Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 06/19/15
I had some email yesterday from anglers worried about the low water levels hurting
the fish population like we had take place a few years ago during a drought period. I
don't think that is going to happen anywhere in the park. Cataloochee Creek is
high right now. Oconaluftee River is about normal right now. Most of the North
Carolina side of the park is in good shape. The Precipitation map shows the Little
Pigeon Watershed and Cosby get over a half inch of rain last night. Some parts of
N.C. received over an inch of rain. For some strange reason, Little River just keeps
missing out on it but I'm betting that changes soon.
The only sections in danger of having fish die from high water temperatures are
some of the lower parts of the Little River watershed that hold trout. All the other
streams and watersheds in the park have stream flows that are not close to having a
problem with that. In fact, although we have no assurance, I don't think that problem
will occur anywhere, or at least to any significant or unusual amount. We have some
decent chances of rain for the next three days.
Yesterday, I received this email from my friend Harvey regarding his Wednesday trip..
"Hope this finds you well. I had no Wi-Fi in my room so I couldn't get back to you
after my visit. I was truly reluctant about visiting because I know how busy you and
Angie are,Thanks so much for the hospitality. I drove up to Road Prong to the spot
you suggested and caught 16 fish in a little less than 3 hrs. They were mostly small
rainbows with a few good brook trout. The largest brook was six and a half inches.
Beautiful fish! Please take care of yourself and give Angie my best. Harvey"
Harvey has trouble doing anything. He's a Veteran with severe problems from his Viet
Nam days and has a difficult time getting around. He has to fish easy to access
places or he doesn't have a chance. If he can catch 16 trout in 3 hours, I have a
suggestion for you young scoundrels wanting something to complain about. Well, on
second thought, I'll be nice. I think you get the point. By the way, it was Walkers
Camp Prong he fished, not Road Prong.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
There's a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms today. It will be partly
sunny with a high near 88. Tonight, there's a 50 percent chance of showers and
thunderstorms, mainly before 1am.
Saturday, there's a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after
1pm. It will be partly sunny with a high near 88. South wind will range from 5 to 15
mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Saturday night there's a 50 percent chance of
showers and thunderstorms.
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: 50 cfs at 1.21 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 367 cfs at 1.66 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 98 cfs at 2556 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: Yesterday afternoon it was low but not too low to fish.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
I didn't get any reports from the streams yesterday, but from looking at the
precipitation map, I would assume they are low, but in decent shape.
Current Recommended Streams:
I think you should select a section of water above the 2500 elevation range today. It
is going to be hot. If you don't, at least fish only early or late in the day. Some of the
streams on the North Carolina side of the park received a little rain yesterday, or
enough to keep the levels up.. As mentioned above, the Oconaluftee River received
Little River got zero rain, which is usual for it, and it is very low for the hot
temperatures expected today. The only part I would consider fishing would be the
East Prong a few miles above Elkmont. The West and Middle prongs and their
tributaries, including Lynn Camp Prong, are all two low in elevation for the current
The upper Middle Prong of Little Pigeon above Porters Creek, and the West Prong of
Little Pigeon River above the Chimneys Picnic area, would be good choices. This
includes Walkers Camp Prong and Road Prong.
On the N.C. side, you have more choices due to the fact it has received a little more
rain and the streams are in better shape. I think anywhere above 2000 feet in
elevation would be okay. Upper Oconaluftee River, upper Straight Fork, or middle to
Hazel, Forney, Noland, Deep Creek, and Big Creek. The Raven Fork would be a very
good choice if your legs are strong enough. My first choice would be Cataloochee
Recommended Trout Flies:
Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
Cinnamon Caddis: (mostly Abrams but a few in all of the streams) 16/18
Green Sedges (Caddis): 14/16
larva (green rock worms)
Slate Drakes: 10/12
Golden Stoneflies: 10/12
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 16/14
Light Cahills: 16
Inch Worms: Hook size : 10/12/14
Green/Tan/Orange Hoppers: 10/12
Black Carpenter Ants: 16/18
Japanese Beetles: 16/14
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 Slate Drake nymph. They are big swimming nymphs
that are easily caught and eaten by trout and are hatching. If you spot something
else hatching (coming off the water), it will most likely be Light Cahills or Sulphurs.
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 accidental.
When the Slate Drakes, Light Cahills or Sulphurs 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.
Golden Stoneflies and Little Yellow stoneflies are hatching, but of course, these
hatches take place during the evenings. Both species of stoneflies crawl out of the
water to hatch. Fishing a 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
As mentioned above, Light Cahills and in some isolated area, Sulphurs,are hatching.
Look for the Light Cahills in the faster water areas. They will get caught up in the fast
water runs and riffles. Look for the Sulphurs in the slower water of the larger pools.
Tips for Beginners:
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
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