Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 02/20/15
Yes, I'm late today. I actually I did this early this morning and published it, but there
was so much ice on the AT&T high speed line, it just took a few hours to get out of
Pigeon Forge to you. Well, I can't lie to you. I made that up. I'm just not in a mood to
write much.

Headed through Pigeon Forge yesterday, I noticed Little Pigeon River and laughed
out loud at myself. I have been writing that when the water gets cold, trout won't hold
in the current, so fish areas of slow to still water in pockets, hole in the bottom below
current and other slow water areas. I passed over the river and saw a slow water
area just like I was referring to but there was a big problem with it. It was solid ice.
You would have had to drill a hole to fish that slow water area. So, let me revise that
and say, when the water gets cold, but not frozen, fish the slow water areas. Oh, well.
That's how bad off I am for something to write about.

Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Here is the weather forecast for those as bored as I am. There is a 20 percent
chance of snow after 4pm today. It will be cloudy with a high near 30. Tonight there's
a chance of snow before 10pm, then freezing rain and sleet likely between 10pm and
1am, then freezing rain after 1am. The low around 25. The chance of precipitation is
80%. New ice accumulation of around a 0.1 of an inch possible. New snow and sleet
accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Saturday, expect freezing rain likely before 10am, then rain or freezing rain likely
between 10am and 1pm, then rain likely after 1pm. It will be cloudy with a high near
47. It will be breezy with a south wind 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph.
The chance of precipitation is 70%. New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an
inch possible.

Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data: Click
to links to see updates:

Little River: XXXXX ice cfs at 1.98 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)

Oconaluftee River: Rate 347 cfs at 1.62 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 1xxx cfs (ice) at 2.49 ft (good wading conditions up to
125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)

Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby. Yesterday, it was partially
covered with ice.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. Probably
good ice water.

Current Recommended Streams: Oak Creek, Sedona, Arizona

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

Little Brown Stoneflies: 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 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 and Little Brown stoneflies will start very soon, if not already.

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, Winter stoneflies
or small Blue-winged Olives. Switch to the adult Cream Midge, if it is midges
hatching, Winter stonefly, or the BWO Dun or emerger, if it is the BWOs.

Tips for Beginners:
Learn to imitate the most plentiful and available insects and other foods at the time
you are fishing, or continue to use trial and error methods and forever be a mediocre

Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:

Whatever Hits Me:
Thank you

James Marsh
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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