Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 06/20/15
You may remember that day before yesterday, I wrote the following, "I, James Marsh,
am predicting this Smoky Mountain drought is coming to an end. It is going to rain a
decent amount on Friday and Saturday. I'm writing this because the experts say that
there is a 40% to 60% chance of it. I'm increasing it to a 100%."
I think all the watersheds in the park are in good shape except for the Little River
watershed, and even it received some rain yesterday. I think the best chance of rain
is still to come, hopefully, today, but of course, there's no guarantee. The National
Weather service guys have the chances at 60% for the Gatlinburg area. At 8:14, the
radar shows some heavy thunderstorms moving into the park area. Keep your
One thing I expected to happen and noticed is happening to even a greater extent
than I expected, is the stream levels are falling very fast. The very dry terrain and low
water table is sucking up the rain water about as fast as it falls to the ground. For
example, the Cataloochee Creek flows went from 45 cfs, up to 168 cfs, and back
down to 49 cfs in just over a 24 hour period of time. To me, this means one thing. It is
going to take a lot more rain to solve the problem. It appears all the streams except
Little River, are in decent shape, and I hope that problem is solved within the next 24
hours. After today, the chances of rain drop back down to about 20% from isolated
shower and thunderstorms.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, showers and thunderstorms are likely, mainly after noon. It will be partly
sunny with a high near 86. Southwest wind will range from 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as
high as 20 mph. The chance of precipitation is 60%. The chances tonight are 40
For Father's Day Sunday, there's a 20 percent chance of showers and
thunderstorms. It will be partly sunny and hot, with a high near 90.
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: 54 cfs at 1.23 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 234 cfs at 1.36 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 49 cfs at 2.28 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 but not quite as hot as it has been. If you don't, at least fish only
early or late in the day.
Little River got a touch of rain and it is still 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 conditions.
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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