Date of Report
February 15, 2021
Little River: 777cfs / 3.06 feet
Pigeon: 1660cfs / 3.42 feet
Oconaluftee: 1390cfs / 2.95 feet
Water Temperatures (approximate)
Low elevations: 44 – 47 degrees
Mid elevations: 37 – 40 degrees
High elevations: 32 degrees
Conditions haven’t changed much since last report and are what you’d likely expect in February. Water temperatures are way below ideal and fishing is very slow. Streams are running high 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 a little lower but still running high. Water temperatures are running slightly higher on the North Carolina side as well.
It doesn’t look like we’ll see much improvement in the coming week. With air temperatures remaining cold and rain expected almost every day, it’s more likely things are going to get worse!
In general, you want to seek out slower water and 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. Remember, water that is too cold makes for slow fishing but water that is too high makes for very dangerous fishing. Unless you know these streams really well, I wouldn’t mess with them at this level. If you do have a lot of experience on these streams, please be very careful!
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.