Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 02/08/14
Get off the dang couch and get out and fish and for goodness sake, don't let anyone
tell you what you might and might not catch.

Smoky Mountain Weather:
There is about a 50% chance of rain and or snow today. The high will be around 45
in Gatlinburg. Sunday will be mostly cloudy with a high of 45.
NWS Forecast

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

Little River: Rate 521 cfs at 2.59 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)

Oconaluftee River: Rate 859 cfs at 2.35 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: 221 cfs at 3.01 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. Looking at it is appears to be
just a little high.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
it is still a little high.

Current Recommended Streams
Same as yesterday except, I think the larger, lower elevation streams are low enough
to fish if you use caution. Small, lower to middle elevation streams may allow you a
chance to wade. Cosby Creek, Indian Camp Creek, lower Roaring Fork, West Prong
of Little River, and Laurel Creek in Tennessee. Flat Creek, Bunches, Twenty Mile,
and Straight Fork in Cherokee come to mind.

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:
I would fish the BWO nymph until about 3:00 PM and then switch to a Little Winter
stonefly nymph. The only time I would change that strategy is when and if I saw
something hatching and then I would go to the appropriate imitation of that. Fish the
slow side of any current seams, pockets and pools where there is little to no current. I
am expecting to see some Little Brown stoneflies on the banks and roads soon but
so far I haven't and I'm holding off listing them as recommended flies.  

Tips for Beginners:
Unless someone is with you that could render assistance, I still suggest you stay out
of the water.

Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
If you still use trial and error methods of selecting flies, you don't need to be reading
this section. You still have a lot to learn. A refresher course on math probability
would be a good start. I'll explain that a little better below.

Whatever Hits Me:
I had an email from someone who doesn't think they are an expert, but who
wondered what I meant yesterday, when I mentioned math probability in the above
tips for "Self Proclaimed Experts".

When your choosing a fly to use, or for that matter, what bait (live or dead), fly,lure,
etc., to use to catch a fish, you should choose it based on one thing -
what you
think will give you the highest odds of success.
That's because in most all
cases, there isn't such a thing as only one bait, lure or fly that will catch the fish your
Technically speaking, all fish are opportunistic feeders. That written, in
most situations, there is always a certain bait, lure or fly that you could use that would
give you the highest odds of success.
When your choosing a fly to use for trout,
you should  select one that best imitates the food that is most available and
most plentiful for the trout to eat.

What confuses most anglers is this. It isn't that the trout won't eat a fly that imitates
something else. They will. It is the fact that they will position themselves in certain
areas of the water, both in terms of horizontal and vertical position, where they can
acquire the most food the easiest and fastest way.
They do this not only because
it is more convenient and easy for them to acquire the food, it is often a
matter of survival.
They have to spend less energy than they can replace with food
or they will soon die.

I'm trying to make this as simple as possible, so let me say they don't choose a BWO
nymph over a sulphur nymph because it taste better. They will probably eat either
one as long as it is in the same line or food channel they are feeding in: however,  
that's not usually the case. At any given point in time and at any one place, there is
always one food that is more plentiful and easy for them to acquire than all other
foods that are available.

Off hand, many of you may think that would be very difficult to figure out. The truth is,
if you know and understand the aquatic insects and other foods in the stream your
fishing, it isn't.
It is fairly easy to do. Sure, you can make mistakes but most of the
time it is easy to do but again, only if you understand the food. When you will have
the most trouble is when multiple hatches are occurring.

Let me explain why hatches are important. It is simply because aquatic insects are
easy for the trout to acquire when they are emerging. They are usually sitting
ducks, so to speak. But don't let that fool you because it doesn't just relate to dry fly
fishing. It relates much more to nymphs that are on the streambed out in the open
getting ready to hatch, not hidden down under and between the rocks. It relates more
to them accenting to the surface to dry their wings and fly away.
To the trout,
eating the emerging insects is like taking candy from a baby
. When they are
on the surface trying to escape they are often more difficult for the trout to catch and
When mayflies fall on the water to die as spinners, they are dead sitting
When stoneflies, mayflies or caddisflies are laying eggs on the surface, they
are easy for the trout to grab.

Many think that is very complicated to learn what you need to know about insects but
it really isn't.
If aquatic insects was the subject of a sixth grade class for just
one month, the kids would know more about it than most fly anglers.
would know more than many fly shop owners.

I won't get into all of that, but I do want to point out something for you "trial and error"
guys. Let's say you fish a certain nymph for an hour and don't catch the first trout.
Then you change nymphs and catch two or three during the next hour. Now, many of
you would say the trout are taking the such and such nymph and think you had it
down pat. Facts are, you may have caught the same amount on the first nymph you
used if you continued to fish it. In fact, you may have caught six on it. In fact, you may
not catch another one on the second nymph you used all day.
Using that type of
trial and error for a strategy is actually plain stupid
but all that guys who are not
willing to learn much about what the heck it is they are trying to imitate with a fly are
left with. It is your choice to make. You can continue to be a mediocre angler the rest
of your life or learn what your really doing, catch more fish and just as important, take
pride in knowing that what you caught was a matter of your knowledge than a matter
of pure luck.
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
More Options For Selecting Flies:
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2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
will help you decide which flies you

3. Call or email us with a budget for
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