Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 03/29/14
Being right isn't always being very accurate. It rained yesterday morning early about
enough to wet the grass and then turned out to be a beautiful day. Now, the National
Weather service says there is a 100% chance of rain today and Accuweather says
50%. One doesn't predict the amount of rainfall and the other gives about 0.2 inch
for today. It is pretty obvious they don't know. I will put it this way, if I were you and
had the chance to fish today, i would certainly go. From what i can gather from what
they do say, it appears the amount of rain isn't going to be enough.
As far as the hatches go, this cold weather streak just hasn't had much effect on
them. They will continue to hatch in the lower and lower middle elevations and be
delayed some in the upper middle and higher elevations. In other words, where they
started hatching a few days ago, they will continue, and where the water was still a
little too cold for them to start, they will be delayed. It appears things will begin to be
more normal by the middle to end of next week. The long range for next week looks
absolutely great at least through Friday.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
For what it is worth: There will be showers today with a high near 61. The chance of
precipitation is 100%. Showers are likely tonight with a low of around 34. The chance
of precipitation is 70%.
On Sunday, there is a chance of rain and snow showers before 10am, then a slight
chance of rain showers between 10am and noon. The high will be near 58. The
chance of precipitation is 60%. NWS Forecast
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 198 cfs at 1.82 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 441 cfs at 1.81 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 98 cfs at 2.57 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. Notice I have dropped the
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 4/6/8
Black Matuka Sculpin
Olive Matuka Sculpin
3. Little Brown Stoneflies: 14
4. Blue Quills: 18
5. Quill Gordons: 12/14
emerging duns (wet fly)
6. 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.
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:
Fish nymphs until you see surface activity and then switch to your dry fly imitation of
what you think is hatching. It will be one of the above insects. Some quick tips on
identifying them. Mayfly duns have upright wings. The Quill Gordons big, size 12 to
14, the Blue Quills dark and little, size 18, and the Blue-winged Olive dark and little
size 18 with light colored wings, The Little Black Caddis, dark and little size 18, with
tent shaped down wings. Stoneflies will be fairly large, size 14 with flat down wings
and dipping down to touch the water late in the day.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Read the above tips on identifying the insects because it is obvious that many of you
that think you are an expert can't even identify the few insects currently hatching.
Whatever Hits Me:
Yesterday, I noticed there was quite a bit of snow showing up in the highest
elevations. They were not solid white but vertical patches of snow was still showing in
the deeper crevices at 2:00 PM yesterday afternoon.
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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