Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 04/17/15
I'm still sticking with yesterday's prediction that you will have about a 75% chance you
can safely wade most of the streams on Saturday. I'm really just basing that on the
30% continued chance of rain from now to then. As of this early morning, none of the
major streams in the park are safe to wade. They are continuing to fall and will
probably do so all day today. It's just that they are borderline, and if they receive
more rain will not be safe to wade tomorrow.

These patches of showers associated with the weather patterns that we are
experiencing are not uniformly distributed throughout the park. It can rain a lot in one
watershed and only a little in another one. The USGS stations are all located outside
the park boundaries and don't reflect the current levels miles away upstream. Yes,
they are of good use, but only in a certain respect. For example, if it has been raining
for the past two hours in the upper Little River watershed, the USGS station in
Townsend, located several miles below trout water, wouldn't reflect the higher levels
until around the middle of the morning to noon.

This is by far the best way to determine what is going on with the various
watersheds in the park.
Click this National Weather Service link to the precipitation
map. It is updated hourly. Zoom in on the Smokies. Start with the NC, Tenn. state line
in the area of the park (center it on the map before zooming) and as you zoom down,
you will begin to see the names of the towns surrounding the park, the state line
through the park, roads, etc . If you know anything about the park, you can zoom in
enough to get a good idea of how much rain has fallen in each of the watersheds. If
you do that this morning, you will see that during the last twenty-four hours, it varied
from a tenth of an inch, to 1 inch in one area on the N.C. side of the park  You can
adjust the time frame to see how much it has rained in the last 3 hours or up to a 120
days, for that matter. The area above Fontana Lake received about an inch of rain
within the last 24 hours, and I can assure you the streams flowing from the park to
the lake, such as Hazel, are very high. You should also adjust the opacity to where
you can see the names of the towns and even the rough contours of the map. It
takes a little getting use to and a little work, but tells you what you need to know.

Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)  
Today, there is a chance of showers between 8am and 2pm, then a chance of
showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. It will be cloudy, with a high near 71. Calm
wind will come from the north around 5 mph in the afternoon. The chance of
precipitation is 30%. Tonight's low will be around 55. The chance of precipitation is
30%.

Saturday, there's a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after
5pm. It will be partly sunny with a high near 80. Calm wind will come from the north
around 5 mph in the afternoon. Saturday night, there's a 70% chance of precipitation.

Sunday, expect showers and possibly a thunderstorm. The high will be near 73. Calm
wind becoming south around 5 mph in the afternoon. The chance of precipitation is
80%.

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: 543 cfs at 2.67 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)

Oconaluftee River: Rate 1230 cfs at 2.81 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 205 cfs at 2.96 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)

Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby. I was too high to wade, as of
yesterday afternoon.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. Customers
are reporting they high but falling. Currently, too high too wade.

Current Recommended Streams:  Only the small streams at the middle to
higher elevations..

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

Hendricksons/Red Quills: 12/14
nymphs
emergers
duns - males and females
spinners - males and females

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 happen to know where Quill Gordons are currently hatching, you
should start out in the morning fishing a Quill Gordon nymph.

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:
None

Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
None

Whatever Hits Me:
Thank you

James Marsh
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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