Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 10/18/15
Three or so days ago, I modified the list of recommended flies below and goofed. I
did it off the top of my head, which I should never do, and removed the Little Yellow
Quills and Needle Stoneflies from the list. I knew I needed to make some changes in
the middle of October but I removed the wrong insects. I should have removed the
Mahogany Duns. The Needle stoneflies and Little Yellow Quill mayflies usually
continue to hatch off and on until as late as mid November.
Both of these insects are found mostly in the little brook trout streams and other mid
to high elevation streams but not usually the lower elevation streams. I've never
figured out why but my guess is, it has something to do with the pH. That is about the
only substantial difference I know of that exist in the small streams at those different
elevations. The pH increases at lower elevations for a couple of reasons.
When they do hatch, catching brook trout on them is like taking candy from a baby. It
isn't unusual to catch one on about every cast. This usually takes place at the
warmest time of the day and last less than an hour, The Little Yellow Quills are
Heptagenia species. The little Needle stoneflies look more like caddisflies than
stoneflies when they are flying. Ninety-five percent or more of the anglers that fish
the Smokies don't have a clue about these insects but there is always a few that do.
Rest assured they are quick to remind me anytime I goof up listing any of the insects.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, there will be areas of frost before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near
56. Light northeast wind becoming north 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.
Tonight's low will be around 34.
Monday, expect areas of frost before 10am, otherwise, sunny with a high near 61.
Calm wind will come from the northwest around 5 mph in the morning.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data: Click
the links to see updates:
Little River: Rate: 109 cfs at 1.48 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rat 194 cfs at 1.25 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 50 cfs at 2.30 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It was a little low yesterday afternoon.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
Customers are reporting they are getting a little low again but about normal for this
time of the year.
Current Recommended Streams:
I think you could fish anywhere in the park you wanted to today.
Recommended Trout Flies:
Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
Blue-winged olives: 20 and 14
(Little BWOs, Acentrella, Diphetor 20s and Eastern BWOs, Drunella 14s
Slate Drakes: 10/12
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 14/16
Little Yellow Quills: 16
Needle Stoneflies: 16/18
Great Autumn Brown Sedges: 10
Black Carpenter Ants: 16/18
Japanese Beetles: 16/14
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.
If you fished the day or two before and know where something is hatching, fish the
nymph or larva stage of it. If you haven't fished the day or two before, until I spotted
something hatching, I would fish the Slate Drake nymph. They are big swimming
nymphs that are easily caught and eaten by trout and are still hatching. If you spot
something else hatching (coming off the water), it will most likely be a Blue-winged
Olive. Change to the appropriate emerger, dun or adult imitations of the insect.
When the Slate Drakes, Mahogany Duns, and BWOs are 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.
Little Yellow stoneflies are hatching, but of course, these hatches take place during
the evenings. All stoneflies crawl out of the water to hatch. Fishing a Little Yellow
Stonefly nymph, very late in the afternoon near sunset should produce. If you see
the stoneflies depositing their eggs on the surface of the water, switch to the adult
imitation of the stonefly.
Little Yellow Quills and Needle Stoneflies usually remain in the middle elevations and
sometimes, high elevations, until mid November. They are not usually found in the
The big fall caddis, Great Autumn Brown sedges, hatch very late in the afternoon
and mostly early evenings. The egg laying occurs anywhere from mid afternoon until
Tips for Beginners:
Don't let anyone intimidate you by contending that fly fishing is more difficult to learn
and master than other types of fishing. It isn't.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
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