Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 07/08/15
I get a lot of telephone calls on our 800 number each day. I spend a great deal of
time each day talking to anglers from all over the country. Most of them are from
people who are serious about their fly fishing and know quite a bit about it. That
written, I can also say, there's not a day that goes by that I don't have the following
described, typical conversation with someone. Most of the time, they have entered
something in a search engine and found one of our thousands of website pages on
the Perfect Fly website. On many of the streams we have information on, fished a lot,
and more importantly, acquired samples of the insect larvae from at various times of
the year, we offer to help anglers select flies for a given period of time.
The typical conversation that I'm referring too, usually takes place when they are in
their vehicle while they are actually on the way to the stream they intend to fish. Most
of the time, they are on their smart phone. The words will vary from person to person,
of course, but a condensed analysis of what they are ask would go like this. They will
say, "what are they hittin on, or maybe, "what are they bitting today". Sometimes,
they are a little more sophisticated, and they ask what flies they should be using. My
first response, after the how are you doing, just fine, how are you doing line, is
always a question. WHERE are you fishing? Sometimes the answer is valid and
sometimes it is something like, "I'm on the North Fork." Then I have to ask, NORTH
Fork of what? After I get some information they ASSUME i know, my answer would
typically go like this - "Light Cahills, Sulphurs, Slate Drakes, Cinnamon Caddis, etc."
when I finish, they usually go blank and eventually ask, "what do you think about
fishing a nymph". When that happens, I know I am dealing with someone who doesn't
really have a clue about what they are doing, just wanting a magic fly.
After explaining that when I say something like, "well Sir, in addition to the Light Cahill
dun, or dry fly, for example, I'm referring to a Light Cahill nymph..At that point, I
realize there's not much sense in mentioning they may want to use a Light Cahill
emerger or spinner, that would just send them further out in left field. I have to try to
tell someone that doesn't know a June bug from a Bumble Bee, what flies they should
be using. By the way, they usually ask "what fly", not "what flies". If I use the plural
version, they might even ask, "how much are your flies".
Of course, if I'm not too busy, I try to explain the 101 basics of trout flies to them,
but it is usually a waste of time. After all, they couldn't find or acquire the flies I would
recommend anyway. We don't sell them through mom and pop shops. I just have to
be nice and point out that the next time, they need to give me a little notice, and
preferably send an email to us, so that we can send them links to the flies we
recommend. That way, dummy. , Mr. Smith, we will be able to help you a lot better Sir.
That way, you can look at a picture of "what they are bittin on". you can get a lot
more information about the flies we recommend. Thank you for calling, and good
luck, your going to need it.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, there's a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm.
It will be partly sunny with a high near 85. West wind will range from 5 to 10 mph.
Thursday, there's a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. It
will be mostly sunny with a high near 89. South wind will range from 5 to 10 mph,
becoming west in the afternoon.
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:144 cfs at 1.66 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 372 cfs at 1.67 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 52 cfs at 2.30 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: Yesterday, it was in great shape and appeared to be about a
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
According to customers, the streams are back near a normal level.
Current Recommended Streams:
You can fish just about anywhere you want to today, but I would stick to the mid to
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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Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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