Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 03/06/15
Today, unless you want to experiment using a lot of caution, I recommend you wait
another day to fish. You could fall in and that would be very dangerous. Tomorrow,
will be a much better day, but the stream levels will probably still be on the high side.
We will know more about the levels by this time tomorrow morning.
During the high water times, if you choose to fish in spite of the poor conditions (and I
have always enjoyed doing just that), keep in mind our Perfect Fly Brown Sculpin and
White Belly Sculpin streamers are always a good choice due to the large number of
sculpins in the streams. If the water gets stained and off color, and it most likely
already is, the Yellow Marabou Sculpin streamer, or Black Marabou Streamer works
The good news is, after a chilly day today, the weather and stream conditions will
improve gradually for the next few day. We have some great weather ahead, so
Here are some quick tips off the top of my head that you should always keep in mind:
1. The exact time the aquatic insects may vary, but the order in which they hatch
never changes. In other words, for example, you want find American March Browns
hatching before Quill Gordon, etc,
2. Again, I'll mention the water temp readings at the Little River gauge is always
about 2 to 5 degrees warmer than the water temperature where wild trout exist. It is
best to have a thermometer and measure it where you're fishing. That will give you a
much better idea of what is going on. I will say the Blue Quills and Quill Gordons will
start hatching within a few days regardless of the exact water temps.
3. You may see some cripples before any real hatches start taking place. Again, the
magic 50 degrees water temp that Quill Gordons and Blue Quills begin to hatch is
only approximate, and the hatch is not directly related to the temperature. However, it
is a very good indication of when they should start hatching. Sometimes when the
water temp fluctuates, the insects will start and stop hatching. It is during these times
you will often see cripples because those that begin to open their wing pads will go
ahead and do so, and emerge, in spite of a drop in the water temp. This often results
in what anglers call "cripples" which are adult insect that don't get their wings
straightened out and dried like they do in a normal emerging situation. You can catch
trout during those times because the trout can easily feed on them.
4. You may see Blue-winged Olives hatching in cases where the water temp is still in
the mid forties. This is particularly true when the skies are cloudy and overcast. By
the way, at a distance, these are easy to confuse with Blue Quills.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, will be mostly sunny with a high near 39. Northeast wind will be around 5 mph
becoming northwest in the afternoon. Tonight's low will be around 23.
Saturday, will be sunny with a high near 55. Light southwest wind will come from the
west at about 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon. Saturday 's low will be around 32.
Sunday, will be mostly sunny with a high near 56. Southwest wind will be around 5
mph. Sunday night there is a 20 percent chance of rain. The low will be around 36.
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: 1700 cfs at 4.09 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 1670 cfs at 3.24 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 582 cfs at 388 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby. I'm sure it is blown out.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. Probably
Current Recommended Streams: Any low elevation stream but only for fishing
from the bank. I don't think any of the small streams will be suitable for wading but I
guess it is possible some are.
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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