Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 12/29/13
Someone that turned out to be a nice gentleman and an avid and knowledgeable
angler, emailed me at Perfect Fly yesterday, and asked if we had any beadhead or
tungsten head nymphs. I copied the page on our generic section of the website and
sent it back to him. He followed that up by asking if the few shown were all we had. I
replied by writing something like "our Perfect Flies are simi-realistic imitations
of the real insects and that I have never seen a nymph with a bead head. He
responded with maybe not, but he had been told that when nymphs emerge, they
have air bubbles and that is what the beadheads imitate. He also said that he
understood I was a "purists". He thanked me for all the hard work I had put into our
website and was very complimentary, so don't take me wrong. He was very nice and
respectful. I'm just using this to point out a common problem where anglers mix up
pupae of caddisflies and midges, with nymphs. This is actually caused by fly shops
lumping imitations of larva and pupa into one category of flies they call nymphs. To
be blunt, I guess having to learn what a larva or pupa is, is just a little too much for
most fly shop owners.
Here is how I responded to his latest email:
"As I'm sure you know, you cannot tie a fly that you can't catch a trout on, even a wild
trout. It all gets down to a matter of odds or which flies will produce the best results.
Actually, nymphs do not give off gas bubbles when hatching. I've raised
enough of them in aquariums to know that for sure. What does give of bubblies of
air are pupae, which in respect to fly fishing for trout, are mostly caddisflies and
midges that have the pupa stage of life. They are encased in a sheath or covering
that holds air which separates and sheds as they emerge. The gases help them
accent to the surface. Even then, the bubbles don't stay attached to the pupa like a
There are some benefits of beadheads and it mostly has to do with the added weight
but there are also disadvantages that in most cases out weigh the advantages of
added weight. I also think the added flash helps attract newly stocked trout and if that
is what your pursuing, then maybe that's an advantage.
Since 1980, I've made my living from fishing without guiding or chartering. I did so
through fishing saltwater tournaments and teaching others to fish through TV
programs and mostly, 46 instructional videos/dvd of which have sold more copies
than any others. My wife and I also have 19 programs on fly fishing for trout. I
could have never been successful doing that by accepting anything that's
mediocre. I guess that is what you meant when you called me a purists.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
The radar shows it is raining from Pigeon Forge to Nashville Tennessee this morning
at 8:00. It isn't a downpour but it is steady enough to amount to some significant
accumulations. NWS Forecast
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 875 cfs at 33.35 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 1760 cfs at 3.30 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: not working cfs at 3.36 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 cfs, and with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but is high and rising and will be
blown out soon
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake are
probably high and going to be blown out soon. I'm going by the NWS precip map
Current Recommended Streams
You may well catch a trout fishing streamers from the bank this morning but normal
fly fishing methods are out for today. You may also be able to fish the smaller
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 20
nymphs (this would be the main fly)
2. Midges: Cream
Hook Size 20/22
3. Sculpins: Especially good in off color, high water & early/late in the day
Hook Size 6
White Belly Sculpin
4. Winter Stoneflies: 18/16
Recommended Fishing Strategy:
Fish streamers like our Perfect Fly White Belly Sculpin, or very small streams.
Tips for Beginners:
Unless you try to fish the very small streams from the banks, don't fish today.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Streamers will catch trout today.
Whatever Hits Me - Warm Rain
Many years ago, taking water temperatures while bass fishing, I leaned that warm
rainfall warms the water in lakes and streams faster than rising air temperatures. Of
course, both are factors and occur at the same time. Provided it isn't too cold, the
shallow, rising and usually very dingy water near the banks is where largemouth bass
move to feed. When it begins to fall, they do just the opposite and move off the
banks to slightly deeper water.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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