Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 03/11/18
The groundhog was right this year. It will be winter weather by tomorrow night, for sure.
The groundhog is much better than the National Weather Service forecast people.
They goofed this week, badly.

Hopefully, the weather will be warmer and clearer this coming weekend. It is difficult to
tell. It is highly likely, all the National Weather Service people have been drunk for the
past week.

Specific Imitations Versus Attractor and Generic Trout Flies
When there's no hatch underway, which is about 75% or more of the time, anglers tend
to think they are better off using an attractor or generic trout fly as opposed to a fly
that's intended to be a specific imitation of an insect or other trout food. Most hatches
last for only two to four hours of the day, so even when hatches are underway, during
must of the day, there are not any insects emerging. The generic and attractor types of
trout flies represents the great majority of trout flies that are available from fly shops.
Although that's the general approach used by many anglers, it's actually a very poor
one. You should always imitate the most plentiful and available insects at any given
time. For example, if Blue Quills are hatching, the hatch takes place during the warmest
part of the day, and that's usually from noon to 4:00 PM. During the morning hours,
you should know that Blue Quills nymphs are out from their hiding place, developing
their wing pads and preparing to emerge during the next few days. Fishing a specific
imitation of a Blue Quill nymph during the morning is obviously a good strategy. Of
course, there may be other insects hatching and the same thing would apply to their
nymphs or larvae.

One reason there is a misconception about this is because book after book about trout
fishing lumped things into one of only two categories - selective feeding or  
opportunistic feeding. Quite frankly, other than actually knowing much about what they
were writing about, many authors of fly fishing publications just copied other authors. It
caused most anglers to think that trout are feeding either one way or the other. In
streams with fast pocket water this misconception has caused most anglers as well as
those that teach fly fishing to think that if trout are not feeding exclusively on one
insect, they are feeding opportunistically. By strict definition, that would be correct. In
other words, this caused many to assume that if trout feed opportunistically, it isn't that
important what you imitate or what fly you use. The other big reason books refer to
them is that prior to Perfect Fly, all the flies available were mostly all generic flies.
Other than a few specific imitations of mostly mayfly duns, and adult caddisflies and
stoneflies, prior to Perfect Fly, just about all flies were imitations of no specific insect or
other food. Many, if not most, are just "pretty" flies named after the tier.

Most fly shop salesmen and fly fishing guides are quick to tell anglers that trout feed
opportunistically. In many cases, it's the biggest word they know. Few of them know
one mayfly from another, and some can't recognize a mayfly from a caddisfly. You
won't ever hear anyone with a good knowledge of the food trout rely on to survive
preaching the particular fly you use isn't important. Saying that trout feed
opportunistically is fine as far as technically categorizing their feeding habits is
concerned, but it has little to do with what is really takes place, and it is of absolutely no
importance when it comes to catching trout. If a trout eats 99 insects of a particular
species and one of another species, technically, it is feeding opportunistically.  

For example, lets suppose that there are lots of Little Yellow Stonefly nymphs crawling
to the banks to crawl out of the water to hatch. When that happens, don’t think the
trout don’t know it. They view their underwater world 24 hours a day and they know and
see exactly what is going on. Since these nymphs crawl across the bottom to get to the
banks, they are easy prey for the trout. Naturally, the trout will focus on feeding on the
easy prey; however, if the trout are eating these nymphs migrating to the banks and a
stray mayfly nymph happened to come along, the trout may or may not eat it. If the
trout doesn't have to go out of its way to eat the mayfly nymph, it may well eat it.
Common sense should tell you that If it takes more effort for the trout to catch the
mayfly nymph than the stonefly nymphs crawling to the bank, then they wouldn't go to
the extra trouble to eat it.

Lets suppose the mayfly nymph almost hit the trout in the nose and it did eat it. By
strict definition you would have to categorize the trout as feeding opportunistically.
That's why marine fishery biologist classify all trout as opportunistic feeders. It makes
sense from a scientific standpoint, but little sense from a practical standpoint of
catching fish.

Call it whatever you prefer to call it, but under the conditions I just described, would you
rather be fishing an imitation of a stonefly nymph, or a mayfly nymph? I think most
anglers would agree that your odds would be greater if you were fishing the best
imitation of a Little Yellow Stonefly nymph you could get your hands on. By the way,
that would be a "Perfect Fly" Little Yellow Stonefly Nymph.

Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)  
Today,
showers are likely, mainly after 8am. The high will be near 57. Wind will be from
the
east around 5 mph. The chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts
between a tenth and quarter of an inch
are possible. Tonight's low will be around 36.
T
he chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts of between a quarter
and half of an inch
are possible.

Monday
, rain showers are likely before 10am, then rain and snow showers are likely
between 10am and 4pm, then rain showers likely after 4pm.
It will be cloudy, with a
temperature falling to around 36 by 10am. Northwest wind
will be from 5 to 10 mph.
The chance of precipitation is 60%.
.


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

Little River:  Rate 271 cfs at 2.16 ft,
(good wading up to 250 cfs and with extra caution up to 400 cfs
)

Oconaluftee River: Rate 642 cfs at 2.08 ft.
(good wading up to 500 cfs and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 138 cfs at 2.74 ft  
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)

Little Pigeon River: It is near a normal level.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
They are just a little high.

Trout Flies Currently Needed:
Brown and White Belly Sculpin:
Hook Size 6

Black and/or Olive Matuka Sculpin:
Size 4, 6, 8

Blue-winged olives: 18 and 20
nymphs
emergers
duns
spinners

Little Brown Stoneflies: 14
nymphs
adults

Blue Quills: 18
nymphs
emergers
duns
spinners

Quill Gordons: 12/14
nymphs
emerging duns (wet fly)
duns
spinners

Little Black Caddis: 18
pupa
adults

New: Trout Flies You Will Need During The Next Month (Through
03/15/17, in addition to the above list): None

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.

Strategy:
Not all of the insects you see above will be hatching in the same location. It is usually
only one or two. It varies with the elevation. Some are just starting in the low elevations
and some about finished in the higher elevations. If you fished the day or two before
and know where something is hatching, fish the nymph or larva stage of it. If you
haven't fished the day or two before, until I spotted something hatching, I would fish the
BWO nymph. If you spot something hatching (coming off the water), change to the
appropriate emerger, dun or adult imitations of the insect.

Tips for Beginners:
Don't let anyone intimidate you by contending that fly fishing is more difficult to learn
and master than other types of fishing. It isn't.

Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
None

Thank you for visiting our website

James Marsh
Copyright 2018 James Marsh
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