Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
2. Giant Black Stoneflies
3. Light Cahills
4. Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams)
5. Eastern Pale Evening Duns
6. Little Short-horned Sedges
7. American March Browns
8. Eastern Green Drakes (Abrams)
9. Little Yellow Stoneflies
Most available - Other types of food:
10. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
11. Inch Worms
Smoky Mountains Fishing Report
The few reports we received during the end of the past week from customers were generally very good until
the water rose to high levels again during the weekend. Most people did well Saturday before the heavy rain,
but it depended on where they were fishing. We had one good report where a group wisely swapped from
the larger lower elevation streams and fished the higher elevation small brook trout streams. They caught
plenty of brook trout.
The only ones we know of that have caught trout after the water rose was Derek Porter and Tom Hash and
that was last week when the levels were at their highest. Derek sent me the following report which I thought
may help those who fish the high water levels we currently have and may continue to have this weekend,
although I hope that doesn't turn out to be the case. This should also be very informative for those who like
to fish the Cataloochee Valley.
Hi James - thanks again for your help in our trip planning. The flows while we were fishing ranged from
441cfs at 5:30pm Monday 4/29 down to 221cfs at 12:30pm Friday 5/3. I have attached a few photos of some
areas you are probably familiar with to get a feel for conditions as well a few from about 1/2 mile to mile
below Little Cataloochee. That is a real pretty section. Based on the crawling around we did on our hands
and knees I don't think too many people go back there.
As I mentioned before, the Pale Evening Dun was the fly(nymph) of the trip. Had to use a bunch of split shot
to get it down. We caught a few on dries but with the flows we had there just were not many spots to get
good drifts. Never saw a single bug get eaten off the surface.
A few notes/ things we learned that might be useful.
1. We were not able to do the gorge section because of the flows. We went about 1/3 mile up it on Thursday
am with flows in the 240s and it was way too high to make good/safe time in. We caught several nice fish in
just that section but decided to climb out to the road while we still could.
2. The fish were bigger in general for us from around the gaging station bridge down. Although big fish of
the trip was caught about 50 yards upstream of group campground.
3. I had a bat land on my shoulder in the middle of the stream in the full sunshine at noon on Tuesday 4/30
between group campground and Winding Stair branch. He was hissing and spitting and snapping his jaws.
Scared the sh@$#%^ out of me! Somehow I managed to knock him off with the butt of my rod. He floated
downstream and crawled out onto shore. I reported to the rangers who said the WNS problem is getting
bad. So sad to think all the cave dwelling bats could be dead in a few years. I was already wading in water
higher than I should have been in - with all the commotion I'm lucky I didn't fall and lose my rod (or worse!)
4. We journeyed up Caldwell Fork a little ways on Tuesday. It was by far more stained/blown out than
Palmer/Rough/Pretty Hollow. It doesn't seem to be able to handle the high flows as well.
5. The Asbury Trailhead at the Gaging Station bridge is a complete disaster from storm damage and
blowdowns. Be prepared to scramble for several hundred yards if you are trying to head downstream on the
east bank from the bridge.
6. You can set up alerts at the USGS sites for the stream flow. I had set it up to receive hourly alerts when
water was over 200cfs. Of course I had no cell coverage while I was in Cataloochee but I have a nice log
now of what the flows were each day and hour. This could be real handy if you were fishing an area where
you had cell coverage.
Here is the ground we covered day by day with the recorded cfs measurements from the bridge:
Monday 4/29/13 - cfs: 441 @ 5:30pm and 424 @ 7:30pm. Fished Palmer Creek from Nellie up to the top of
the Horse Camp. Then fished just below where Rough Fork comes in to a few hundred yards below the
Tuesday 4/30/13 - cfs: 360 @ 7:30am and 314 @ 7:30pm. Started at the Group Campground and fished up
to the bridge. Then drove in car up to the top of the braid which is just below the Palmer house. Fished from
there up to the bend just above the Palmer house where creek comes back to the road. Then moved the car
up to where Caldwell Fork comes in. Bushwacked into Caldwell Fork just upstream of where it dumps into
Cataloochee. This water was more stained in Caldwell Fork. We got back onto the trail and went upstream
for about a quarter of a mile to big pool and fished it too but didn't catch anything. Hiked back out. Then we
moved the car up a little farther up the road and fished through the braided section up to the lower end of
Wednesday 5/1/13 - cfs: 292 @ 7:30am and 274 @ 7:30pm. Parked at horse trail sign below Palmer Chapel
meadow and hiked through braided section and started fishing where we left off on Tuesday at bottom of
pasture. Fished up to Nellie and Tom walked down road to car and brought it back up. We fished up Palmer
Creek to Pretty Hollow Creek and up Pretty Hollow to campsite 39. Finished the evening back on the stretch
behind Palmer Chapel.
Thursday 5/2/13 - cfs: 250 @ 7:30am and 234 @ 7:30pm. Drove down to the bridge at the gaging station
and fished upstream about 1/3 of a mile. Returned back to bridge and then fished downstream for about 1
mile to the giant right turn.
Friday 5/3/12 - cfs: 227 @ 7:30am and 221 @ 12:30pm. Fished from the group campground up to the
bridge and then from the braid below the Palmer house up to bend in front of Palmer house.
New Schedule of Daily
Mondays: Weather and Stream
Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout
More Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing the park and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions.
Please allow up to 24 hours for a
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
will help you decide which flies you
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
them to you in time for your trip.
Shipping is free in the U. S. for all
orders of any size. Orders over $50
are shipped free via Priority Mail.
All pictures are thumbnails; Click to
Big Bend a mile below Little Cataloochee
Deep run a half mile below Little Cataloochee
Big Brown with our Perfect Fly Eastern Pale
Evening Dun Nymph in his or her mouth
Huge rainbow with our Perfect Fly Eastern
Pale Evening Dun Nymph in his or her
mouth. I'm not sure of the size of this fish
but it looks very large for a Smoky rainbow.
Big Brown trout caught right above the group
campground. Another very nice trout
Landing a rainbow just unstream from the
Meadow just downstream from Palmer
If you think you can't catch trout on high water levels, think again. These are young, strong men and they are
wading swift water that can be dangerous for many of us to wade. So, make absolutely certain you don't
overdo it. Please be careful and stay safe. Be sure and carry bat spray.
A special thanks to Derek Porter of Atlanta, Georgia for all the information and pictures
Pool behind Palmer Chapel
Pretty Hollow Creek
Rough Fork and Palmer Creek