Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 06/15/17
Today, is the day I always give my less than brilliant, last minute advice to those
planning a weekend trip to the Smokies. Hopefully, they will have a better idea of what
to expect as to the weather and stream conditions. The stream levels are all back down
a good bit below normal this morning. There is a chance of rain everyday for the next
several days. I think the odds are pretty good that you would be able to fish
successfully from now through the weekend. Hopefully, the rain will be just about the
right amount to keep the stream levels up and in good condition.
The water and air temperatures are creeping back up high enough that you should
avoid fishing in the lowest elevations. I don't think fishing below about an 1800 foot
elevation would be a good idea.
Fish'n Tales: (New Series - we plan on replacing every two or three days. Note that
this is something I am just sitting down and writing mostly off the top of my head, with
no editing. It isn't intended to be professionally done release of any kind )
Learning the Different Types of Trout and the Water They Live In- Part Three - Please
read part One & Two, or this may not make a lot of sense to you.
I mentioned in part two, that after fishing the clear, spring creeks of Virginia and
Pennsylvania, I became a little frustrated. In many cases, I knew the trout I were trying
to catch could not see me, and I knew I had made good presentations, yet they
approached my fly and turned away from it at the last second to two. Of course, I had
experienced similar occurrences over the years fishing for many other species in very
clear water. It was obvious to me, they did not accept the lures, or in the spring creek
cases, the fly for food.
The next few trips we made to fish, in the fall of that year, was either back in the
Smokies, or fishing some tailwaters in the Southeast. Tailwaters were something we
had not yet experienced. In the Smokies, Angie and I had been seeing a lot of trout in
the pools, but we had been advised by many local anglers not to spend time fishing for
them, that we wouldn't be able to catch them. Noticing a similarity between the clear,
spring creeks and the clear pools of the Smokies, I tried to catch trout from them by
staying hidden from them as best I could. I noticed the same thing usually happened.
The trout would approach my fly and turn away from it the last second or two. On trips
with my brother to the Clinch River, I noticed the exact same thing happening.
Angie and I were doing our best to get familiar with all the strange names of the many
trout flies we were hearing about that first year or two. We begin to purchase books on
fly fishing for trout as well as some videos. We subscribed to all the fly fishing
magazines. The names and types of flies seemed endless, but we did notice some of
them mentioned the food or insect they were made to imitate. We could not find what
many or actually most of them were intended to imitate. We were constantly hearing
the names of insects, many of which were new and strange to us.
We begin to purchase all the books we could find about insects and other foods trout
eat. It didn't take long for us to end up with over a hundred books. In a couple of years,
we ended up with about all of the books ever written on insects trout ate. We fished
during the day, and I studied the books at night. I knew I may have bitten off more than
I could chew, but the more I studied it, the faster I begin to see it really wasn't rocket
science. It was just a matter of getting familiar with a lot of new names and for the most
part, the tiny creatures they named.
We begin to purchase flies at the different places we visited to fish and in the catalogs
of fly fishing companies, whether we knew we needed them or not. Keep in mind, my
objective was to make instruction videos on fly fishing and I couldn't possibly do a good
job of that not knowing all about flies and the food they imitated. As I have mentioned in
previous parts of this series, I had known for years that in order to know how to catch
any species of fish, that in addition to knowing all about the fish, you needed to know
all about the food it relied on to survive. Catching any of them was a matter of offering
it what it was feeding on with a hook in it, or something that looked and acted like what
is was eating with a hook in it.
Seeing pictures of, and reading all about insects in the water that I wasn't familiar with
made me want to see the real things. We begin to pick up rocks and look at nymphs
and larvae under them. We started watching the water closely for any signs of food.
We learned from the books, aquatic entomologist used kick nets, insect traps and nets
to catch and acquire them. I begin to purchase a lot of the equipment to do that.
I also noticed something else. Prior to the 1970's, there were very few mentions or
books on the food trout ate. It seemed the book "Matching the hatch", in 1955, was at
least one of the first ones to start pointing out that matching what was hatching made a
big difference. After reading that, and several others with bits and pieces on the
subject, we begin to try to do that by catching flying insects on the stream and
matching them up to hundreds of flies we had purchased, trying to get a fly as close as
possible to them. Angie spent a lot more time than I doing that. After acquiring al the
books, equipment and information, the process of fishing and matching the food with
our flies became a day to day thing. Eventually, that became a big problem. We were
finding out, that out of thousands of flies, there wasn't flies that matched many and
maybe even most of the items of food that trout eat. We collected the insects in special
containers we had purchased, and made macro video and slides of them. Some of this
was done on the water and some at night in our motel or cabin room. We were in our
second or third year of fly fishing for trout on a full time basis.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today,.showers and thunderstorms are likely, mainly after 3pm. It will be partly sunny
with a high near 86. The chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between
a tenth and quarter of an inch are possible, except higher amounts are possible in
thunderstorms. Tonight, showers and thunderstorms are likely, mainly before 3am. It
will be mostly cloudy, with a low around 64. The chance of precipitation is 60%. New
rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Friday, showers and thunderstorms are likely, mainly after 3pm. It will be mostly cloudy,
with a high near 84. The chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts of
between a tenth and quarter of an inch are expected, except higher amounts are
possible in thunderstorms. Friday night, expect more showers and thunderstorms. The
chance of precipitation is 60%.
Saturday, showers and thunderstorms are likely, mainly after 3pm. It will be partly
sunny, with a high near 85. The chance of precipitation is 60%. Saturday night,
showers and thunderstorms are likely. The chance of precipitation is 60%.
Sunday, showers and thunderstorms are likely, mainly after 9am. It will be partly sunny,
with a high near 84. The chance of precipitation is 60%.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data: Click the
links to see updates:
Little River: Rate 251 cfs at 2.23 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 387 cfs at 1.67 ft.
(good wading up to 500 cfs and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 61 cfs at 2.36 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is flowing a little below a normal level.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
They are all flowing a little below a normal level.
Recommended Trout Flies:
In addition to the two list below, you can always send us an email
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or call us at 800 594 4726 providing the specific times
you plan on fishing the park, and we will provide a list of flies and other associated
gear and equipment you need.
Trout Flies Currently Needed:
Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
Black and/or Olive Matuka Sculpin:
Size 4, 6, 8
Blue-winged olives: 14 and 18 baetis BWOs,
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 16/14
American March Browns: 10/12
Short Horned Sedges: 20
Green Sedges: 14/16
larva (green rock worms)
Light Cahills: 14/16
Cinnamon Caddis: 16/18 (mostly Abrams Creek)
Eastern Pale Evening Duns: 14 (some call these Sulphurs)
Golden Stoneflies: 10/12
Little Green Stoneflies: 16
Inch Worms: 10, 12, 14
Japanese Beetles: 14/16
Carpenter Ants: 16/18
Sandwich Hoppers: 6/8/10/12
New: Trout Flies You Will Need Soon (through 6/31/17, in addition to
those on the above list.
Slate Drakes: 10/12
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.
Not all of the insects you see above will be hatching in the same location. It is usually
only two or three. It varies with the elevation. Some are just starting in the low
elevations and some about finished in the higher elevations. 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 BWO or maybe the Light Cahill nymph. If you spot something hatching (coming
off the water), change to the appropriate emerger, dun or adult imitations of the insect.
Tips for Beginners:
Don't let anyone intimidate you by contending that fly fishing is more difficult to learn
and master than other types of fishing. It isn't.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
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Fly Fishing The Great Smoky
Mountains National Park:
(Year-round Dry Fly Fishing) This new
DVD (2 Disc Set) provides over 4 hours
of fly fishing for trout in the park. See
all of the streams and witness the
action. Learn everything you need to
know in order to successfully catch
brown, brook and rainbow trout on the
fly. Fishing methods, strategies and
much more are covered. Learn all
about the insects and other food the
trout eat and how to imitate it.
Techniques for each season of the
year are covered.
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