Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 03/20/15
On the Tennessee side of the park, today, is going to be as good of a day for fishing
as your probably going to get this month. The North Carolina side received more rain
yesterday, and some of the streams are too high to safely wade. Some of the smaller
streams can be waded though.

One of our Perfect Fly customers complained of the hatches being short in duration
the past few days. After talking to him, I determined he just didn't know what he
should be expecting. A typical Quill Gordon, BWO and/or Blue Quill hatch (emerging
insects)
doesn't normally last over an hour to an hour and a half at any one
location on a stream. Contrary to what he though, they don't hatch for most of the
day. At this time of the year, they usually occur about mid afternoon at the warmest
part of the day. This also includes hatching Little Black Caddis. You will see spinner
falls of the mayflies and egg laying activity from the Little Brown stoneflies and Little
Black Caddis late in the afternoons, but not hatches. Keep in mind, it is possible that
you could fish all afternoon today, and not see any of the above insects hatching.
Most likely, if that happened, you would be fishing at too low of an elevation where
the hatches have already taken place. The hatches only last about a week to ten
days or less for any one species at any one location on a stream. It is also possible
to be fishing at too high an elevation where the hatches have not began.

This is was just another case of an angler not being familiar with the basics of aquatic
insect hatches.

Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)  
Today, rain is likely, mainly before 2pm. It will be cloudy with a high near 57. The wind
will be from the west around 5 mph in the morning. The chance of precipitation is
60%. Tonight's low will be around 40.

Saturday, will be mostly sunny with a high near 64. Wind will be from the northeast
around 5 mph in the morning. Saturday night's low will be around 43.

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: 447 cfs at 2.50 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)

Oconaluftee River: Rate 991 cfs at 2,55 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 184 cfs at 291 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)

Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby. It was just a tad high yesterday
afternoon.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. Customers
reported that yesterday, they are a little high but not impossible to fish.

Current Recommended Streams:  On the TN side, any small to medium
elevation stream. Wading is possible in the larger streams but you may prefer to fish
a smaller one that is easy to wade. On the NC side, I would choose a smaller size
stream.

Recommended Trout Flies:
Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 20/18
nymphs
emergers
duns
spinners

Blue Quills: 18
nymphs
emergers
duns
spinners

Quill Gordons: 12/14
nymphs
emerging duns
duns
spinners

Little Black Caddis: 18
pupa
adults

Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6

Little Brown Stoneflies: 14
nymphs
adults

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.
Strategy:
Until I spotted something hatching, I would fish a size 18 Blue Quill Nymph. They are
little crawler nymphs that are easily caught and eaten by trout and are currently
hatching.

If you spot something hatching (coming off the water) that is relatively small, it will
most likely be Blue Quills, Blue-winged Olives,or Little Black Caddis. It it is relatively
large, it will be a Quill Gordon. Change to the appropriate emerger, dun or adult
imitations of the insect. If you see Blue Quills, BWOs, or Quill Gordons hatching,
there will be a spinner fall late in the day. Often, you can catch more trout fishing the
spinner fall quicker than you can during the hatch. Change to the spinner imitation of
the mayfly.

Tips for Beginners:
Beware of the high, swift water.

Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
None

Whatever Hits Me:
Thank you

James Marsh
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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