Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 06/14/14
Once again, the North Carolina side of the park got far more rain than the
Tennessee side. The term "isolated" showers and thunderstorms, had real meaning
yesterday. All of the park received some amount of rain but according to the
precipitation map, it varied from a tenth of an inch all the way up to 21/2 inches in a
few isolated areas of the park. Oconaluftee River is actually a little too high to safely
wade this morning, but will be fine later today. Little River did get a little water and is
up just a little, but it still needs a lot more rain in its watershed.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
The forecast for the next week looks like the weather service computer locked up and
posted the same thing for a week. There is a 20 to 30 percent chance of rain every
day for the next week.
Today, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3pm. It will
be mostly sunny, with a high near 83.
Sunday's forecast shows a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after
3pm. It will be mostly sunny with a high near 88.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 139 cfs at 1.70 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 608 cfs at 2.10 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 93 cfs at 2.53 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. Yesterday, it looked a little lower than normal.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
I am mostly going by the precip map. The streams appear to have only received a
small amount of rain. I JUST THIS MORNING NOTICED I HAVE BEEN CALLING
FONTANA LAKE, "CHEROKEE" LAKE FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS. I
would like to have it renamed to save being embarrassed.
Current Recommended Streams
I would avoid the lowest elevations. The forthcoming, slightly cooler weather (low 80's
versus low 90s) will help hold the water temps down.
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
8. Golden Stoneflies:
Hook Size 10/12
9. Moth Larvae: (Inch Worms): 10/12/14
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
The Eastern Pale Evening Duns have been hatching. 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 have started to hatch 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.
Golden Stoneflies should begin to hatch anytime now, if not already. Like all
stoneflies, they crawl out of the water mostly at night. Fishing an imitations of the
nymph late in the day is a good idea, provided you know they are hatching in a given
area. Fish the adult when you see them laying eggs late in the afternoon.
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.
Light Cahills have started hatching and will continue for the next few weeks. This is a
good mayfly hatch for the Smokies and if you encounter any, you want to make sure
you fish it. If you encounter one today, you should fish the Light Cahill nymph in the
morning and for the next few days in the same area. This hatch tends to move
upstream a few days at a time. If you see the duns, you can expect the spinners to
fall late in the afternoon. They are very difficult to see and you probably won't see
them. Just fish the Light Cahill spinner pattern at the ends of the runs and riffles
where they will congregate. If a hatch has occurred, they will be there for certain but
sometimes it is quite late near dark.
There are plenty of moth larvae hanging from the tree limbs. Notice I added Inch
worms to the list of flies above.
Tips for Beginners:
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
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