Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 05/17/14
As they normally do, the National Weather Service keeps slightly increasing the odds
of rain up until it actually rains. The streams are back in decent shape and in fact,
not low and as difficult to fish as they were before the last rain. Today will be a little
cool and windy but should still be a good day to fish is your lucky enough to miss the
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today showers are likely after 8am, otherwise, mostly cloudy with a high near 61.
Light and variable wind will become west at 10 to 15 mph in the morning. Winds could
gust to as high as 20 mph. The chance of precipitation is 60%. Tonight, we will have
scattered showers and a low of around 46.
Sunday's forecast calls for showers. It will be mostly cloudy with a high near 67.
Northeast winds will around 5 mph becoming calm in the afternoon. The chance of
precipitation is 50%.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 272 cfs at 2.04 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 551 cfs at 1.96 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 123 cfs at 2.66 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby and I haven't seen it this morning
yet, but its probably high but falling fast.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
is they are from high but falling fast.
Current Recommended Streams
Any of the stream in the park, provided the watersheds don't get much more rain.
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 16/20
2. Sculpins: Especially good in off color, high water & early/late in the day
Hook Size 4/6
Black Matuka Sculpin
Olive Matuka Sculpin
3. Light Cahills:
Hook Size 16/14
4. American March Browns: 10/12
5. Giant Black StoneflIies: 4/6
6. Green Sedge (Caddisfly):
Hook Size 14/16
larvae (Green Rock Worms)
7. Little Yellow Stoneflies:
Hook Size 14/16
Miscellaneous Hatches Occurring in the Smokies:
Cinnamon Caddis and Little Sister caddis:
I should mention that you may find some Cinnamon Caddis, sizes 18 and 16, about
the middle of the month of May, along with their Little Sister Caddis, size 18. These
are usually found in the slower sections of the larger streams but only in very small
quantities and only in isolated locations within the stream. Abrams Creek has plenty
of both of these caddisflies and if you fish Abrams I suggest you have imitations of
I previously mentioned that Eastern Green Drakes are hatching in Abrams Creek and
you shouldn't overlook that if you fish it. Starting to hatch any time now are the
Eastern Pale Evening Duns. These mayflies are called "Sulphurs" by local southern
anglers but are not true Sulphurs. They are a size 14 and slightly larger than the true
sulphurs and very common in nearby tailwaters such as the Clinch and South
Holston. The true Sulphurs will start to hatch about the middle of the month in the
Smokies and at times you may find both species. The Eastern Pale Evening Duns
have more of a tan colored body and hatch in faster water than the true Sulphurs.
The true Sulphurs have more of a sulphur colored body, are slightly smaller, and
hatch in slower water but often very near fast water runs and riffles. Neither of these
mayflies are plentiful in the Smokies. They are crawler nymphs and found mostly in
pockets and pools with areas of softer bottom. They can be plentiful but only in very
small, isolated sections of the larger streams.
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. Right now you have
two completely different size BWOs hatching, one a size 20 and another closer to a
size 16. The only time I would change from the nymphs just mentioned is when and if
I saw something hatching, and then I would go to the appropriate emerger or
dun/adult imitation of that insect.
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.
Giant Black stoneflies are also likely to hatch but the hatch occurs near or after dark.
Fishing the Giant Black stonefly nymph near the banks very late in the day should be
very effective. If you see any Giant Black stoneflies laying eggs, switch to the adult
Little Yellow Stoneflies are hatching. If you see any adults during the day, it is a good
idea to fish an imitation of the nymph late in the day and near the banks of the
stream. They crawl out and hatch during the darkness of the night. You may also
spot some of the females laying eggs. This usually occurs late afternoons and if so,
be certain to fish an imitation of the adult.
Green Sedges should start to hatch in the lower elevation first, and then progress
upstream as the days go by. The do not hatch in big numbers but where they hatch,
trout will focus on eating them because they hatch at a time of day that is different
from other hatching insects at this time of the year. It usually occurs later in the day
near the same time the previously hatched adults are depositing their eggs. You
should concentrate far more on fishing the Green Rock Worm or larva stage of life of
the Green Sedge.
Tips for Beginners:
The water is high enough that very short, upstream presentations should get you
some takes today. It will also help you deal with the wind.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
Thank you for your support
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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