Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 10/13/14
How long is a row of cotton?
Conditions have been excellent for the past few days. Day before yesterday, I wrote
of three different groups having some very good success and mentioned they were
all able to catch good numbers of trout. That created several email questions asking
exactly what those numbers were. First of all, I don't think either group knew the exact
numbers, and I certainly didn't make a record of them. However, in case you too, are
wondering what i consider good numbers, I will elaborate more on the subject.
Keep in mind when you talk numbers of trout caught in the park, there are so many
variables, most of which are to do with conditions relative to water levels,
temperatures and many other factors, what's considered good number of trout
caught varies tremendously. The numbers should also vary greatly depending on the
species of trout one is referring to. For example, catching 20 brook trout, isn't
exactly the same as catching 20 brown trout.
Also, as everyone should know, size is yet another factor. If a guy targets browns and
catches two over 16 or 18 inches in a day, I would say he or she had a good day. If it
is January, and the water temperature is in the low forties, catching twenty trout
would be a good catch. I have done better even under worse conditions, yet there
are those who don't have a clue how to do that, would never as much as try. If
conditions are like they have been for the past few days, catching that number (20)
of rainbows and/or brook trout in an eight hour day wouldn't be anything special to
write home about. On the other hand, catching twenty to forty trout in the park would
be considered good anytime under most conditions. However, if I couldn't catch over
ten in eight hours on days like the last two, I would be very upset.
If someone caught twenty brookies, and conditions were ideal for catching them, that
certainly wouldn't deserve any special recognition for eight hours of fishing. I have
watched Angie catch twenty brook trout in an hour or two on many occasions, and
stop fishing for them to try something different. We have caught as many as forty
rainbow in less than a half day more times than we have fingers and toes, yet that is
almost impossible most days.
Now that I have written that, I can expect to get email stating I shouldn't write such
stuff, because it is embarrassing to those who struggle to catch ten of anything in a
day. If I get such an email, and trust me I probably will, they will be correct in writing
that. It would rightly be considered bragging in the eyes of many even though I didn't
write it for bragging purpose at all, only to say that is very possible.
By the same token, those that say the numbers and size of trout caught isn't
important at all, are just full of it. I have yet to meet anyone that enjoyed dressing
out in waders and fishing all day in the park without getting a strike. That may beat a
good day in the office, but quite frankly, that would make me want to commit suicide.
Now all of the above written, I constantly see guys writing on blogs and forums
about a day on a stream, not mentioning numbers at all, but showing a few pictures
(probably of every single trout they caught) that try to imply they caught large
numbers when they in fact didn't. I think some have posted a picture of every trout
they have caught in their entire lifetime. There isn't anything wrong with that, but it
may be something you want to take into consideration.
Now that I have probably made every angler that exist angry, good or bad, old or
young, I will get off the subject. Asking how many trout caught should be considered
a good day, is like asking how long a row of cotton is. How long is a row of
cotton? It is as long as you make it.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
We will definitely be getting more rain tomorrow. There is a sizeable front that will be
moving through the area. The stream levels are in good shape as of this morning,
and will probably fall some today and until late tonight, then be on the way back up
through Tuesday. The chances of rain will continue to range from 30 to 50% though
Thursday. I think there is a chance some of them could produce stream levels that
are too high to wade, or even blow them out for a day or two, but it is also possible
they will remain in excellent shape all week. It all depends on the amount of rain each
of the watersheds get.
There is a 30 percent chance of showers this morning. It will be cloudy, then
gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 77. South wind will range from 5
to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Tonight there is a a slight chance of showers between 11pm and 2am, then a chance
of showers and thunderstorms after 2am. Southeast wind will be from 15 to 20 mph,
with gusts as high as 30 mph. The chance of precipitation is 30%.
Tuesday, there is a chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers and
possibly a thunderstorm after 8am. The high will be near 75. It will be breezy, with a
south wind around 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. The chance of
precipitation is 90%.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 221 cfs at 1.95 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 299 cfs at 1.51 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rat 46 cfs at 2.26 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 I'm sure it is going to be
high this morning - still wadable but marginal.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake: From the
precip map they are probably high for this time of the year but still wadable.
Current Recommended Streams:
You should be able to fish about anywhere you desire 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:
First learn what food it is you need to be imitating, that should determine what flies
you should be using. It isn't really that complicated. Trout will always focus on and
position themselves in the stream to eat the most plentiful and most available food.
It's natures way for them to expend the least amount of energy to acquire the most
Many anglers, in fact most anglers, try to short cut the process and first try
to determine what flies they need to be using. It's the difference in knowing what you
are doing, and just relying on pure trial and error. It makes the difference in being
consistently successful or having to blame the lack of success on the fish or
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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