies that have been tested in this regard. I just know they mate, the females
deposit their eggs and both genders die. When this happens, they may or may not
fall on the water. My guess is the adults are around at least a week and maybe up to
two weeks or more.

The point about this that's important is that when the various species (remember
there's over 15 inside the park) hatch is very cold water, the odds of trout eating the
egg layers rising to the surface to eat a dry fly are slim. The will do it, however, and
they will even do it even when the water is as low as forty degrees. I have caught a
few trout on our Perfect Fly imitation of the Little Winter Stonefly when the water was
that cold. Even so, I doubt the odds of doing so consistently are very high.

The thing that may be more important about trout eating the adults is that when the
weather and resultant water temperature gets warm after a hatch, they may eat the
adults from the surface on a more consistent basis. Although I doubt the hatches of
the various species will continue at to any appreciable extent while the water is
warmer, in the high forties and low fifties, for example, those that have hatched will
certainly be around until the mating and egg laying process has ended.

Knowing when to fish the adult imitation is obvious. Fish it when you see egg laying
activity taking place. I don't think your odds of success will be very high unless the
little bugs are depositing their eggs.

Knowing where to fish the adult imitation is also very obvious. Fish it in the same area
of water you see the egg laying activity occurring in.  The trout will be aware of this.
I don't think it makes much difference how you present the fly as long as it lands in
the area of the egg laying activity and as long as the trout don't detect your presence
on the stream or your fly line hitting the water. The egg laying occurs in the same
place the stoneflies spend their one year life - in the fast runs and riffles. This isn't a
still or slow moving water thing. Stoneflies need plenty of oxygen during the warm
months of the year and almost always are found in the fast water. During the times
we caught and photographed aquatic insects in the Smokies, we found them in
our kick nets year-round from underneath the rocks on the bottom of the runs and
riffles.

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 224 cfs at 1.96 ft..
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)

Oconaluftee River: Rate 382 cfs at 1.69 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 81 cfs at 2.47 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 getting near normal
yesterday afternoon.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. My guess
is they are most likely near normal levels.

Current Recommended Streams: Abrams Creek

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

5.
Little Brown Stoneflies: 14
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 and Little Brown stoneflies will start very soon, if not already.

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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