Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 08/24/15
The west end of the park got a very small amount of precipitation yesterday. Little
River rose slightly but is back down to the same low level. The precipitation map
shows that watershed got from a tenth to a quarter of an inch of rain. The rest of the
park, for the great majority, didn't receive any. Cataloochee Creek got a small
amount. The chances of rain are less today (only 20%) and the forecast is showing
no chance for at least the next five days. If you work at it and do your best to stay low
and hidden from the trout, fishing low water can actually improve your fly fishing
skills. You won't get by with many lousy presentations, so being aware of that, and
working to improve your accuracy and slack line cast, can make you a better angler.
I had a lot of response from yesterday's article about "Mediocrity". Harvey, a loyal
customer and good friend is headed to Gatlinburg to fish the park this morning. He
lives in North Carolina but several hours away. He spent most of last week fishing the
North Carolina side and under the conditions, did very well. He is the one that
reminded me that fishing low water levels helps improve your fishing. He will have
plenty of practice doing that this week.
I am re-running the article for those who may have missed it yesterday.
Measuring Your Success:
Anglers have a very difficult time judging just how well they are doing, or not doing,
anytime they are fishing fast, pocket water streams. All the streams in the park are
fast, pocket water streams. They are not slow flowing streams with slick, smooth
currents. This means that you can get by with a lot of flies simply because the trout
usually get only a short, quick glimpse of the fly. I'm not just referring to dry flies. I'm
also referring to sub-surface flies, or nymphs, pupae and larvae. The trout get a
much better view of them than they do the dry flies.
Notice I said "get by". When it comes to fishing, I have always hated the phrase "get
by or get by with". I have never wanted to just get by. I didn't want to just get by when
I was a kid fishing farm ponds. I wanted to catch the most and the largest fish in the
water. I dang sure didn't want to just get by when I fished bass tournaments and
saltwater fishing tournaments. That meant losing. In fact, when it comes to
fishing, I don't want anything to do with anyone who is satisfied with
mediocrity. It isn't that I have anything against them. I guess I've just always been
afraid some of their piss poor attitude could rub off on me.
I'm always amazed at just how downright stupid some anglers actually are when they
make statements like " the fly you use isn't that important", or "the fly isn't that
important because the trout are hungry". That only means one thing to me. It means
the person making that type of statement has never finished the first grade of fly
fishing. Worse than that, it means they are satisfied with mediocrity.
The only thing the trout should see is the fly. The fly and how well it is presented is
the only things that makes any difference, in-so-far as being able to have a chance
to hook a trout..
Oh, by the way, when it comes to fishing for wild trout in slow moving, slick currents,
the same anglers will always say something like, "I don't like fishing such and such
stream". There's a good reason for it. They have a hard time catching anything on
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, there's a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 2pm. It will
be mostly sunny with a high near 84. Light north wind will be coming from the west at
5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.
Tuesday, will be sunny with a high near 80.
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: 68 cfs at 1.31 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 188 cfs at 1.23 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 32 cfs at 2.16 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is a good bit below normal.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
According to customers, Hazel is low again but still okay to fish.
Current Recommended Streams:
Any of the streams above about the 2000 foot elevation.
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
Mahogany Duns: 18
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.
Cream Cahills are hatching. Look for them in the faster water areas. They will get
caught up in the fast water runs and riffles. Mahogany Duns should start hatching
Tips for Beginners:
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
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