Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 02/04/14
What can I say other than more rain is on the way, not only tonight and in the
morning, but this coming weekend. I do have a way to catch trout under these
circumstances I will go over tomorrow. It works even when the water is out of its banks.

Smoky Mountain Weather:
Showers are likely after 4pm today. The chance of precipitation this afternoon is 60%.
Tonight Showers, with thunderstorms are possible. It will rain for sure.
Wednesday morning there is a 50% chance of showers.
NWS Forecast

Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:

Little River: Rate 1230 cfs at 3.65 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)

Oconaluftee River: Rate 1550 cfs at 3.10 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: 441 cfs at 3.59 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. Yesterday afternoon is was out
of its banks but didn't flood anything in the areas I checked.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
(based on the NWS precipitation map) is they are all still blown out.

Current Recommended Streams
The water has cleared up enough you could fish any of the lower elevation streams
where trout exist, but only from the bank.

Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 18
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
Brown Sculpin
White Belly Sculpin

4. Winter Stoneflies: 18/16

Recommended Fishing Strategy:
Fishing streamers from the bank.

Tips for Beginners:
Same as above strategy.

Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Same as above strategy.

Whatever Hits Me:
Two guys sent email asking what I thought about the high water damage to newly
hatched brown and brook trout, with specific mention of Lynn Camp Prong. My
answer was and still is, I don't know. That is difficult to guess at and only data from
stream sampling will provide a good answer for the coming year. A year or two from
now, I could probably make a good educated guess based on the size of fish most
anglers are catching but again, that would only be a guess. I do know fish have ways
of surviving flooding situations where it seems that's impossible. They can get in
holes and other areas of the water that is out of the current even in flooding
situations, but the high water is bound to affect the population that survive.

As far as Lynn Camp Prong is concerned, as I understand it, mistakes were made by
those in charge of the project and they didn't get rid of all the wild rainbows in the
stream before restocking it with brook trout. If that is correct, I don't see how it is
possible for the stream not to eventually have rainbows mixed in with the brook trout.
I live and learn and hopefully, I'm wrong. Except for a learning experience, I see it as
a waste of time and money, but again, I may well be wrong. I'm only going by hear
say with no first hand knowledge and that is always a dangerous thing to be doing. I
was for the project in the beginning and I still hope it is successful.

I will say that I'm not completely sold on the idea of getting rid of the exotics. I mean
after all, how would we like it if there were no brown trout in the U.S., and no rainbows
anywhere other than a few streams that drain into the Pacific. They are not native
anywhere else in the U.S. If you go back a very long time, I'm not even sure if they
can determine what is native and not native but I won't get into that.

I don't know how this program effort affects all the other species of animals including
insects. It is going to be interesting to see the end results but I probably won't be
around to see it. I do know I completely disagree with some of the things Yellowstone
National Park has underway such as their Grayling Creek project. I do know they
have been a complete failure on a huge problem they have with lake trout destroying
the native cutthroat in Yellowstone Lake and the upper Yellowstone River.

It makes common sense that the Yellowstone authorities should fix what's a huge,
known problem before they start waisting time and money to satisfy someone's idea
of what should and shouldn't exist in the world we live in.
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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