Date of Report
February 8, 2021
Little River: 392cfs / 2.44 feet
Pigeon: 843cfs / 2.62 feet
Oconaluftee: 545cfs / 1.94 feet
Water Temperatures (approximate)
Low elevations: 37 – 40 degrees
Mid elevations: 33 – 36 degrees
High elevations: 32 degrees
Conditions are what you’d likely expect in February. Water temperatures are way below ideal and fishing is very slow. Streams are running full on the Tennessee side of the park from recent rainfall. Use extra caution as some of the bigger streams may be difficult to wade. Most streams on the North Carolina side are at normal flows and will be easier to navigate. However, water temperatures are a little colder on the NC side as well, so pick your poison!
We get a pretty nice warm-up through the week, but as that warm-up melts high elevation snow, don’t expect much in the way of warming water temperatures. That warming trend also comes with what may be significant rainfall, so water levels may come up substantially after Thursday. And another cold front with snow expected over the weekend.
Other than seeking out slower water, you want to fish the warmest water possible right now. Try to concentrate your efforts on the middle of the day, stick to the lower elevations and look for areas that get a little more sunlight.
There is very little in the way of hatches this time of year but you may run into the occasional Blue Wing Olive. Small dark stoneflies and caddis may also make an appearance. Most everything coming off the water will be small, in the #18 – 20 range. I would primarily fish dark colored nymphs deep and slow. A black or olive Zebra Midge would be a good bet. I do well with “peacock flies” in the #14 – 16 range this time of year, like Zug Bugs, Prince Nymphs, etc. In the right water, a larger stonefly nymph may entice a nice brown trout.