Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
3. Little Winter Stoneflies
4. Little Brown Stoneflies
5. Quill Gordons
6. Blue Quills
7. Little Black Caddis
Most available - Other types of food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Weather and Stream Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
and Fly Fishing Strategies - Which Flies To Use
The weather forecast is based on Gatlinburg at 1594 feet elevation. Today will be mostly cloudy, then
gradually becoming sunny with a high near 52. The low tonight will be about 31.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, is the first day of Spring but I doubt anyone in the East is going to know it. There is
a slight chance of showers Wednesday afternoon with a high around 54. The low Wednesday night will be
only 25 degrees.
It will be sunny Thursday with a high of about 46 and a low that night of 33. Friday there is a 30% chance of
rain with a high of 48. There's a 40% chance of rain Friday night with a low of 37. At this point, I suspected
snow in the higher elevations and checked the Mountain-forecast.com at Clingman's Dome. They may
change it before you read this, but as of this Tuesday morning, it is showing a high of 50 degrees for
Friday with a low of only 46 that night. While these kinks of temperature inversions aren't rare, they sure
aren't normal. Based on this, you would be better off fishing the high elevation brook trout streams. I have
an idea something is bad off and will be changed before long.
A 50% chance of rain is shown for Saturday with a high near 50. I love that forecast. In other words, it might
rain and it might not rain. Sometimes, the forecast are just about worthless. Sunday, they are showing a 30%
chance of rain with a high of 50.
As of now, the streams are still rising some but the rain has about ended in the park and they should start
falling soon. Little River is flowing at 772cfs at 3.7 feet. Cataloochee has been falling for a few hours and is
at 260cfs and 3.13 feet. Keep in mind, 125cfs or below is where is should be to safely wade. The
Oconaluftee is at 1310cfs and 2.86 feet. It should be around 500 or below to safely wade.
The air and water temperatures are going to drop down colder than normal for a few days, but it's the water
levels that bothers me more than anything. I just hope the chances of rain don't turn out to account for very
much more rain because the water table is full and the streams are already high. If the rain as much as
keeps the levels up where they are now, it isn't a good situation. Hopefully, they will fall down to a safe range
and the amount of rain that falls from now through Sunday won't be significant.
The drop in temperature will cause the middle and upper elevation hatches to hold off but the lower
elevations will be a different situation. Predicting the situation in the upper range of the lower elevations,
where the Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, Brown stoneflies and Litttle Back Caddis haven't started hatching is
tough. They may well go ahead and hatch and they may hold off depending on the exact stage of
Where hatches have already started in the lower elevations, they will continue. You will probably notice the
insects, but I doubt you will see many trout feeding on them on the surface. They will eat the emergers below
the surface of all three species.
If you don't try to force the trout into eating a dry fly, you should do just as well and catch just about as many
trout. Fishing a fly that you can't see to trout you can't see, isn't as easy as fishing a fly to trout
eating on the surface.
Those that know how to fish nymphs and larvae imitations well, can usually catch as many trout as they can
on the surface and often more. Don't forget that only about 95% plus of all food eaten by trout is
eaten below the surface.
There will be a problem fishing below the surface if the water is too high to wade. You won't be able to
high-stick if you can't wade, and fishing from the banks certainly isn't as effective as wading in many cases.
During the High Water Conditions:
Standing on the banks (near not close to them) where you can get to the banks clear of trees and bushes,
flip or sidearm cast a streamer or nymph upstream close to the bank and raise your rod tip as the fly drifts
downstream allowing it to stay close to the bank. This often works good under high water conditions. Use a
Little Brown stonefly nymph, size 14 to 10, late in the day, and a our Perfect Fly White Belly Sculpin during
the day. Add enough weight to the tippet to keep either fly down near the bottom and keep the fly close to
the bank. Use this strategy until the streams can be waded safely. It requires a little work moving around
looking for clear areas to fish from the banks, but it can be very effective.
If you see any BWOs hatching, switch to an emerger or dun. They will most likely be a size 20 but they could
be a larger baetis size 16. The BWO nymphs will be very difficult to fish the right way from the banks and I
don't recommend trying using them under the high water conditions..
If The Water Becomes Suitable For Wading:
In the mornings and early afternoons, up until the time you actually see something hatching, fish either a
Blue-winged Olive nymph, hook size 16 or 20, or a Quill Gordon Nymph, hook size 12 or 14. I don't suggest
using the Blue Quill Nymph imitation until you see quite a few duns that have hatched. That's simply because
they are much more difficult to fish. It's easy to spook trout feeding on them because they hatch in calm to
slow moving shallow water.
In Either Case, high or low water:
If you happen to see either of the above mayflies hatching (BWOs, Blue Quills, Quill Gordons), switch to
either an emerger or dun fly pattern of the respective insect. If you don't, continue with the nymphs. This
isn't to say you can't catch a trout using a dry fly because you probably can. It is to say you odds are much
lower doing so than if you continue fishing the nymphs I suggested.
Late in the day, within a couple of hours or so of dark, switch to a Little Brown Stonefly nymph, size 14 or 12.
If you spot any stoneflies laying eggs on the water, switch to the adult pattern of that stonefly.
If you see any Little Black Caddis just starting to hatch, switch to the pupa imitation of it. These will be a hook
size 18. If there are several of them on the banks and bushes that have already hatched, yet they are
continuing to come off the water, switch to the dun.
If any of the mayflies and/or the Little Black Caddis hatch, and provided you fish late in the day, you will
definitely see spinner falls of the mayflies and egg laying activity of the caddis. Depending on the sky
conditions, this may not occur until near dark. The lower the light, the earlier it will occur. In this event, switch
to the respective mayfly spinner (Quill Gordon, Blue Quill or BWO) or the adult Little Black caddis pattern.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout
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