Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 03/08/15
I don't know if most of you are aware of the effect that the nightly low air temperature
has on the water temperature. It has just as much to do with the water warming, or
cooling, as the daily high temperatures. I noticed it is 38 degrees at the time I'm
writing this. More importantly, I noticed the weather forecast is calling for a low tonight
of 40 degrees. Tomorrow night's low will be around 44. These lows are at Gatlinburg
at a 1600 ft., elevation where wild trout live. With a low of 40, and a high of 60, it is
obvious the average temperature is 50 degrees. Of course, that is air temperature,
but the water temperature of the freestone streams of the Smokies is a direct product
of the air temperature. What am I getting to? My prediction is your going to see
water temperatures of 50 degrees very soon, maybe by tomorrow and I
mean at elevations where wild trout live, not elevations where only stocked
trout will live. There are other factors that can affect this. Warm or cold rain water,
for example. I think your going to be seeing warm rain water but I'm not certain. I
haven't taken the time to study that yet.
When the water stays at that temperature for a couple of days, at a time the Blue
Quills and Quill Gordons are fully developed and ready to hatch otherwise,(and they
are), it means only one thing. They will start hatching. They will start at the lowest
elevations the insects exist, and in the case of the Blue Quills that is below elevations
where trout can survive year-round, and move upstream to higher elevations as the
water warms. If the trend of warmer and warmer days gets disrupted, the hatches will
be disrupted. In cases where the water gets above 50 and then, for example, drops
to 45, the mayfly nymphs with their wingpads beginning to open, will continue to open
and the insects will hatch in spite of the cold water.
The key to finding the hatches, is to move around. They will hatch at the warmest
part of the day and that's usually around 2:00PM. Hum! They just changed the time
and we should roll our clocks forward and hour, so that may be closer to 3:00 PM.
The hatch will only last at any one locations about 45 minutes to an hour, but the
duns will be on the banks, rocks and limbs of the bushes and trees telling you they
are hatching. When you find that situation (duns and spinners beginning to show up),
you want to make sure you start fishing at that location the following day. Don't waste
over 15 minutes at that location during the warmest part of the day, casting with no
success. Move upstream a few hundred yards and most likely, you will see them
hatching. You catch trout on a hatch during the time they are hatching, not
after they have hatched and the banks, boulders and rocks are covered
with the duns and spinners.
There is a big exception to what I just wrote. That is the Blue Quill or Quill Gordon
spinner fall. It will occur near dark and in the case where it is cloudy and overcast, it
may start earlier in the afternoon. You can catch just as many trout on the spinner
fall as you can the hatch, if you know what your doing. That is something the average
Smoky Mtn angler is unaware of. For certain, you can catch more trout in a shorter
length of time than during the hatch. That's because the spinner fall concentrates the
Oh, well, I'm just rambling. I can't tell you everything you need to know about fishing
these hatches in a morning fishing report. I have tons of information on this website
and even more on the Perfect Fly website telling you anything you could possible
need to know about fishing these two hatches.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, will be sunny with a high near 61. West wind will be around 5 mph. Tonight,
there's a 30 percent chance of rain, mainly after 5am. The low will be around 40.
Monday, there is a 30 percent chance of rain, mainly after 2pm. It will be mostly
cloudy with a high near 60. The wind will be calm. Monday night, rain is likely, mainly
after 8pm. The low will be around 44.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: 778 cfs at 2.89 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 900 cfs at 2,45 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 277 cfs at 3.18 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 was still
high yesterday afternoon.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. My guess it
they are 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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