Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 08/16/14
A couple of days ago, I wrote something about casting a fly to trout that probably
didn't come across the way I intended it - "Many of the so called "great fly casters"
are seriously lacking in their ability to catch fish. Fly cast shouldn't necessarily be
pretty. They should be effective. Crooked, messed up cast, are usually far more
effective in catching trout than pretty cast that straighten the line out".
I received an email from a gentleman that is just getting started fly fishing who was
obviously confused by the statement. By crooked, messed-up cast, what I really
meant was one needs to make cast that puts some slack in the line, leader and
or/tipped, such that the fly line doesn't cross directly over the trout you intend to
catch (called lining the fish) and such that you don't get instant drag when your fly
line hits the water.
I actually used the same phrase that Mr. John Randolph, the now retired previous
editor of Fly Fisherman Magazine used in an article he wrote several years ago
about fly casting. He called a good cast for trout, a "messed up" cast but of course,
unlike I, he went on to explain what he meant by that.
In order to make a long cast, it is necessary to straighten the line out. The more slack
line there is in a cast, the shorter the cast will be. If you make a straight-line,
upstream cast beyond the location you expect a trout to be holding or feeding, your
fly will cross back over the fish. Worse, the fly line or leader would have landed
directly over the fish. Even if it is slightly to the left or right of the fish, If you mend the
fly line after it has hit the water, you are going to disturb the water and possibly,
spook the fish. The ideal cast would be a "reach" cast, or a cast that allows the fly to
land left or right of the fly line, but upstream of the fish in such a manner that the fly
drifts drag-free over the fish without the fish being spooked by the fly line. There are
other "messed up" or "crooked" cast that accomplish the same thing that are
sometimes effective. Curve cast and pile cast are two other "messed up" cast.
I have written about this before in detail and even covered how the cast are made.
The only thing I want to accomplish here is to explain to those I may have confused in
my article written day before yesterday, that I was just using poor terminology
without any explanation for cast that are necessary to get good drag-free drifts,
without spooking the trout. It is just a fact that long, straight-line cast aren't good in
many, if not most situations where you are casting a fly to trout.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today will be mostly sunny with a high near 85. Northwest wind will be around 5 mph.
Sunday, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. It will
be partly sunny with a high near 87. West wind will be around 5 mph.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 107 cfs at 1.55 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 242 cfs at 1.58 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 65 cfs at 2.38 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
appeared a little low.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake: There isn't
a gauge but reports indicate Hazel Creek is in good shape but maybe a little on the
Current Recommended Streams
The daily high temperatures are easing back much warmer than they have been
recently, and I suggest you avoid the low elevations and fish the mid to high elevation
for the next few days.
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
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 also
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:
Thank you for visiting our site.
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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