Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 04/22/14
In talking to several guys who have fished the streams of the park during the past
several days, I find their success level matches the same rather pool level of success
at this time of the year that I have seen and heard for the past few years. In short,
multiple hatches creates problems. The tendency is for anglers to only fish the fast
water runs and riffles, grossly over fish dry flies, and in many cases use the standard
old generic flies that simply do a poor job of matching the hatching insects. Right
when they should be catching large numbers of trout, the results are
mediocre. Some complain of poor results and others seem satisfied with catching a
dozen trout when it should be easy to catch many more. In a nut shell, it gets down to
fishing in the wrong places within the stream at the wrong time with the wrong flies.
This all leads back to a very poor knowledge and understanding of the
various insects behavior.
At any given time during the day, the trout will alway concentrate on feeding on the
easiest to acquire and most plentiful insect. This is usually one and only one
insect and in only one type of water. Contrary to what many ill informed anglers
think, the trout don't swim around all over the stream looking for and eating
every morsel of food they can discover. In fact, they will usually exist in a very
small area of the stream at any given time, feeding on the same thing. For most
anglers, this presents a hit and miss scenario and results in overall poor results. If it
happens to be a section of slower moving water, those using generic imitations that
poorly imitate the looks of the real insects, get far more rejections than hookups.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today, there is a chance of showers, then showers likely and possibly a
thunderstorm this afternoon. It will be cloudy, with a high near 71. West winds will be
5 to 10 mph. The chance of precipitation is 70%. Tonight, there is a 50 percent
chance of showers and thunderstorms before 9pm. The low will be around 43.
Wednesday should be sunny, with a high near 70. North winds will be around 5 to 10
mph. NWS Forecast
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 254 cfs at 1.99 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 538 cfs at 1.94 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 113 cfs at 2.62 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but It is about normal.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
is they about normal levels.
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 4/6/8
Black Matuka Sculpin
Olive Matuka Sculpin
3. Little Brown Stoneflies: 14
4. Hendricksons and Red Quills: 12/14
5. American March Browns: 10/12
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 of success. 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.
Until I spotted something hatching, I would fish the BWO nymph. The only time I would
change from the nymphs mentioned above is when and if I saw something hatching,
and then I would go to the appropriate emerger or dun/adult imitation of that insect.
The Hendricksons/Red Quills are usually concentrated but only in isolated locations
consisting mostly of pools and slower moving water. Most Smoky Mountain anglers
don't have a clue as to how to fish pools. That can be a huge mistake. It is also a
huge mistake attempting to fish them with the poor, generic imitations sold by most fly
shops simply because the trout can see the flies in the slower water of the pools.
Little Brown stoneflies are also likely to 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
American March Browns are hatching but they are always sporadic hatches that are
difficult to predict in terms of the time of day. They will hatch off and on over a long
period of time, for the next couple of months. If you see any duns emerging, change
to an American March Brown emerger or dun. That also means there will be a
spinner fall late in the day near dark and that always concentrates them. You can
catch several trout very fast if you catch that right. It will be the same with the
Hendricksons but in a completely different type of water. The AMBs will fall in the
riffles and runs and the Hendricksons/RQ spinners in the end of the pools.
Tips for Beginners:
I suggest you read the opening couple of paragraphs at the top of this page twice.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
I suggest you read the opening couple of paragraphs at the top of this page three
Whatever Hits Me:
Anything that's worth doing, is worth doing right. This includes fly fishing for trout.
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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