Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 12/29/14
It rained enough to wake me up this morning at 4:30, but has slowed down to a
sprinkle. Looking at the radar at 5:00 AM, it appears the North Carolina side is
getting more rain. Putting it in motion shows they have been getting plenty of it. The
stream levels are beginning to show it. It is difficult to tell just how much more we will
get, but it appears there is more to come. It shouldn't be a big factor except maybe to
rise some more and add a little stain to the water. That isn't all bad and certainly the
warm rain water isn't a bad thing.
From a long range standpoint, it looks like it will get a little colder with highs in the low
forties in the middle of the week, but rising back into the high fifties on Saturday.
These forecast are for Gatlinburg at 1600 feet, and are far more like the weather will
be in the lower elevation streams in the park than the weather forecast for Knoxville
and other valley locations. They are as worthless as t-o-a-b hog. The bottom line is,
the outlook for the first of January looks great. I know that will make our expert
fisher, picture boy, Derek Porter, happy. He will be abusing the mouths of our trout
again very soon.
We are getting a amazing number of telephone calls and email from guys planning
trips for the next couple of weeks. It includes streams from the entire nation excepting
the northern Rockies and New England areas. Well, actually, I do have a request for
a June trip to Yellowstone.
The Pacific Northwest is just coming into prime winter steelhead season and the
Great Lakes are already there in that regard. We are already getting lots of Skwala
stonefly orders from the northwestern states. Most all the tailwaters and spring
creeks below about the 40 degree longitude line are popular fly fishing destinations
right now. Many of the Arizona and New Mexico streams are red hot. Oak Creek and
Canyon Creek, for example. The state of California streams have come back alive
with recent badly needed snow and rain. It was looking more like Iraq than California.
Back near the Smokies, all the tailwaters I wrote about the past two weeks are
producing as long as the discharges are reasonable. North Carolina is hot with
fishing activity in their many "delayed harvest" streams. Tennessee should wake up
in that regard. The only example they have in the Hiwassee and its DH regulations
have proven to be very successful in my opinion. The TN regulations seem to be set
up for rednecks more than anglers.
Stocked streams on both sides of the park remain prime destinations for those that
enjoy the dough belly trout. In Tennessee, that amounts mostly to Cosby Creek,
Middle Prong Pigeon River, Little Pigeon River (stocked by the state and the city of
Gatlinburg), and Little River. On the NC side of the park, that's mostly the Raven
Fork in Cherokee by the city, with two different sets of permits and regulations, They
also include the Oconaluftee River, Deep Creek, Twenty-mile Creek, and probably
some more I'm not remembering off hand. We had five emails come in last night
requesting information for the Raven Fork. We had a total of 54 emails and about 20
phone calls requesting information for other streams from coast to coast this past
weekend and last night.
I had a guy call yesterday and ask if we could tie him up some flies within the next two
weeks for a certain stream. I replied, "I sure hope so. We have 27 fly tiers working full
time trying to keep up". To give you a better idea of what's happening at Perfect Fly,
we have over 1,000 flies already packed to ship out today from weekend orders and
that doesn't include 16 orders that came in last night. That also doesn't include
leaders, tippets, strike indicators, floatant, fly line, and a couple of fly rods. The girls
don't know it yet, but they still have a lot of work to do this morning. I get to go to a
dermatologist in Knoxville to see how much longer I will live for abusing the sun for
the last six decades.
About the only time I have to relax, is when I sit down to write this report. It comes off
the top of my head as I type and as you can tell, I'll never get the King's blessings. I
have never learned how to not abuse his language. In the U. S., it looks like it is
changing to Spanish anyway, and all I know about that is, I de os.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today, rain is likely, mainly before 1pm. It will be cloudy with a high near 52. West
wind will be around 5 mph becoming calm later on. The chance of precipitation is
70%. Tonight, there's a a 40 percent chance of rain, mainly before 1am. The low will
be about 39.
Tuesday will be partly sunny with a high near 46. North wind will be around 5 mph.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 295 cfs at 2.16 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 572 cfs at 2.00 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 102 cfs at 2.57 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby. It looked very near normal
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. A customer
reported it is back near normal.
Current Recommended Streams: Any lower to middle elevation stream
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
4. Winter Stoneflies: 16/18
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. Winter stoneflies should begin crawling
out of the water to hatch within the next few days.
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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