Note: Just because an insect is listed below doesn't mean it is hatching. Trout eat the insects in
pre-hatch conditions as nymphs and larvae, not just duns or adults. These are the insects and
other food you should be concerned with at this particular time.
1. Blue-winged Olives (Baetis) - sparse hatches
2. Blue Quills - hatching soon
3. Quill Gordons - hatching soon
4. Little Black Caddis - hatching soon
5. Winter Stoneflies - sparse hatches
6. Little Brown Stoneflies - sparse hatches (some are almost black)
7. Midges - hatching in isolated locations
8. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish
Where To Fish This Weekend
With the weather warming, everyone including me, is ready to get out on the water
and catch trout. The first question for most of those planning on fishing this
weekend is where to go. There are a lot of streams in the park and everyone is
wondering exactly where they should start.
I was on the Middle and West Prongs of the Little Pigeon River yesterday but I did
not fish. I was working on a GPS project. I did get a chance to look at the water in
several different places in these two streams. The day before that I was on Little
River where I stopped and checked for bugs and measured the water temperature.
I did cast several times but I didn't have a fly tied on. I was checking out how several
different fly rods performed at close distance.
Yesterday on the Middle Prong of Little Pigeon (Greenbriar) I found the water still
very cold at around 2:00 PM. In fact there was ice still on the banks of the road in
several locations that still had not melted. Above Porters Creek the water was in the
low forties. Near the entrance to the park the water didn't get over 45 degrees. It
had rained a good bit in several areas prior to my arrival at about noon. Water was
still standing in puddles in many places but others were completely dry. The river
looked great. The water was about a normal level. I saw one guy fishing near the
entrance and that was it.
The West Prong of Little Pigeon River was in about the same shape. The water was
only 43 degrees at mid afternoon. Both of these streams drain some very high
elevations. The air temperature only reached 43 degrees yesterday at Mt. Leconte.
Those high elevations have had snow that begin melting yesterday and that
contributed greatly to the low water temperatures. Also, many do not think about
the fact that the elevations of both of these streams near their exits of the park are
at a higher elevation than the Little River's exit near Townsend. Townsend is at a
low elevation and the Little River don't match up in elevation to the Pigeon Prongs
at their exits until you get near Metcalf Bottoms. Also, you may note that the Little
River drains a lot of terrain that isn't as high as the drainage of the Pigeon Prongs.
Day before yesterday, the water in Little River was in the low forties where I
I haven't had a chance to check any of the stream on the North Carolina side of the
park but I can tell you that many of them exit the park at elevations that are
relatively high and therefore the water doesn't warm up quite as fast as the streams
at the lowest elevations in the park. Straight Fork and Raven Fork both exit at
higher elevations than many of the streams in the park. The Oconaluftee River exits
about the same elevation as the Little Pigeon Prongs so I would guess the water is
All of this will change fast. By Saturday afternoon, the water should be warming as
high to fifty degrees in some areas of the lowest elevations. That is difficult to judge
because of the cold water coming from the higher elevations where snow has
melted recently. Temperatures should reach the low seventies this weekend today
and tomorrow. It would be my guess that the water will be getting in great shape
about Monday. Doesn't that sound normal? I am really just kidding but also being a
little serious. My point is that it is going to take a little time for the water to warm up
and a little time for the trout and insects to adjust. Hatches may occur in some of
the lower elevations. Warm rain would help a bunch. It always raises the water
temperatures faster than anything. That may happen Monday or at least that is
what the forecast is calling for.
Fishing should be great today and tomorrow especially for those who stick with
nymphs. Quill Gordon nymphs should be effective if fished in the seams of the
pockets. Blue Quill nymphs should also work well if they are fishing in the shallow
pockets and slower current seams. If you do find either of these two insects
hatching, and you well may, you still would probably do well with the nymphs and
emergers. Our "Perfect Fly" Quill Gordon Emerging Adult is a great fly to use when
the Quill Gordons first start to hatch. This is a wet fly.
We would recommend Little River between the turn off the main road to Elkmont
Campground and the Metcalf Bottoms area of Little River. This area starts five
miles from the Sugarland entrance at Gatlinburg or about twelve miles from the
entrance to the park at Townsend. Metcalf Bottoms is best accessed from Wears
Valley near Pigeon Forge.
Copyright 2009 James Marsh