I expected to have to dredge the bottom with heavy weight to get any hookups. However, I was surprised to see Quill Gordons and blue quills coming off by the dozens in the little area I was fishing. So, I tied on a #12 Quill Gordon and alternated between a #16 BHPT or a #14 Quill Gordon wet fly dropper, and was into fish consistently all afternoon. All of my better fish came on the nymph and wet fly, however had lots of takers on the dry. Surprisingly lots of the small fish were hooked on the outside of the head. When I say small I am talking about 4", so I assume it was because their mouths were too small to take the whole fly. I tried to catch a couple Quill Gordons for a photo, but it was a little difficult to move around very quickly in the higher water.
I actually ran out of Frog's Fanny in the mid-afternoon, and had pretty much fished my area thoroughly. Not to mention I was book ended by a couple other fisherman. So, I chose to try and find another small stream and swing back by LRO to replenish my supply. I then made my way up to Jake's Creek in hope of finding some decent pocket water to fish, but was surprised to see it still flowing extremely heavy. I guess maybe the snow runoff kept it a little higher than the stream I was fishing previously. However, there were still lots of bugs fluttering around above the surface. On my way to Jake's Creek I saw one brave angler standing in the middle of a very high and swift Little River. About 100 yards upstream from him was a kayaker coming downstream very quickly. Didn't see how that turned out for either of them, but I hope both came out okay.
Looking back, I probably should have never left the original spot I was in as the hatch probably just continued to get better as the day progressed. Regardless, it was a beautiful day, and my best day fishing in the Smokies in a long time. Just in time for those of you coming into town for spring break. Now, if we can just get the weather to cooperate for a while. Be sure to have a good supply of quill gordons, blue quills, and pheasant tails with you.
Here are a couple pics: (No pics of fish with dry fly since they were all really small)
Little bow taken on a Quill Gordon emerger
Best bow of the day on a BHPT
P.S. - While I was in LRO checked out some of the new Fishpond gear. Wow, they have really outdone themselves this year. I love the new Piney Creek tech pack. Gonna have to get me one of those.
Here are some shots from the Jake's Creek area. These old houses really intrigue me, and anyone interested in the history around Townsend and Elkmont should read the book Last Train to Elkmont.