Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 08/05/14
Yesterday, I had a customer mention something to the effect that he knew hatches
were not very important now due to there being less numbers of insects on the water
than there was during the spring months. I pointed out to him that what he was
insinuating isn't true. Thinking the hatches that occur in the mid summer months are
of little importance is a huge mistake and obviously indicates one doesn't understand
the importance or significance of hatches.
When a hatch occurs, irrespective of the size of it, the trout will certainly be aware of
it and take advantage of the fact the insects will be easy to acquire. They are as
aware of what is going on in their environment as you are as to what's to eat when
you sit down to the dinner table at home. They see the underwater world very clearly.
In fact, at times, huge hatches can be more frustrating and less productive than
small hatches of aquatic insects. When there are large numbers of insects accenting
to the surface to hatch, as well as on the surface about to depart the water, the trout
have just that many more opportunities to select the real things over your fake
For example, in addition to your fly, if there are ten naturals on the surface within
close proximity of a trout, the odds of the trout selecting your fly (fake imitation) over
the real insects is lower than it would be if there were fewer naturals in and on the
Smoky Mountain Weather:
After today, it appears there is a chance of rain about everyday for the next week
with the best odds over the weekend. Some of the streams are getting a little low
again and the water will be needed for sure.
Today will be mostly sunny with a high near 86. Light and variable wind will be from
the northwest at 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.
On Wednesday, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after
noon. It will be mostly sunny with a high near 88. Light and variable wind will become
west at 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 79 cfs at 1.45 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 286 cfs at 1.51 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 55 cfs at 2.32 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but yesterday afternoon it was a
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
According to the reports we got over the weekend, it is a little below normal.
Current Recommended Streams
Today, I think you should avoid the lower elevations altogether and fish the middle
and higher elevations.
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Eastern Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 14/16
2. Brown and White Belly Sculpins: Especially good in off color, high water &
early/late in the day
Hook Size 4/6
3. Light Cahills:
Hook Size 16/14
4. Slate Drakes
Hook Size 10/12
5. Cream Cahills
Hook Size 16/14
6. Green Sedge (Caddisfly):
Hook Size 14/16
larvae (Green Rock Worms)
7. Little Yellow Stoneflies:
Hook Size 14/16
8. Little Green Stoneflies
Hook Size 16
9. Moth Larvae: (Inch Worms): 10/12/14
10. Carpenter Ants, Black
Hook Size 16/18
11. Japanese Beetles
Hook Size 16/14
12. Grass Hoppers
Hook Size 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 true Sulphurs are still hatching in the Smokies. They hatch in slower water but
often very near fast water runs and riffles. These mayflies are not 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
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 a Slate Drake nymph. These big
mayflies are plentiful throughout the streams of the Smokies. They are swimming
nymphs and represent a big meal for the trout that catch them. They have begin
congregating near the banks to crawl out of the water and hatch. That makes them
much easier for the trout to catch and gives you a good opportunity to catch some
nice trout. This will occur off and on from now into the month of November. The
hatches will increase in late September and early October.
Let me note that if you fish the day before, and know for a fact a certain mayfly listed
above is hatching in a certain area of the stream your fishing, by all means
fish the nymph of that mayfly the next morning up until you begin to see them hatch.
That will always give you the highest odds of success.
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 near the banks of the stream late in the day.
They crawl out of the water 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.
Little Green Stoneflies are also hatching. They tend to hatch in slower water at the
ends of pools, more so than the fast water runs and riffles. They are similar to the
Little Yellows, but have a bright green body and wings. They average a hook size 16.
Green Sedges have been hatching and will continue for a few more weeks. There
are several different species of them. 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 been hatching and will continue for the next two or three 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. 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.
Cream Cahills, similar to the Light Cahills, but a much lighter color mayfly have
started hatching. The duns leave the water very quickly but the spinner fall can
produce some very hot action.
Eastern Blue-winged Olives are rather large size BWOs that hatch in sparse
quantities in the lower and middle elevations during the late summer. They are not
baetis type BWOs, rather members of the Drunella genus that happen to have olive
color bodies and bluish tinted gray wings. You will usually find the duns, upside down
underneath the leaves of the trees in the shade during the day. If you see a few of
them, you should fish the spinner fall late that afternoon. They tend to hatch in the
late mornings, rather than afternoons until the weather becomes cooler.
There are still plenty of moth larvae hanging from the tree limbs. The moth larvae fly
also imitates the green caddis larvae quite well and is one reason the fly works well in
Carpenter ants are very plentiful. There are both black and browns ones in the park
but the blacks are more plentiful. These ants tend to only get in the water when they
are washed in by heavy downpours. It is a good idea to fish them anytime after a
The same heavy rain scenario applies to the Japanese Beetle. These insects are
very plentiful in the park. Fish our Perfect Fly imitation of them anytime, but they are
more effective after heavy downpours.
In areas where the streams in the park are surrounded by lots of grass, hoppers can
become a factor in the trout's diet. They are generally blown in the streams by high
wind, but can always accidentally jump in the water. They are not the smartest
creatures on earth.
Tips for Beginners:
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
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Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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