Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 08/24/14
I was going to take the article I have had up for the past two days down today but late
yesterday afternoon, I received a call from a guy from Washington, that made me
change my mind. He called about Silver Creek, a beautiful spring creek trout
stream in Idaho that we have a couple of pages of information on, on our Perfect Fly
website. After introducing himself and explaining he lived in the Olympic Pen. area of
Washington state, he said he had not fished a trout stream in Idaho in 50 years but
he was going to next week. He proceeded to ask if we had a fly shop on Silver Creek.
I replied no, and neither does anyone else. I explained most all of it was owned by the
Nature Conservancy. I knew then, he had not read any of the page he had pulled up
on his computer, just saw our 800 number and called us.
I explained Silver Creek was one of my favorite streams that we had fished it several
times but far more importantly, one that we keep a data base of info on, including
information from our taking samples of the aquatic insect larvae several times,
developing a hatch chart, etc. He then proceeded to ask how it was fishing. I replied,
as usual, tough for most guys because it wasn't exacty easy to fool its trout. He then
asked what size and numbers of trout guys were catching. I gave him two reports we
had from customers during August showing up on my data base. When he asked
what they caught them on, I then begin advising him of the flies customers
had recently ordered and what our hatch chart showed at the time he would be
fishing. He cut off again, so he could explain again, that he had been trout fishing for
over fifty years. He said he fished several times a year on his home waters in
the Olympic P. area and that the only flies that worked were red, blue or
yellow. I thought he was referring to the sea-run cutts and steelhead and begin to
advise him that the anadromous species were a lot different from the wild rainbows
and browns of Silver Creek. He then said he was referring to catching rainbow,
cutthorat and brown trout, not steelhead. He said again, the only flies that
worked were red, blue or yellow. I again, tried to explain about Silver Creek only to be
cut off so he could tell me that his two sons did the "matching the hatch" stuff and it
never worked. He said that he always beat them badly. I though I would get a little
more like him (a smart you know what) and ask, "would green, purple, pink or
orange flies work". He said, "no, I just told you only yellow, blue or red worked and
but he didn't know why, it was just a fact". He continued to say that was always the
case based on his 50 years of fishing for trout.
I tried to explain that I could tell him what he needed to match and that was not
only what was hatching, but just as important what was not hatching as well as
spinners and egg layers he should be imitating. I tried to explain that he should try to
match the most plentiful and available food at Silver Creek at the time he would be
fishing. I begin to name them. He cut me off and said "your website doesn't
give the price of your flies". I ask what page he was looking at. It turned out to be
the fly menu, listing the maylfies stoneflies, caddisflies, etc. I explained he needed to
click on one of the categories to see the flies and prices. I explained that if he was
looking for a low price, that we sold the same thing most all fly shops sell in addition
to our Perfect Flies and at $1.00 each, even though they only represented 22% of
our total fly sells.
About that time he said, "I'm looking at your flies and I don't see any red, blue or
yellow ones". I begin to explain we had some, but that our flies were designed to look
like the real food trout eat and that if an insect or other food wasn't actually blue, red
or yellow, he wouldn't find one. He then said that all I should be selling was red,
blue or yellow ones because he had been fly fishing for trout for over 50
years and that was the only colors that worked based on his many years of
I tried to think maybe the man was kidding but it was very obvious he wasn't. He was
dead serious. I suddenly lost my Cecil Marsh (father) temper. I said, "Sir,
please do me a favor and don't buy a damn thing from us, because if you are
that dense (I started to say stupid but didn't) I am waisting my time. Bye!
I'm leaving the following post (below the red letters) up for another day. As mentioned
the past two days, I had one email from a beginner that obviously didn't get the point
of the article. That was probably my fault, so I have underlined it with green.
The following just might be the most important thing you will
ever read about how to catch fish!
How do you catch a fish? It is really simple. It is something I learned many years ago,
thirty-four years ago to be exact. I learned it soon after I decided to make
teaching people to fish my sole livelihood. No, by the way, not from guiding and
not from chartering any of my many boats.
Please let me explain. After five years of fishing the national professional BASS
circuit (1975 to 1980), I decided I couldn't do as well as I wanted to do trying to be
both a successful general commercial building contractor and a successful
professional bass fisherman at the same time. I choose fishing and started a weekly
(52 weeks a year) national syndicated TV show on fishing, the first ever on saltwater
fishing. I learned how to catch a fish from professional fishermen from waters across
the eastern hemisphere, but mostly, I learned the hard way. I caught fish
consistently or I went hungry. You cannot do a successful weekly TV show on
fishing and not catch fish consistently. You wont' get paid by sponsors of the show
for very long without catching fish and in my case, that was each and every
week. There were only 3 TV networks at the time. I wasn't lost in a hundred cable
stations. The last year, my expenses for air time cost and production was over
$16,000.00 per week. Yes, I either caught a lot of fish or went broke fast.
After doing that successfully for five years on what turned out to be 26 TV stations
covering two-thirds of the nation's population, I began to host and produce
instructional videos teaching people to fish. That was 1985. I produced fishing
programs that sold well enough to earn a living or I went hungry. I produced
videos on fishing up until two years ago. More of my programs on saltwater fishing
have been sold than anyone's. I still weight 186 pounds and eat anything I want
Here is how you catch fish. You figure out what the fish are most likely eating and
do one of two things. One, you acquire or catch what it is most likely eating
and put a hook in it, or two, you acquire or make something that looks and
behaves like the food it is most likely eating with a hook in it. It's really that
The only exception to the above occurs during the spawning cycle. In that case you
use something real or artificial that becomes a territorial threat, or a treat to the fish's
spawning bed/redd and/or eggs.
If you are using a fly or lure that imitates that food or threat, in each and every case,
the more the fly or lure acts and behaves like the real food or
threat, the higher your odds of success.
You are probably thinking or questioning how one goes about determining what
a fish is most likely eating. That too, is fairly simple to figure out. It is always the
most plentiful and readily available food. It will be the food that is easiest for the trout
to acquire at the time. They have to expend the least amount of energy to acquire
the most food. That is nature way and the essence of their survival.
Oh yea, I know you are now thinking or questioning how one goes about figuring out
what is the most plentiful and available food the fish are most likely eating. That too,
is fairly simple but you have to learn a lot about the fish itself and just as important,
the food the fish depends on for its survival.
Listen up, fly guys - fish don't eat hair and feathers, they eat real food. Again,
the more the fly looks and behaves like the real things the trout eat, the
higher your odds of success. One final note. Unless your satisfied with
being at best a mediocre angler, you should learn all about the trout and the
food they depend on for their survival. Yes, this includes all the important
aquatic insects, crustaceans and baitfish. You cannot possibly imitate
something you know little to nothing about.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today, expect scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 3pm. It will be
partly sunny and hot with a high near 90. Calm wind will come out of the southaround
5 mph. The chance of precipitation is 40%. Tonight, changes of rain are also 40%.
On Monday, the chances of rain will be reduced to about a 20 percent chance of
showers and thunderstorms. It will be partly sunny with a high near 86. Southeast
wind will be around 5 mph becoming north in the afternoon.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 115 cfs at 1.58 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 249 cfs at 1.41 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 53 cfs at 2.31 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but yesterday afternoon
appeared near a normal level.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake: There isn't
a gauge but reports indicate Hazel Creek is in good shape.
Current Recommended Streams
The daily high temperatures are much warmer than they have been recently, and I
suggest you avoid the low elevations and fish the mid to high elevations for the next
few days. I would stay above a 2500 feet elevation.
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Eastern Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 14/16
2. Brown and White Belly Sculpins: Especially good in off color, high water &
early/late in the day
Hook Size 4/6
3. Light Cahills:
Hook Size 16/14
4. Slate Drakes
Hook Size 10/12
5. Cream Cahills
Hook Size 16/14
6. Green Sedge (Caddisfly):
Hook Size 14/16
larvae (Green Rock Worms)
7. Little Yellow Stoneflies:
Hook Size 14/16
8. Little Green Stoneflies
Hook Size 16
9. Moth Larvae: (Inch Worms): 10/12/14
10. Carpenter Ants, Black
Hook Size 16/18
11. Japanese Beetles
Hook Size 16/14
12. Grass Hoppers
Hook Size 10, 12, 14
Miscellaneous Hatches Occurring in the Smokies:
Cinnamon Caddis and Little Sister caddis:
I should mention that you may find some Cinnamon Caddis, sizes 18 and 16, about
the middle of the month of May, along with their Little Sister Caddis, size 18. These
are usually found in the slower sections of the larger streams but only in very small
quantities and only in isolated locations within the stream. Abrams Creek has plenty
of both of these caddisflies and if you fish Abrams I suggest you have imitations of
Recommended Fishing Strategy:
Keep in mind, the strategies I am recommending is for the maximum odds of
catching numbers of fish. Many prefer or favor a dry fly and by all means there
isn't anything wrong with that. It's just a fact that if nothing is hatching at the time, it
reduces your odds of success. You can still probably hook some trout, just not as
many as if you fish subsurface. Of course, this is also based on using good
techniques and the right flies. Some guys don't know how to fish below the surface.
Until I spotted something hatching, I would fish a Slate Drake nymph. These big
mayflies are plentiful throughout the streams of the Smokies. They are swimming
nymphs and represent a big meal for the trout that catch them. They have begin
congregating near the banks to crawl out of the water and hatch. That makes them
much easier for the trout to catch and gives you a good opportunity to catch some
nice trout. This will occur off and on from now into the month of November. The
hatches will increase in late September and early October.
Let me note that if you fish the day before, and know for a fact a certain mayfly listed
above is hatching in a certain area of the stream your fishing, by all means
fish the nymph of that mayfly the next morning up until you begin to see them hatch.
That will always give you the highest odds of success.
Little Yellow Stoneflies are hatching. If you see any adults during the day, it is a good
idea to fish an imitation of the nymph near the banks of the stream late in the day.
They crawl out of the water and hatch during the darkness of the night. You may also
spot some of the females laying eggs. This usually occurs late afternoons and if so,
be certain to fish an imitation of the adult.
Little Green Stoneflies are also hatching. They tend to hatch in slower water at the
ends of pools, more so than the fast water runs and riffles. They are similar to the
Little Yellows, but have a bright green body and wings. They average a hook size 16.
Green Sedges have been hatching and will continue for a few more weeks. There
are several different species of them. The do not hatch in big numbers but where
they hatch, trout will focus on eating them because they hatch at a time of day that is
different from other hatching insects at this time of the year. It usually occurs later in
the day near the same time the previously hatched adults are depositing their eggs.
You should concentrate far more on fishing the Green Rock Worm or larva stage of
life of the Green Sedge.
Light Cahills have been hatching and will continue for the next two or three weeks.
This is a good mayfly hatch for the Smokies and if you encounter any, you want to
make sure you fish it. If you encounter one today, you should fish the Light Cahill
nymph in the morning and for the next few days in the same area. If you see the
duns, you can expect the spinners to fall late in the afternoon. They are very difficult
to see and you probably won't see them. Just fish the Light Cahill spinner pattern at
the ends of the runs and riffles where they will congregate. If a hatch has occurred,
they will be there for certain but sometimes it is quite late near dark.
Cream Cahills, similar to the Light Cahills but a much lighter color mayfly, have also
started hatching. The duns leave the water very quickly but the spinner fall can
produce some very hot action.
Eastern Blue-winged Olives are rather large size BWOs that hatch in sparse
quantities in the lower and middle elevations during the late summer. They are not
baetis type BWOs, rather members of the Drunella genus that happen to have olive
color bodies and bluish tinted gray wings. You will usually find the duns, upside down
underneath the leaves of the trees in the shade during the day. If you see a few of
them, you should fish the spinner fall late that afternoon. They tend to hatch in the
late mornings, rather than afternoons until the weather becomes cooler.
There are still plenty of moth larvae hanging from the tree limbs. The moth larvae fly
also imitates the green caddis larvae quite well and is one reason the fly works well in
Carpenter ants are very plentiful. There are both black and browns ones in the park
but the blacks are more plentiful. These ants tend to only get in the water when they
are washed in by heavy downpours. It is a good idea to fish them anytime after a
The same heavy rain scenario applies to the Japanese Beetle. These insects are
very plentiful in the park. Fish our Perfect Fly imitation of them anytime, but they are
more effective after heavy downpours.
In areas where the streams in the park are surrounded by lots of grass, hoppers can
become a factor in the trout's diet. They are generally blown in the streams by high
wind, but can always accidentally jump in the water. They are not the smartest
creatures on earth.
Tips for Beginners:
Heavy rain tends to wash the terrestrials in the streams. It also stains the water and is
a big aid in increasing the effectiveness of streamers.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Use only red, blue or yellow flies and you will catch hundreds of trout an hour. You
must not have read my opening story. I've been fishing these hear branches flowing
though the Smoky Mountain hollows fer over 50 years and that is the only colors of
Smoky Mountain trout flies these hear trout will hit. Of course, I only fished in in '48 and again in
'61 and I fergot the last time.
Whatever Hits Me:
Thank you for visiting our site.
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Please enter your e-mail address in
the box to sign up for a free
subscription to the Perfect Fly "Fishing
Journal". It includes feature articles on
blue-ribbon destinations , fly fishing
techniques, and many other types of
articles of interest to any fly angler. You
can opt out at any time. If you decide
you don't want to receive our
information, just change your status by
clicking at the bottom of an e-mail we
send you in the "Remove" box. We will
not sell or give your e-mail address to
New! If you haven't signed up
previously, please sign up for
our Free Perfect Fly Fishing
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 response.
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Call or email us (email@example.com)
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
New Tenkara Fly Fishing Rod
The new Tenkara Fly Rod is a 12 foot long fly rod that
telescopes down to only 19 inches long. The age old
Japanese method of Tenkara fishing doesn't require a fly reel
and is easy to learn. A 6 inch Smoky Mountain native brook
trout will probably feel more like a tarpon than a trout.
Click here to check out the details
New Perfect Fly "Super Seven" Fly Rod
The new Super Seven fly rod was named the "Super Seven"
because it is a super rod for larger size trout and bass. It will
cast large nymphs, streamers and/or popping bug much
further than you need to cast them. We think it's the best fly
rod ever made for all around use of the seven weight fly line
and by that we mean better than a Sage, Winston, Scott or
any other manufacturer.
Click here to check out the details
New Richard Wheatley Water-Tite Fly Boxes
In a addition to our own line of Perfect Fly water-proof fly
boxes (which will be expanded greatly later this month) we
are now stocking the new Richard Wheatley Water-Tite fly
boxes. They are fairly new at it, having only been making fly
boxes since 1860.
Click here to check out the details
Japanese Beetle: Click Image to see
the detail and compare to any other
beetle fly. You will find there is no