Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 03/02/15
It is 43 degrees and raining as I write this. What a welcome sight. It is melting most of
the snow still left on the ground. I am tired of the white stuff. We are looking at a high
Wednesday in Gatlinburg of 60 degrees. That's a welcome forecast.
WHAAAAT! Thursday's high will only be 34 with a low of 19? It will snow again!
Friday's high 41 and Saturday's 49. You don't need to wear a bug net yet. The
weather forecast doesn't sound like one that fits a script I would write but I'm not the
almighty, just a humble fisherman; however, my name is James.
I'm just joking. The forecast looks normal for the first of March and spring is in sight.
I'm moving the Blue Quills, Quill Gordons and Little Black Caddis down into the
"Recommended Trout Flies" category. The nymphs of the Blue Quills are crawlers
and I am sure the ones in the low elevations have almost fully developed wing pads
and are just hiding any place they can find waiting to emerge into duns. I'm also quite
sure the wing pads of the Quill Gordon in the lower elevation streams are almost fully
developed and they will be beginning to come out from underneath the rocks this
week from where they have been hiding. The single biggest mistake most
anglers make regarding a hatch, is they wait until the see the duns flying in
the air before the fish the hatch. Trout eat the emerging nymphs on the bottom of
the streams for a few days prior to the actual hatch. By that I mean I think you should
be able to catch trout on imitations of the Blue Quill nymphs and Quill Gordon
Nymphs this week. I haven't seen the forecast beyond 10 days, but I feel sure we will
be seeing emerging duns of both of them by the third week of this month, if not a little
sooner than that. They always start hatching in water further downstream that trout
exist before they do otherwise. That doesn't do you any good in so far as catching
trout on imitations of the duns (dry flies), but it does clue you in on the fact they will
soon be emerging upstream of there. We have two nights coming that will be very
warm and that is going to help big time.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Rain is likely today, mainly before 10am. It will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 47.
North wind around 5 mph. The chance of precipitation is 60%. Tonight, there's a 50
percent chance of rain, mainly after 4am. The low will be around 41.
Tuesday, expect more rain and a high near 54. South wind will be from 5 to 10 mph.
The chance of precipitation is 80%. Tuesday night, more showers are likely. The low
will be around 51. The chance of precipitation is 70%.
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: 479 cfs at 2.37 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 430 cfs at 1.78 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 123 cfs at 2.66 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: Lowest elevation streams that hold trout
Recommended Trout Flies:
Hook Size 20/18
Blue Quills: 18
Quill Gordons: 12/14
Little Black Caddis: 18
Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
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 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. Little Brown stoneflies are crawling out of the water to
If the water is below 43 degrees, I would stick with the BWO nymph. It it is above that,
I would change to a Blue Quill nymphs. They are little crawler nymphs that are easily
caught and eaten by trout and should be nearing their hatch times.
If you spot something hatching, it will most likely be Cream Midges, Little Brown
stoneflies or small Blue-winged Olives. Little Winter stoneflies could also still be
around hatching. Switch to the adult Little Brown 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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