Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. Blue-winged Ollives and Little BWOs
2. Blue Quills
3. Quill Gordons
4. Little Black Caddis (Brachycentrus)
5. Little Brown Stoneflies
6. Hendricksons & Red Quills
7. American March Browns
Most available/ Near hatching and/or other types of available food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
First, let me mention that I have corrected an error I have had on our Smoky Mountain hatch
chart for three or four years. I just caught it today, having written about the Little Short-horned
Sedges. The hatch chart called them Little Black Short-horned Sedges. They are not black. I
guess I picked that up from writing Little Black Caddis just above it on the hatch chart. It is
amazing that how something like that can be right before my eyes for so long and not noticed.
Anyway, as shown yesterday, and for the past few years, the pictures clearly show they are not
black. I get a little upset when I find something like that starring me in the face.
Current Conditions In the Smokies:
We made it though yesterday as well as could be expected. Some anglers probably got a little wet
but the conditions were mostly very good. Certainly the cloud cover should have helped. The
total amount of rainfall that fell yesterday, inside the park, was low and only created a temporary
rise in the levels of most streams.
Most all of the small streams can be waded and fished. Little River is still running high at 505 cfs
but if you pick and choose your areas carefully, you can find some water to safely wade. Although
I don't recommend wading over 400 cfs, if your strong, preferably with someone else and don't
mind fighting current, you can fish areas of the streams. You should use extra caution.
The Oconaluftee River is quite high, running at 727. That's slightly above what we recommend
wading even with caution. Keep in mind, what the USGS charts show as normal, isn't always a
good indication of the water levels. At any date during the past years, the streams could average
high during the Spring months. They could be flowing at normal levels for the particular day but
higher than you should try to wade.
Also keep in mine, in terms of cfs, the streams vary considerably depending on the width of the
stream at the point the station is located. What appears to be a low number is strong current on
some streams where it flows through narrow areas. On others, what seems to be huge numbers,
say 1000 cfs on some rivers, may in fact, not be strong current in many areas of the stream.
Cataloochee River is running in good shape at 135cfs. That's just barely higher than we prefer
but very wadable and as of right now, the best place in the park to fish as far as I'm concerned.
Some Not So Good Reports: (but you all should know how I feel about the value
of fishing reports and that isn't very much)
Although I didn't fish yesterday, I talked to several guys fishing in the park and every single one
was very disappointed. I know for certain two of them are experienced at fly fishing the Smokies. I
don't know about the others. None of the guys I talked too had caught any decent numbers of
trout. None reported seeing any hatches although I find that hard to believe. Even though I didn't
fish, I did see plenty of Blue Quills on the middle part of Little Pigeon River. It was flowing very
high and not very fishable though.
The only thing I think I may have picked up is that they seemed to be fishing dry flies when they
shouldn't be. They seem to all of one be using generic fly patterns which although isn't the best
by any means, didn't in the cases I saw, resemble anything that should be hatching or that had
The high water seemed to be dealing everyone fits, even on Little River. I didn't go to the North
Carolina side of the park.
What's Happening Right Now Weather Wise is Really Strange:
It is currently raining over most of the area of the park, including all of northern section. I've been
looking at the radar and it appears the system is just swirling around in a circle. The rain is
moving into the Smokies mostly from North to South, opposite of the usual. The Cataloochee
area is getting rain as of now and that may change the situation. One area of the park in the Little
Pigeon River and Oconaluftee River drainage areas is receiving some rather heavy rain right now
at 7:30 AM. That may cause more problems for those streams.
The south end is clear but the rain seems to be moving that way. Quite frankly, with the prediction
of only a 30 percent chance of rain, it seems it wouldn't present a problem, but the radar
disagrees with it. I am not sure what to expect. My guess is it will move out of the Mountains soon
and clear up until at least later today. It has cleared some within the last hour since I first looked
at it. I will visit the park and maybe fish later today, depending?
Copyright 2012 James Marsh