Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 07/30/15
I have been getting some reports lately that are consistently indicating anglers are
having a tougher time catching good numbers of trout. I had at least a dozen during
the past week, indicate they caught less than they expected. I wasn't sure what was
going on until I got some actual water temperature reports. Harvey reported the water
temp in Caldwell Fork in the Cataloochee Valley was up to 64 degrees around noon.
He hooked a few, but it was slow according to him. I'm sure it went up another degree
or two by mid afternoon. I'm sure that is the problem. At 70 degree water temp, the
trout will have a difficult time living and if they don't have some highly oxygenated
water, they won't survive very long.
Many anglers do not understand water temperature's effect on trout. You will hear
some say the higher the water temp, the higher the metabolism and that is correct.
What they don't understand is the water temperature's effect on the oxygen content
of the water. It is inversely proportional. Trout begin to get sluggish in the high sixties,
even lethargic around 70 degrees, and feed less at higher water temperatures
because of that. I'll leave the subject for another date, since I'm running behind this
morning. For the next few days, it may be a good idea to stay around 3000 feet or
higher during the hottest part of the day.
Derek Porter took his 8 year old son camping in the Cataloochee valley this past
weekend and reported he caught some trout, but that it certainly wasn't like the
fishing is in the Fall. He caught several trout, but not the high numbers he was
expecting to catch. I think he fished Palmer Creek and the Little Cataloochee Creek.
They did have a great time through, and I'm sure his son will remember it for the rest
of his life. I know I can remember trips with my dad from that young of an age,
although certainly not in detail. He took the picture below showing Mt. Sterling in the
distance on his iPhone as they left the valley.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, there is a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. It will be partly
sunny with a high near 87.
Friday, will be sunny with a high near 85. North wind will be around 5 mph.
Saturday, will be sunny with a high near 86.
Sunday, will be sunny with a high near 87.
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: 112 cfs at 1.53 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 241 cfs at 1.38 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 39 cfs at 2.21 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is at a good level to fish.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
They are in good condition.
Current Recommended Streams:
Any of the streams above about the 3000 foot elevation. It is going to be hot again
today. This is summertime.
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
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 14
Little Green Stoneflies: 16
Light Cahills: 14/16
Cream Cahills: 14/16
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 the Slate Drake nymph. They are big swimming
nymphs that are easily caught and eaten by trout and are still hatching. If you spot
something else hatching (coming off the water), it will most likely be Light or Cream
Cahills. Change to the appropriate emerger, dun or adult imitations of the insect.
When the Slate Drakes, Light or Cream Cahills 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.
Little Yellow and Little Green 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 Little Green 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.
As mentioned above, Light and Cream 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:
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