Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 06/22/15
I forgot to mention that in addition to being Father's Day, yesterday, was the first day
of Summer. That's a little difficult to grasp when the daily high temperatures have
been ranging in the low nineties for two or three weeks. From a temperature and
stream level standpoint, It seems more like September. The water levels have
remained well below normal for most of the month. Normally, October is the month
when the stream levels average the lowest levels, with September running a close
I wrote this report at 4:30 AM yesterday morning, about an hour before I normally do.
Later in the day I noticed the headwaters of Little River received some rain during the
late night and that the stream levels had risen a little, and was up to about 74 cfs. It
fell back down to about 60 cfs but thanks to some more rain, is back up to about 74
cfs this morning at 6;00 AM. Normal average for Little River during June, is about 200
cfs. I realize that's not much rain that fell, but enough to keep the river from getting
into very bad shape. Even though it is only a third the rate of flow and level normal at
this time of the year, it is a very welcome change. Oconaluftee is flowing at 208 cfs,
or just a little over half the normal average for June. Cataloochee Creek is flowing at
49 cfs, or just a little over half the normal average for June.
I joke about the National Weather Service forecast constantly changing but the facts
are, they do a pretty good job. Isolated showers and thunderstorms are very difficult
to predict accurately. Day before yesterday, I sat on the porch watching four different
very heavy thunderstorms pass by without seeing the first drop of rain. All four were
close enough to knock the satellite TV coverage out. In the distance you could see
very heavy downpours, but none of them were close enough to drop any rain in the
yard. I imagine this is a typical situation. You can watch the radar and see that same
thing occurring in many other places in our general area. I also noticed many
streams in the mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Mid western areas are blown out from
heavy rain. That is more typical of late Spring and early summer rain patterns in the
Smokies than the threat of a drought.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, expect scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm. It will be
partly sunny and hot, with a high near 91. The chance of precipitation is 30%.
Tuesday, there's a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 8am. It will
be mostly sunny and hot with a high near 91.
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: 74 cfs at 1.35 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 208 cfs at 1.29 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 in the
middle to higher elevations.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
I did get a reports from the streams yesterday. They are a little low but in okay shape
to fish in the middle to high elevations.
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.
Little River got a touch of rain but it is still very low for the hot temperatures
expected today. The only part you should 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. Water temps are getting into the low seventies, way to
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 okay 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, Hazel,
Forney, Noland, Deep Creek, and Big Creek would work. The Raven Fork would be a
very good choice if your legs are strong enough.
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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