Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 04/09/15
Yesterday, I had a chance to talk to a couple of guys that fished the park the last few
days, and I received some email from others. Some seemed very happy with their
success and some didn't. It concerned me as to why everyone wasn't catching lots of
trout, but it didn't take me long to figure out why. It happens every year about this
same time. In a nut shell, hatches of Quill Gordons cease in all but the higher
elevations and anglers keep pounding the runs and riffles of the lower elevations with
the larger dries.
You will find plenty of Blue Quills still hatching in the middle and lower elevations, but
the Quill Gordons are done in most of the lower to middle elevation streams. The
Blue Quills are difficult to see on the water (size 18) and don't ride the fast water of
the riffles and runs like the larger QGs. They hatch in the slack water areas in
pockets and slower moving water, usually shallow, along the edges of the streams. If
your not using long, light leaders, staying well hidden and making longer cast to
these slack water areas, you will spook far more trout feeding on the Blue Quills than
you will hook.
Blue-winged Olives should also be hatching, especially during the cloudy, overcast
days. They hatch in similar water to that of the Blue Quills and don't get caught up in
the fast runs and riffles as much as the QGs. They too, are small, size 18, that hatch
in slack water areas but not as shallow as the Blue Quills.
Solution: Get out of the lower elevations unless you fish the larger pools where
Hendrickson will be hatching, if not already. Amer. March Browns will also start soon
but are not concentrated, and are only in the fast water runs and riffles. The problem
with them is, unless you are lucky enough to run across a good hatch, they will be
sporadic, hatching off and on throughout the day, as opposed to one specific time
frame of a couple of hours. In other words, it is not easy to be at the right place at the
right time with the March Browns.
The Hendrickson's will only be in the slower, moderate flows of the pools. They hatch
around the warmest part of the afternoon but the big deal is the spinners. They start
falling at low light, meaning near dark if it is sunny, or earlier in the afternoon if it is
Within the next couple or three weeks, you will see things change again, and the
lower elevations will come alive again. More March Browns, but more importantly,
Little Yellow stoneflies will begin to hatch and you can again enjoy being able to
catch a few more trout using a lot less skill and knowledge about what it is your are
trying to imitate.
The outlook for this weekend, all depends on the amount of rain we get tomorrow.
Hopefully, not much but that's not likely going to be the case.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. It will
be partly sunny with a high near 81. Southwest wind will range from 5 to 15 mph, with
gusts as high as 20 mph. Tonight, there is a 40 percent chance of showers and
thunderstorms, mainly after 2am.
Friday, expect showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 5pm. The high will be near
73. Southwest wind will range from 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. The
chance of precipitation is 80%.
Saturday, will be sunny with a high near 70. Saturday night will be clear with a low of
Sunday, will be mostly sunny with a high near 74.
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: 431 cfs at 2.47 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 883 cfs at 2.43 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 197 cfs at 2.90 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby. According to Angie, it was high
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. Customers
are reporting they are on the high side but still fishable in most cases.
Current Recommended Streams: You need to watch the levels and possibly
stick with a smaller stream.
Recommended Trout Flies:
Hook Size 20/18
Blue Quills: 18
Quill Gordons: 12/14
Little Black Caddis: 18
Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
Little Brown Stoneflies: 14
Hendricksons/Red Quills: 12/14
duns - males and females
spinners - males and females
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, I would fish a size 18 Blue Quill Nymph. They are
little crawler nymphs that are easily caught and eaten by trout and are currently
hatching. If you happen to know where Quill Gordons are currently hatching, you
should start out in the morning fishing a Quill Gordon nymph.
If you spot something hatching (coming off the water) that is relatively small, it will
most likely be Blue Quills, Blue-winged Olives,or Little Black Caddis. It it is relatively
large, it will be a Quill Gordon. Change to the appropriate emerger, dun or adult
imitations of the insect. If you see Blue Quills, BWOs, or Quill Gordons hatching,
there will be a spinner fall late in the day. Often, you can catch more trout fishing the
spinner fall quicker than you can during the hatch. Change to the spinner imitation of
Tips for Beginners:
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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