Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 03/07/15
I noticed the National Park Service has opened the Lynn Camp section of the stream
that has been closed the past seven years for brook trout restoration. I hope it turns
out to be a success. When I say success, I mean where there are only brook trout in
that section of the stream that are larger in terms of both size and quantity. I've
never decided whether having brook trout only in the streams is really a success,
other than from someone's idealogical standpoint. If you removed all the exotic fish
species from the trout streams in the United States, there wouldn't be many that held
trout. There would be no brown trout. There would only be brook trout below the New
River in Virginia and in the south, with no trout of any kind in the mid Atlantic,
northeast or New England states. There would only be rainbow trout in a few streams
that drained into the Pacific Ocean. There would be some cutthroat in some of the
western streams. Most all tailwaters would be void of trout. All spring creeks wouldn't
have any trout. The entire mid-west wouldn't have any trout streams. By the way,
the park service is reporting all streams in the park are now open for fishing.
In fishing the other streams that have been restored, I haven't found any
improvement from any aspect that is meaningful to me from a recreational fishing
standpoint. Maybe this one will prove to be different. I hope so. There has been a
tremendous amount of effort and expense put towards it. Hopefully, the average size
and numbers of the brook trout will increase, otherwise, I don't see any benefit in
having restored it to what is deemed it's native species.
I'm betting there will be a lot of angler activity there for the first several days it is
open. I don't plan on fishing it for a few weeks or months, and don't plan on sending
anyone there to fish it in the near future due to the number of anglers I expect to be
beating the water too death. On the other hand, I am not going to discourage anyone
wanting to fish it.
The water temperature in the lower elevation streams of the park that hold trout is
currently only 37 degrees. That will be rising but it will take some time to get back in
the high forties or low fifties.
All the streams in the park are still too high to safely wade. You may find some small
streams you can wade in certain places. I recommend you stick with those in the
lower elevations though. Most small ones are mid to high elevations and they are
Tomorrow will be a much better day to fish than today, but if you live nearby or have
come here to fish, by all means do. You can catch trout under these conditions but
you will face tough fishing conditions. What is going to happen beyond Sunday,
remains a BIG question. It will all be determined by the AMOUNT of rain we get. The
forecast calls for rain from 30 to 70 percent for the next seven days from tomorrow.
We will just have to wait and see.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, will be sunny with a high near 56. Light southwest wind will be from the west at
5 to 10 mph in the afternoon. Tonight's low will be around 32.
Sunday, will be sunny with a high near 59. Southwest wind will be around 5 mph
becoming west in the afternoon.
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: 1030 cfs at 3.26 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 1130 cfs at 2,31 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 373 cfs at 3.43 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby. According to Angie, it is still high.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. My guess it
it is still too high to safely wade.
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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