Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 03/21/14
I talked to one local Knoxville angler on the phone who ordered some flies for the
Smokies yesterday. He was disappointed in his results day before yesterday as well
as the two days before that. I also had an email from a gentlemen from Bryson City
who was not satisfied with his fishing during the first of this week.
I decided to drive through the park yesterday afternoon around 2:30, from Sugarland
to Elkmont, and then downstream to exit at Wears Valley. I stopped and talked to two
anglers. One said he had caught two fish all day. The other one reported he had not
caught a single trout.
Now, I am sure that didn't represent eveyone's results. I'm sure some guys caught
some trout. I feel sure I just didn't hear from them or talk to any of them. What I did
notice that was consistent, was the fact they all thought they could fish just like it was
May or June, mostly fishing dry flies in the fast water, and catch trout.
Of the four guys, two fished large Parachute Adams, size 10 to 12's. One had on a
Hare's ear nymph about a size 12. I'm not sure what the other one used. When I
asked him, he didn't seem to know what he was using.
I did my best to help those that emailed, called and that I spoke to in person, but I'm
not sure how much good it did. I do know two of them will have the right flies their next
trip but I'm not sure they know when or how to fish them. Having the right fly is only a
part of it.
None of them were very experienced but all of them have fly fished before and
managed to catch trout on the fly. They all expressed disappointment in the results of
their efforts. One guy said he had heard that anglers were catching large numbers of
trout. I just reminded him that not all fishermen are liars, just a substantial
percentage of them. I just suggested they watch their step in the fly shops. As Lefty is
credited with saying, "There's often more (you know what) in a fly shop than
there are in a Kansas City Stockyard.
It is certainly possible to catch a large number of trout. Several aquatic insects are
hatching and conditions are as good as it gets in March, but the results is always
going to greatly depend on using the right strategies, techniques as well as the right
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today will be sunny, with a high near 67. The low tonight will be around 42. There is
a 40 percent chance of showers on Saturday with a high near 67 and a low that night
of 45. Southwest winds will range from 10 to 15 with gusts to 20 mph.
There is a 50 percent chance of showers on Saturday night and Sunday. The high
will be near 54. NWS Forecast
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 247 cfs at 1.97 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 458 cfs at 1.87 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 104 cfs at 2.60 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby. It is a little on the low side.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
is they are a little low.
Current Recommended Streams
Any of the streams in the lower to middle elevations.
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 18
nymphs (this would be the main fly)
2. Sculpins: Especially good in off color, high water & early/late in the day
Hook Size 6
White Belly Sculpin
3. Winter Stoneflies: 18/16
4. Little Brown Stoneflies: 14
5. Blue Quills: 18
6. Quill Gordons: 12/14
emerging duns (wet fly)
8. Little Black Caddis: 18
Recommended Fishing Strategy:
Keep in mind, the strategies I am recommending is for the maximum odds of
catching numbers of fish. Many prefer or favor a dry fly and by all means there
isn't anything wrong with that. It's just a fact that if nothing is hatching at the time, it
reduces your odds. You can still probably hook some trout, just not as many as if you
fish subsurface. Of course, this is also based on using good techniques and the right
flies. Some guys don't know how to fish below the surface.
There's a chance you could see some Little Brown stoneflies laying eggs this
afternoon. It is also possible to see some Blue Quills, BWO and Quill Gordon
hatching. Until I spotted something hatching, With the Quill Gordon exception
mentioned below, I would fish the BWO or Blue Quill nymph. If I still hadn't witnessed
a hatch, about 3:00 PM, I would switch to a Little Brown stonefly nymph. In an area
where you spotted Quill Gordons hatching the previous day, you should fish the
Quill Gordon nymph until they begin to hatch. The odds are good they will continue
to hatch and the clinger nymphs are out from underneath the rocks exposed.
The only time I would change from the nymph is when and if I saw something
hatching, and then I would go to the appropriate emerger or dun/adult imitation of
that insect. In the Quill Gordon case, if the hatch is taking place and the trout are not
feeding on the surface very much, use the Emerging Quill Gordon wet fly.
There is a good chance the Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, Little Black Caddis and baetis
BWO's will hatch today. Any or all of them could hatch in the lower to middle
elevations. Little Brown stoneflies will likely hatch but the hatch occurs near or after
dark. Fishing the Little Brown stonefly nymph near the banks very late in the day
should be very effective. If you see any Little Brown stoneflies laying eggs, switch to
the adult pattern.
You will likely see some very small black caddis. I suggest you ignore them. They are
about a size 20 to 22 and crawl out of the water to hatch and we have always been
unable to catch trout trying to imitate them. The Little Black Caddis Brachycentrus
(American Grannoms) (size 18) hatch mid water like many mayflies. They don't crawl
out of the water. They fly off the water. Use an imitation of the pupa during the hatch,
and adults during egg laying.
Tips for Beginners:
The water levels and weather is as good as it gets in March.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
I need another cup of coffee. Thanks for checking in with us.
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
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