Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 07/7/17
The stream levels are all up a little this morning. The North Carolina, side of the park
received more rain during the last day than the Tennessee, side. We had some heavy
downpours in Pigeon Forge, this morning, and the streams may be rising some more
on the Tennessee, side. The showers are isolated.
Looking at the precipitation map shows some parts received over an inch and a half
but the average is far less, maybe a quarter to a half an inch. This tells me some
streams may be up a little high and stained this morning, and some may be continuing
to rise. You can zoom in on the map and determine which ones are likely to rise
provided you use the map correctly. All the streams were low and needed rain. It is just
a matter of how much they get in a short period of time.
The heavy downpours tend to wash a lot of ants and beetles into the streams. It is a
good idea to fish imitations of them where water is running into the streams from heavy
rainfall. Hoppers are usually blown into the water rather than washed in.
Fish'n Tales: (New Series - See the Menu of articles on your right: We plan on
replacing these 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 a
professionally done release of any kind.
The next six years of the learning curve - part 1
The beginning of our fifth year of fly fishing exclusively, we had a lot of experience
under our belts. As a matter of fact, we had fished more than about anyone other than
a few that made fly fishing their livelihood. We had probably fished more than 95% of
those that did it for a living including guides simply because we fished throughout the
entire year, good or bad weather, and during the time most guides called their off
season. We just swapped from fly fishing for freshwater species, mostly trout, to
During that time frame, we also moved from Panama City Beach, where we lived but
were almost never there, to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We had lots of video that were
began to edit into programs. Our first releases came during our fifth year in 2004. We
had been studying aquatic insects day in and day out at night. I did much of it while
traveling from place to place throughout the nation while Angie drove.
We had purchased all the entomology equipment we needed to collect, video and
identify insects from the streams which we did day in and day out on each new stream.
I was learning that finding, obtaining video and slides of all the aquatic insects was
much more difficult than I expected. We could only be in one place at a time, and
during the prime season when most adults species were available, that made it
impossible to obtain them in one year from coast to coast. In fact, it took the next six
years to do that, or a total of almost ten years. We were doing it for the purpose of
making videos, not fly patterns, but we always had that in mind as well. It just wasn't our
I am constantly asked by those viewing our nineteen instructional videos (DVD) on fly
fishing for trout, why we used flies like Parachute Adams, Hares Ear nymphs, etc. or
generic trout flies instead of our on Perfect flies. The answer is simple. Perfect Flies
didn't exist during the time frame we shot the videos. We didn't have any choice. All we
knew was that most insects didn't have patterns that imitated most all of the larva or
nymphs, emergers and spinners. There were many of the adult species that didn't
have imitations that were close to matching the naturals. Few caddisflies and stoneflies
had imitations that were near being a close match.
Like everyone else, we were stuck with using what was available and again, although
there were patterns numbering into the thousands, most of them didn't match anything
very well. Most of them were named for the fly tier or some crazy name that didn't
identify what they were intended to imitate. Most of them imitated the adult species
(were dry flies), not the larva stage that represented most of the food that trout ate and
what was available to them most all the time. None of them imitated the larva stage of
life well, even though trout can see nymphs and larva better than any adult stage of life
floating on the surface of the water. In other words, flies were designed primarily for
anglers, not trout.
We had to obtain fishing license of different durations in about all the states that have
a population of trout each year. We had to obtain video permits from Yellowstone and
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We had to obtain permits from the National
Park for collecting and examining aquatic insects. We had problems doing that in the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I assume only because we were local. We
ended up having to get help from the main office in Washington to acquire it.
During the next six years or so, from about 2004 to 2010, we were getting very close to
having actual video of most all the most important species of aquatic insects and other
trout foods. We released several videos during that time period, in fact, most of our 19
existing programs on fly fishing. During that time frame, DNA was changing some of
what had been written about aquatic insects. They were determining some species of
what was thought to be different species, were in fact the same. They created a few
new names for species. Some of what was in our 100 plus books and years of fly
fishing magazines on fly fishing with aquatic insect information, was incorrect.
We found that of all the written information as well as that known by local anglers that
regularly fished the streams of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was quite short
of what was actually there in a few cases, large quantities.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, there is a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 2pm. It will
be partly sunny, with a high near 85. West wind will range from 5 to 10 mph. Tonight's
low will be around 67.
Saturday, there's a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. It will be partly
sunny, with a high near 84. Southwest wind will range from 5 to 10 mph.
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 144 cfs at 1.88 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 342 cfs at 1.58 ft.
(good wading up to 500 cfs and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 50.0 cfs at 2.29 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is flowing below a normal level.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
They are all flowing below normal levels.
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 Eastern BWOs
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 16/14
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
Slate Drakes: 10/12
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 7/31/17, in addition to
those on the above list.
Cream Cahills: 14/16
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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