Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 12/18/14
I mentioned several days ago, I would be writing about the tailwaters near the
Smokies when it turned cold. Well, I am writing about the tailwaters, but the weather
hasn't exactly turned cold. In fact, it has been great for this time of the year. The
weather was cold a couple or three weeks ago when it's normally warm. Apparently,
not many paid much attention to that because I have been hearing from only a very
few people that have fished the park recently. I have an idea that had a lot to do with
people getting ready for the upcoming holidays.
Yesterday, and day before yesterday, that changed, not only for the Smokies, but
from coast to coast. Our 800 line for Perfect Fly begin ringing off the hook again with
anglers calling and asking questions about fishing streams everywhere. Most
were questions about tailwater streams and spring creeks. I stayed on the telephone
almost all day talking to customers. Several were from California and other west
coast locations, and that means the phone rang as late as 9:00 PM, which is only
6:00 PM there.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure not complaining. I just have to figure out how to operate
my small brain and old body from 5:00 AM in the morning until 9:00 PM at night.
There is one thing for certain. I am looking to hire someone to help in this regard. At
least I don't get bored. In my small world, the next best thing to fishing is talking about
Tuckasegee River, North Carolina, part 2:
Here is my second favorite Tuckasegee River fly fishing story. A few years ago I had
been fishing the Tuck while Angie video taped the action from the opposite bank
using the tripod. I had caught a lot of trout, maybe thirty or so, eating emerging
Cinnamon Sedge pupae, so, I decided to let her fish for a while.
By the way, as a side note, Frank Johnson, owner of Mold-craft products, a long time
sponsor (largest big game lure manufacturer in the World) and close friend of mine
once told me that anglers had 100 to one rather see Angie catch trout than me.
Although i felt a little insulted, I had to agree with him.
She crossed the river and begin catching trout in the same area I had fished.
Standing on the side of the road, video taping here fish, I noticed trout were
constantly eating the emerging caddis right along the bank almost directly
underneath me. I begin to video them rising and swirling, eating the pupae just below
the surface. I had preached over and over, that the biggest problem with anglers
catching trout on a caddisfly hatch, was they didn't realize the hatch was taking place
until it was over. They usually catch them when the females are depositing their eggs
after the hatch has ended. So, I was pleased to get some close-up video from the
high bank almost directly on top of trout actually eating the emerging pupae.
Meantime, Angie got upset because she noticed I hadn't video taped a couple of
trout she had caught across the river. I yelled to tell her the trout were going nuts
right under me and she should cross back over to my side of the river. She did, and
immediately begin catching brook trout on almost every cast. If she didn't catch one,
she missed one on almost every cast. The action was unreal.
After about two hours of that, and at least 40 or 50 trout caught and released, she
begin to complain we needed to do something different. I responded with
something like "what are you talking about crazy. This is what we came to do". She
responded by saying something like, "this is embarrassing. This is like taking
candy from a baby and I am through being a part of it". She followed that up by
climbing out of the water and taking her waders off.
After a little heated argument that she usually wins, we left the Tuckasegee River with
trout not only eating the emergers, but beginning to eat egg laying caddis as well. I
am certain the action continued with the egg layers until dark, but we were headed
back to Gatlinburg through the Smokies.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today, there is a chance of freezing rain before 10am, then a slight chance of rain.
The freezing rain could be heavy at times. It will be mostly cloudy with a high near 50.
The wind will be around 5 mph in the afternoon. The chance of precipitation is 30%.
Tonight's low will be around 27.
Friday, will be mostly sunny, with a high near 48. Calm wind becoming north around 5
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 151 cfs at 1.72 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 282 cfs at 1.47 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 60 cfs at 2.35 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 was in good shape
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake: They are
in good shape.
Current Recommended Streams: I would fish the lower elevation streams
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 20/18/16
2. Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
3. Cream Midges: 20/22
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 size 18 Blue-winged Olive nymph. Many of the species of
mayflies called Blue-winged Olives are bi-brooded, meaning they hatch twice a year.
They are swimming nymphs that dart around in short spurts and hide wherever they
can. They don't stay wedged up under the rocks like most of the other mayfly
nymphs, the majority of which are clingers.
If the water is below 43 degrees, I would switch to a Cream Midge larva and Cream
Midge Pupa tandem rig, with the larva the bottom fly and the pupa above it.
If you spot something hatching, it will most likely be Cream Midges or small
Blue-winged Olives. Switch to the adult Cream Midge, if it is midges hatching, or the
BWO Dun or emerger, if it is the BWOs.
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) Perfect Fly
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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Twas 7 days before Xmas, when all through the
woods.........................Ho, ho, ho