Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 05/08/15
Yesterday, I talked to and/or corresponded via email with several people planning
trips to the Smokies. I also talked to and/or received email from a few guys who
fished recently, including yesterday. Some of them were disappointed because they
didn't catch the high numbers of trout they expected to catch. One person did do well
yesterday, catching over thirty rainbow and brown trout.
I know of some of the problems the others were having. One group of two guys fished
Lynn Camp, the stream the park service recently opened. From what I read and
hear, for one problem, it must be beat to death by a large number of guys fishing it.
Secondly, the water is low and even the brook trout have become more difficult to
catch than usual. That's mostly because it is more difficult to stay hidden from them
and in the slower, lower flows, more difficult to keep the brook trout from seeing the
fly line, leader, etc. Unless you just want to personally see the results of the brook
trout project, my advice would be to avoid fishing it.
The other problem, and the one all the others I communicated with had for the past
couple of days, is due to the low water levels. Keep in mind, when I say low water
levels, I mean lower than they have been recently. The levels are not really low
and from a water temperature standpoint, the water isn't too warm. In fact, as far as
I'm concerned, the levels are perfect. You don't have to fight swift water like everyone
has had to deal with for the past several days. The streams are easy to wade.
The problem the lower levels do present is they allows the trout to get a much better
look at your fly. You will get a lot more rejections, simply because the trout get a
good look at your fly in the slower flows. This is especially true with the poor, generic
imitations of the real aquatic insects sold by the fly shops. You will catch a lot more
trout using our Perfect Fly imitations. Anglers from coast to coast are learning that
every day. Several thousand have learned that during the past five years.
The other problem with the lower levels is unless you stay hidden and make good
presentations, the trout can get a much better look at your fly line, leader and tippet.
It doesn't do any good to have a good imitation of the insects the trout are feeding on
if the fly doesn't act like the real insects. They much drift at the same speed of the
current in the same natural manner the real ones drift. This doesn't just mean your
dry flies. It mean subsurface flies just as well. They should also drift naturally at the
same speed of the current. Whereas, with the high water levels anglers have been
getting by with a lot of poor presentations as well as poor imitations (flies), that isn't
the case with the lower water levels. It requires better flies and a little skill in
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. It will
be mostly sunny, with a high near 84. Calm wind will become northwest around 5 mph
in the afternoon. Tonight's low will be around 59.
Saturday, there's a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3pm. It
will be mostly sunny, with a high near 85. Southeast wind will be around 5 mph
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data: Click
to links to see updates:
Little River: 162 cfs at 1.73 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 587 cfs at 2.03 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 111 cfs at 2.61 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but it is in good shape.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
Customers reported recently that Hazel Creek is in great shape.
Current Recommended Streams: All the streams are okay.
Recommended Trout Flies:
Hook Size 20/18
Blue Quills: 18
American March Browns: 10/12
Little Black Caddis: 18
Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
Eastern Green Drakes: 4/6 (Abrams Creek Only)
Cinnamon Caddis: (mostly Abrams but a few in all of the streams) 16/18
Green Caddis: 14/16
larva (green rock worms)
Giant Black Stoneflies: 4/6
Eastern Pale Evening Duns: 14 (called sulphurs by some)
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 16/14
Light Cahills: 16
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.
If you fished the day or two before and know where something is hatching, fish the
nymph or larva stage of it. If you haven't fished the day or two before, until I spotted
something hatching, I would fish a size 18 Blue-winged Olive Nymph. They are little
swimming nymphs that are easily caught and eaten by trout and are currently
hatching. If you spot something hatching (coming off the water) that is relatively
small, it will most likely be Blue Quills, Blue-winged Olives, Ligh Cahills or Little Black
Caddis. It it is relatively large, it will be a Eastern Pale Evening Dun or American
March Brown. Change to the appropriate emerger, dun or adult imitations of the
When March Browns or Eastern Pale Evening Duns are hatching, there will be a
spinner fall late in the day. Often, you can catch more trout fishing the spinner fall
quicker than you can during the hatch. Change to the spinner imitation of the mayfly.
Giant Black Stoneflies should begin to hatch any day now. Fishing a Giant Black
Stonefly nymph very late in the afternoon near sunset may produce a very large trout
for you. Little Yellow Stoneflies are beginning to hatch. The nymphs are coming out
from under their hiding places to fully develop their wing pads and crawling out on
the rocks and banks to hatch. Fishing a nymph imitation of them late in the day is a
good strategy in areas you know they have started to hatch..Eastern Pale Evening
Duns, often called Sulphurs but not true Sulphurs (which will hatch later on), are
starting to hatch in some areas. These are not any and everywhere, but some of the
larger pools. Where they do exist, they can be important. By the way, these are not
Pale Evening Duns, which are a western species. Light Cahill are hatching. Look for
them to get caught up in the fast water runs and riffles. I should have put these in the
list about 2 weeks ago. I've been behind with my work and making some mistakes I
shouldn't have made.
Tips for Beginners:
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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The caps, not the old man or the sunglasses.
Actually, the caps are here now, but no one has the time to
put them up for sale in the Perfect fly Store. We have plain
olive ones and other colors as well. I'll even sell the one I'm
wearing at half price because I will continue to wear my hat,
thank you. I'm a fisherman, not a baseball player. But,
Derek Porter and 99.9 percent of the other fishermen, and
even the lady fishers, think my hat sucks. Wear the caps. If
it rains, your head will get wet (the back of the hats are
vented), and your ears and neck will get skin cancer from
the exposure to the sun. You may but you will be in style.
James Marsh, WBS
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