Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 02/22/15
What a welcome change! I brought up the NWS weather radar this morning and for
the first time in what seems like a long time, it showed some areas of rain with an
above freezing temperature of 37 degrees. I'm sure it isn't above freezing throughout
the higher elevations of the park, but it is in the lower elevations.
Melting snow and ice will add to the rainfall amounts to raise the stream levels a little
more than normal, and they will also be a little colder than normal due to melting
snow and ice. The weather forecast does show the rain changing to snow tonight. It
also shows a chance of snow each day through Wednesday and again on Friday and
Saturday, so the white stuff isn't completely going away for a few more days.
To point out the all the good I can find with the weather outlook for the next week, I
will mention the low temperatures at night (in Gatlinburg) will range from 20 to 30, or
much higher than they were most of the past week.
I will keep the below fly recommendations posted.
As I have mentioned before, the "recommended trout flies" and "recommended
fishing strategies" listed below are for the current date, not future dates. That isn't
much help to those who want to know what to purchase for the next week, month, or
quarter of the year. We prefer you call or send us an email at Perfect Fly for that
information. The "options for selecting flies" box on your right has the toll free
number and email address for that.
For a change, today, I'm going to list the flies you will need for the month of March in
addition to those listed below except you shouldn't need the midges, or Winter
stoneflies much past the first two weeks of March. You will need the BWOs, Brown
Sculpin and Little Brown Stoneflies:
Blue Quills: 18
Quill Gordons: 12/14
Little Black Caddis: 18
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, rain is likely, mainly before 8am this morning. It will be cloudy with a high near
47. The wind will be from the north around 5 mph in the afternoon. The chance of
precipitation is 60%. Tonight, there is a chance of rain and snow before 1am, then a
chance of snow. The low will be around 29. The chance of precipitation is 50%.
Monday, there's a 20 percent chance of snow before 2pm. It will be mostly cloudy,
with a high near 31. North wind will range from 5 to 10 mph.
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: 723 cfs at 2.80 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 512 cfs at 1.92 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 1xxx cfs (ice) NOT Working at 2.49 ft (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 above
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. Probably
just above normal.
Current Recommended Streams: Abrams Creek, but check the road access at
the park's Tweeter postings. The stream levels may be high and colder due to last
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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