Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 05/28/15
Since the streams are in bad need of rain, I can't help but notice just how much the
National Weather Service people continue to move the percentages of rain around
almost every few hours and at times, changing them to a large extent. The chance of
rain for Saturday was 60% yesterday, and this morning it is 20%. It must be a very
difficult thing to predict with any accuracy. The bottom line to this is we will just have
to wait and see what the results are for the next several days. Surely, out of a
change of rain every day for the next week, we will get lucky.
Right now, with the low water levels, you need to find a pair of knee pads like cotton
pickers wore when people picked cotton instead of machines. You could get around
the streams on your knees. This would present a much lower profile to the trout and
you will spook less fish. I'm joking about the knee pads, but not about keeping a low
profile, and/or staying hidden behind boulders or trees.
Low water levels mean the water is moving slower, with less riffles and slower runs.
This means the trout will be getting a much better look at your fly than they do in
higher, fast water. If your smarter than a fifth grader, that should tell you the
more your fly looks and acts like the real insects the trout are feeding on,
the higher your odds of success. That is why our Perfect Flies are rapidly
changing the fly business nation wide. They simply look more like the real things than
the fly shop generic versions.
Just for example, we sell both of the flies shown below. Now for the fifth grade
question, which one do you think looks more like the real Little Yellow
Stoneflies and would catch the most trout. We sell them both.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
As usual on Thursdays, I'm giving the forecast through the weekend. Today, showers
and thunderstorms are likely, mainly after 4pm. It will be mostly cloudy with a high
near 79. The wind will be calm. The chance of precipitation is 60%.
Friday, there's a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm.
It will be partly sunny with a high near 82. Wind will be calm.
Saturday, there's a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 8am. It
will be partly sunny with a high near 84. Wind will be calm.
Sunday, there's a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. It will be partly
sunny with a high near 81.
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: Rate: 82 cfs at 1.39 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 286 cfs at 1.49 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 58 cfs at 2.34 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but as of yesterday afternoon, it
was obviously low.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
My guess, based on the precipitation map, is they are still below normal but not in
bad shape by any means.
Current Recommended Streams: Little River, all three branches and Abrams
Creek, will be the most difficult to fish due to much lower water than most of the other
streams in the park. I would avoid fishing it and Abrams Creek unless you just want a
bigger challenge. I hope this changes, today.
Recommended Trout Flies:
Hook Size 20/18
American March Browns:
Hook Size: 10/12
Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
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)
Slate Drakes: 10/12
Golden Stoneflies: 10/12
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 16/14
Light Cahills: 16
Inch Worms: Hook size : 10/12/14
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 still hatching. If
you spot something else hatching (coming off the water) that is relatively small, it will
most likely be Light Cahills. It it is relatively large, it will probably be an Eastern Pale
Evening Dun or American March Brown. Change to the appropriate emerger, dun or
adult imitations of the insect. Slate Drakes are starting to hatch but remember, they
hatch out of the water. Only the spinners get on the water unless it is purely
When March Browns, Slate Drakes, Light Cahills 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, Golden Stoneflies and Little Yellow stoneflies are hatching,
but of course, this takes place during the evenings. Fishing a Giant Black Stonefly
nymph, Golden Stonefly nymph or Little Yellow Stonefly nymph very late in the
afternoon near sunset should produce. If you see the stoneflies depositing their eggs
on the surface of the water, switch to the adult imitation of the stonefly.
Eastern Pale Evening Duns, often called Sulphurs but not true Sulphurs are still
hatching in some areas. True Sulphurs are beginning to hatch. These are not any
and everywhere, but some of the larger pools.
As mentioned above, Light Cahills are hatching. Look for them in the faster water
areas. They will get caught up in the fast water runs and riffles.
Tips for Beginners:
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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This is a Neversink Caddis, which by the way, isn't a stonefly, but a
caddisfly. We sell these for $1.00 each including shipping.
Now if you failed the "smarter than a fifth grader" question, here is a
picture of a real one.