Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 10/11/14
I received some of the best reports of catches the last two days and last night that I
have received all year. That came from three different groups, or actually two groups
and one individual.
Seems the Cataloochee Valley is not only full of elk in love and elk loving people, but
apparently its streams are full of willing-to-play trout. Two of a three man group
fishing there were able to catch a grand slam and all three caught high numbers of
trout. They used mostly Little Yellow Quills and Cream Cahill duns but many of them
came on BWO nymphs, especially during the morning.
The upper Straight Fork from near the trailhead to the Raven Fork to the area near
the bridge, also produced well for one of our Georgia customers. He not only caught
a rather large number of trout but two were browns, both measuring a little over 18
inches. The large browns and several of the smaller browns and rainbows came on a
Slate Drake nymph, but several were caught on size 18, Blue-winged olive duns.
The third group of three guys, fishing the upper backcountry of Little River, did just
as well or better in terms of numbers, but didn't manage any large fish. They were
caught on about everything listed below except the Brown sedges and terrestrials.
As long as the stream levels remain decent, and we don't get too much rain, today
should be a very good day to be in the park. Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are both
packed to the gills with visitors, even though the peak season for the colorful leafs is
still a few days off. I do recommend staying away from those places people can pull
off the side of the road and look at the water, as well as the main hiking trials where
visitors can overlook the streams. That obviously spooks the trout.
We have yet to finish our marketing and website work for new Perfect Fly product
and business in general, coast to coast, has yet to slow down, so I'm still behind the
eight ball. Maybe when it gets cold and everyone else sits around in front of the
fireplace, I can spend some time fishing.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Showers are likely today. In fact, they have already started. Thunderstorms are
possible after 8am. Otherwise, it will be cloudy with a high near 73. Calm wind will
come out of the northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon. The chance of
precipitation is 70%.
Sunday, you can expect a chance of more showers, with thunderstorms also possible
after 8am. It should be mostly cloudy with a high near 74. South wind should be
around 5 mph. 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 131 cfs at 1.65 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 249 cfs at 1.39 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rat 47 cfs at 2.27 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but it looked to be in great shape
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake: From the
precip map and customer reports, the streams should be in very good shape.
Current Recommended Streams:
You should be able to fish about anywhere today.
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
gentleman in our new Master fly box for some Maryland and
Pennsylvania trout streams that he fishes. In this case there are 140
flies that range from a hook size 20 up to a hook size 6. He will use the
fly box as a home storage base and take only the flies he needs at a
particular time with him to a stream in a small fly box. As you can see,
there is plenty of space left in the box for more flies. Not shown is a map
or plan of the fly box that identifies the flies left to right by line. It stays
inside the box so that he can identify each fly until he becomes familiar
with all of them. Example, the top line, left to right,:2 each #14
BWO nymphs, BWO duns, #16 BWO nymphs, BWO emergers, BWO
duns, BWO spinners, #18 BWO nymphs, BWO emergers, BWO duns,
BWO spinners, #20 BWO nymphs and BWO duns or a total of 14
different flies or 28 in total. As an additional advantage, on our website
there is a full page of information on each type of fly, a total of 70 in this
particular case, that explains how, when and where to fish each fly.