Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 02/06/15
It is cold right now, but it looks like it will get back to normal winter weather for the
next few days. The weekend is looking pretty good for those that want to get off the
couch and fish. I am continuing the Blue Quill articles:
We have two Perfect Fly Blue Quill Emerger fly patterns. One is a plain emerger and
the other is a emerger with a trailing shuck that imitates the mayfly nymph's
exoskeleton when it's just about to come off of the newly emerged dun's tail. Both
flies work great but different anglers have different preferences as to the type they
Of the two types, the plain emerger fly is a little more difficult fish because it's more
difficult to see. It has a CDC wing that floats flush with the surface of the water and
therefore, like the real emerging Blue Quills, most of the fly floats below the surface.
The curved hook imitates the curved shape of the real emerging nymphs.
The plain emerger is more like the nymph than the dun. It imitates the nymph when
it's wing pad first splits and the wings begin to unfold. It isn't intended to imitate the
mayfly when it's more dun than nymph.
You should never grease, or put any floatant on the body of the emerger fly. That
will cause it to float sideways and of course, wouldn't do a good job of imitating the
real ones.. Everything but the CDC wings should hang below the surface. You also
should never treat the CDC with anything. It floats naturally and adding floatant to the
CDC will ruin the way it's designed to float.
The Perfect Fly Blue Quill Emerger with the trailing shuck is easier to see in the water
and in most angler's opinion, easier to fish than the plain emerger fly. It floats higher
in the water than the plain emerger. It cannot be greased, or have floatant added to
the fly's body. The CDC wing and biot body keeps the fly floating low in the
surface skim like the real Blue Quill nymphs. As with the plain emerger, you should
not add any floatant to the CDC.
Keep in mind, emerger fly patterns should float low in the water because the real
emergers float in the skim. It makes the fly easier to see when they float high and dry,
but they don't imitate the real emergers well at all unless the fly floats low in the
The trailing shuck and legs of the emerger are made from Antron. It appears
translucent in the water and when subjected to light, it glitters like the real nymphal
shucks do. The color of the shuck matches the color of the real nymphal shucks.
You want to cast the emergers near the current seams where the slow to moderate
sections of water meets the faster water in areas of the stream where the Blue Quill
nymphs emerge from. These locations and type of water have been covered in the
previous Blue Quill articles. You want the emergers to get caught up in the current
seams and drift downstream. This is done using an up and across presentation but
as brought out in yesterday's article, these areas are difficult to fish without spooking
the trout feeding on the emerging Blue Quills.
Keep in mind, as also pointed out in yesterday's article, these mayflies emerge in
less than twenty percent of the surface area of the streams. If your casting your
imitation of the emergers just any and everywhere the water looks good, you are
waisting at least eighty percent of your cast. You want to confine your cast to only the
areas of the stream where Blue Quills are likely to emerge. That will increase your
odds 800 percent over blind casting.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today will be sunny with a high near 47. Light and variable wind will come out of the
west at 5 to 10 mph this morning. Tonight's low will be around 28.
Saturday will be sunny with a high near 60. South wind will be around 5 to 10 mph
becoming west in the afternoon. Saturday night's low will be around 37.
Sunday, will be partly sunny with a high near 60.
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 531 cfs at 2.47 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 565 cfs at 2.00 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 148 cfs at 2.76 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. Yesterday, it was a little high.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. I'm sure
they are still on the high side of normal.
Current Recommended Streams: All of them are still too high to wade safely.
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 20/18
2. Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
3. Cream Midges: 20/22
4. Winter Stoneflies: 16/18
5. Little Brown Stoneflies: 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. 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, Winter stoneflies
or small Blue-winged Olives. Switch to the adult Cream Midge, if it is midges
hatching, Winter stonefly, 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
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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