View Full Version : Watching the clock...when does dry fly action begin in earnest?

02-14-2014, 11:08 PM
I'm thinking A LOT about fly fishing right now. The closest streams and rivers to me are in the New Mexico and Colorado rocky mountains, but you can't realistically start fishing any of that until at least April 15, possibly several weeks later.

So I'm comtemplating booking a trip out to the Smokies. When is it spring?

Rob Johnson
02-15-2014, 12:11 AM
Northern Arkansas, southern Missouri is a good area to fish this time of year. Little Red, Northfork, and White river usually fish well in the winter months, and Spring River (Mammoth Springs) is pretty much good fishing all year long. Blue River in Missouri is a stocked stream my friends like to fish in cold weather but I have not been there. Easten Oklahoma has a stream called Lower Mountain Fork where a fish snapped my new Powell rod in half. There is a lot of good fishing between you and the Smokies. You could save some gas. If you fish New Mexico dress warm and go to the San Juan. I wish I lived that close to be able to drive there. The Smokies fish best in late spring. Hope I meet you on the creek some day.

David Knapp
02-15-2014, 02:35 AM
I just returned to Colorado for a visit and can assure you that the tailwaters are fishing great! If you've never fished the Arkansas River tailwater in Pueblo, this can be an amazing time of year to do so. This might be the best time of year to fish the Taylor and Frying Pan as well if you can stand the colder weather. On Wednesday, I found rising trout on the South Boulder Creek tailwater so they are starting to look up for midges.

If you really want to fish the Smokies, the first week or so of March should be producing some good dry fly action. We should see fish rising late this next week at least in a few select spots as the little black and brown stoneflies should be making an appearance and the little black caddis will be moving around soon as well. Quill Gordons and Blue Quills will be hatching by early March in a normal year. If things don't warm too much and we get another big cold snap, we could see the mayfly hatches pushed back to the second week in March but probably not much past that...

02-15-2014, 09:07 AM
I am always after the dry fly action. Small caddis work great to mimic adult midges on the Clinch. Look up some of the East Tennessee tailwaters and come visit.

02-15-2014, 04:13 PM
One of the Arkansas blogs suggested that the spring hatches there may be somewhat delayed due to all the cold water they've been running down the White. Anyone subscribe to that theory, and would you think it could be true here?


02-15-2014, 04:28 PM

Are you back in Tennessee?

I really want to fish the Gordon hatch this year. I hope the LRO folks will be able to give us a little heads up about timing. I know it comes and goes quickly.

02-15-2014, 11:31 PM

Are you back in Tennessee?

I really want to fish the Gordon hatch this year. I hope the LRO folks will be able to give us a little heads up about timing. I know it comes and goes quickly.

Don, don't tell me you have quit using nightcrawlers and corn:biggrin:

No Hackle
02-16-2014, 03:39 PM
I would watch the water temps on the fishing report. Once the water hits fifty for three or four days in a row it'll be on for the Gordon's. It'll also take the trout a few days to get on them good. It doesn't matter after that if the temps drop. Once they start they don't stop. Hope you have a good Smokys trip.

02-16-2014, 07:32 PM
No Hackle,

Thanks for the info. I will watch for the 50's. I can't wait. I have tied a dozen Gordon's so I am ready.


Great to hear from you. You have given away my go to flies. The hardest part of tying a corn fly is getting the smell just right. I usually soak the hooks in a can of corn over night. Many times the hook looks like it has corn attached when I remove it the next day. I have no recollection of any night crawlers attaching themselves to my hooks.:biggrin:

David Knapp
02-17-2014, 01:46 PM

Are you back in Tennessee?

I really want to fish the Gordon hatch this year. I hope the LRO folks will be able to give us a little heads up about timing. I know it comes and goes quickly.

Don, I'm living in TN again now although visiting in Colorado through the first half of this week. I'll be spending a lot of time on the water in the Park so I'll try to post when the bugs start. The hatch can actually take a bit longer if we get warm weather followed by cool weather. As Lynn mentioned, once they start they don't stop but cool water will slow things down. If we get warm weather lasting too long the hatch can be done really fast... Once it starts you will want to drop everything and try to make it up there for sure.

02-17-2014, 08:52 PM

Welcome home! Thanks for the info. I plan to head that way as soon as I hear it has started.

02-18-2014, 07:21 AM
We had a storm Friday night that dumped another 6 inches of snow on top of the 8" already on the ground. My son and I waited until the storm subsided and gave the plows some time to clear the roads, we headed down to Reliance leaving out around 2:30AM Saturday. I fished alone on Saturday, it was just a little to cold for my son so he stayed at the cabin. On Saturday, the tempurature was around 40ish for the high and although they were not generating, there was still a lot of water from all the run off of the melting snow. I started off using a Olive Wooly, got a couple to hand and then saw a few fish rising to midges on the surface. I switched over to a size 20 griffiths gnat dry and the fish were eager to take it. Sunday conditions were perfect, tempuratures hoovering around 60, little to no wind with plenty of winter stones hatching, some ocassional caddis and lots of midges. My son and I fished dry's and had a ton of action all day, about 40 fish to hand total between the two of us with many LDR's. There is just something to be said about fishing dry patterns in February!