Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 12/21/14
The streams are getting rather low again. More rain is needed and it looks like more
is on the way around the middle of the week.
Nantahala River, North Carolina, part 2:
The Nantahala River "delayed harvest" section, and the wild trout sections for that
matter, are good destinations for anglers. It is often wadable when the more popular
Tuckasegee River DH section isn't. As with the Tuckasegee, the fly and presentation
of it becomes far less important just after the state has stocked the stream. By that, I
mean the first couple of weeks. As the days go by after the stocking, the fly and
presentation becomes more and more important. The DH section, and the wild
trout sections both above and below it, have a lot of wild trout and holdover
trout, so we never recommend that anglers use the old generic fly patterns
sold by most fly shops. The fly shops have little choice as what to sell because the
great majority of their flies come from one of three U.S. importers from overseas,
mostly Umpqua. You will always do much better on the Nantahala using specific
imitations of flies that imitate the natural food in the water. That means you will always
do much better using Perfect Flies.
When I wrote about the Hiwassee River, I mentioned the affect I though the pipe
transfer of water from the lake had a lot to do with its larger than normal population of
aquatic insects. That's not the case with the Nantahala River and I think the
difference is the water above the DH section is not as warm as the Hiwassee. The big
difference is due in part to the high volume discharges of water common on the
Nantahala. The insects are a lot different. There are more clinger nymphs of
stoneflies and mayflies and less crawlers and swimmers. It is more like a freestone
stream in that regard. When we have taken samples of the larvae from the
Nanathala, we have always found the aquatic insects, sculpin and baitfish to be very
similar to that of the streams in the Smokies. Although I didn't take the pH of the
water at the Nanathala, I'm well aware it is comparatively low to most tailwaters. That
means less insects. Like the Smokies, the Nantahala River has a huge diversity of
aquatic insects but only the clingers are high in quantities. There are not many
caddis as there normally are in tailwaters.
I'm not going to list the insects, hatch times, etc. here. Our Nanathala River Perfect
Fly website pages will provide more information on the Nantahala River and as you
will see, all you have to do is call or email us and we will be happy to tell you what the
most plentiful and available food will be at the particular time you are going to fish, or
in other words, what flies will give you the highest odds of success. The website also
gives you a weekly updated fishing report on the river.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today, will be mostly cloudy with a high near 50. North wind will be around 5 mph.
Sunday nigh there will be a chance of drizzle, then a chance of rain or drizzle after
10pm. The low will be around 38. The chance of precipitation is 30%.
Monday, there's a 20 percent chance of rain before 1pm. It will be cloudy with a high
near 53. South wind will be around 5 mph becoming calm later in the day.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 133 cfs at 1.66 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 261 cfs at 1.42 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 56 cfs at 2.33 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 low, butin good shape
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake: They are a
little low, but in good shape.
Current Recommended Streams: I would fish the lower elevation streams
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 20/18
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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