Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 10/06/14
It looks like we have a couple of chances for some more rain this week. There's a
good chance today and tomorrow and then another front should be coming through
on Friday and Saturday. I talked to two customers who fished Saturday and
yesterday who did very well. Both fished the North Carolina side, one in the
Cataloochee Valley and the other the upper part of Straight Fork Creek. Both
reported good numbers of fish but of different species. The Cat Valley gentleman
caught mostly brook trout on dry flies and the SF gentleman browns and brooks
mostly on our little BWO nymphs.
I don't see much change in the colors of the leaves at our elevation of about 1400
feet, or even looking at the higher elevations that we can see from here. That
includes Mt. LeConte which is about as high as they get but I'm sure it looks different
up there. I am seeing thousands of people in town here to see the beautiful autumn
colors. I guess in some ways that's good. They couldn't possibly all come at the same
For some reason I have never quite figured out, visitors start showing up in large
numbers two or three weeks before the leaves make a substantial change. It is
almost always past the middle of October and usually closer to the first of November
before it gets real colorful. It has been rather cold the past couple of days. We have
had to turn the heat on, so it shouldn't be much longer before the leaves begin to
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today, showers and thunderstorms are likely, mainly after 2pm. It will be mostly
cloudy with a high near 70. South wind should be around 10 mph. The chance of
precipitation is 70%. Tonight, we can expect occasional showers and thunderstorms.
The low will be around 52. The chance of precipitation for tonight is 80%.
Tuesday, we should have a few more showers and thunderstorms. It will be mostly
cloudy with a high near 70. Southwest wind will be around 5 to 10 mph. The chance
of precipitation is 70%.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 53 cfs at 1.27 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 154 cfs at 1.11 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 34 cfs at 2.17 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby. Yesterday, it was low.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake: I don't
have any recent reports but looking at the rainfall amounts in the watersheds of the
streams flowing into the lake, it appears the streams are all relatively low.
Current Recommended Streams:
I think you can fish about anywhere but the very lowest elevations. The North
Carolina side of the park seems to be in a little better shape.
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 20/18/16
2. Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Especially good in off color, high water & early/late in the day
Hook Size 6
3. Slate Drakes
Hook Size 10/12
4. Cream Cahills
Hook Size 16/14
5. Green Sedge (Caddisfly):
Hook Size 14/16
larvae (Green Rock Worms)
6. Little Yellow Stoneflies:
Hook Size 14/16
8. Little Yellow Quills
Hook Size 16
9. Great Autumn Brown Sedge:
Hook Size 10
10. Needle Stoneflies
Hook Size 16/18
8. Moth Larvae: (Inch Worms): 10/12/14
9. Carpenter Ants, Black
Hook Size 16/18
10. Japanese Beetles
Hook Size 16/14
11. Grass Hoppers
Hook Size 10, 12, 14
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, assuming I was fishing a low to mid elevation
stream, I would fish a Slate Drake nymph. These big mayflies are plentiful
throughout the lower to middle elevation 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 Quills will begin to hatch anytime now. These are mostly a mid to high
elevation insect, often confused with Light Cahills but quite different. They are very
plentiful at times and you will often see them in the brook trout streams.
Needle Stoneflies will begin to hatch anytime now. These are very narrow, long
shaped stoneflies that when in flight, look more like a caddifly than a stonefly. Like all
stoneflies they crawl out of the water in low light conditions to hatch. The egg layer
can provide some great action in the late afternoons.
It is about time you will start seeing the Great Autumn Brown Sedges, or caddiflies.
These are large caddis that hatch during the evening and lay their eggs late in the
day and early evenings. If you camp, you will see them around your lights the next
month or two.
Little Yellow Stoneflies are hatching and different species of them will actually get
more plentiful in the near future. 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.
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.
Cream Cahills are still hatching. These are mainly a mid to high elevation mayfly. The
duns leave the water very quickly but the spinner fall can produce some very hot
Blue-winged Olives are hatching but they are very small. They are small baetis type
BWOs but also includes species from two other genera commonly called Small BWOs
and Little BWOs.
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 the Smokies.
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. James Marsh, Pending CFO (Chief Fishing Officer)
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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The photo above shows a collection of flies we put together for a
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