Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 07/19/17
The weather is hot and the streams are low. That's when Great Smoky Mountains
National Park stands out as having some of the best wild and native trout, freestone
streams in the Eastern United States. All you have to do is go up the mountains and
fish the higher elevations. The water is cool and the trout willing to play.
There's no rain in sight for the park for the next couple of days. Maybe by the
weekend, we will get some more showers. For now, all you have to do to catch plenty of
trout is to go near the tops of the mountains, stay hidden from the trout, and toss them
a Perfect fly. Be careful, you will run out of film - oh, I mean battery power for your
Fish'n Tales: (New Series - See the Menu of articles on your right: We plan on
replacing these every two to four 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 2
Part One of "The Next Six Years of the Learning Curve", mentioned that we had moved
to Gatlinburg. Not only did that put us at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it also
put us much closer to most any trout stream in the United States. We spent much of
our time during this six year period fishing in the Smokies and Yellowstone National
Park. We wanted to produce instructional videos on both national parks that including
fishing during all applicable seasons (Yellowstone isn't year-round like the Smokies),
and on all the streams in the parks. During that period of time, we made hundreds of
trips in the Smokies, which we could almost hit with a rock from our back door, and 16
trips to Yellowstone National Park that lasted from two to three weeks, to as long as two
months a trip.
Some of the time at Yellowstone, included trips to nearby rivers outside of the park -
the Madison, Yellowstone, Gallatin, Snake, Henry's fork of the Snake, Ruby and other
streams we could easily reach from one of the three places we stayed to fish
Yellowstone park - West Yellowstone, Gardiner, and Cook City, all in Montana.
There were many other trips made from our home in Tennessee, to various parts of
the nation that have trout streams. We revisited each major section of the country each
year fishing new streams and repeating fishing many of the better ones. During the
winter, we continued to fish the streams in the Southeast, and at times, the Southwest,
but we also made several trips to central and south Florida, including at least one trip a
year to the Keys. There, we fly fished for several fresh water species - largemouth
bass, bream, and peacock bass, as well as numerous saltwater species - tarpon,
snook, king and Spanish mackerel, bonefish, permit, sailfish, dolphin, wahoo, shark,
baracuda, bonita, tuna and other species. We made a few other coastal saltwater trips
to South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
On each and every fishing trip for trout, Angie and I collected insects from streams to
photo and video. We had special video permits from both National Parks, and special
permits to capture, video/photo insects. By the way, they are not free.
I could write one or more books on just the insects, but to summarize what we were
finding out, let me just say that almost everywhere we visited, we found out there were
local flies favored in the area, but when it came down to trying to determine the food
they were designed to imitate, no one seemed to know. When we asked fly shops and
local anglers what such and such, local fly imitated, the answer was maybe at best, a
mayfly, stonefly or caddisfly. In most cases, no one really knew. Most of them were
named after people, or the tier that came up with them. What we were finding out, was
that the insects and other foods the flies should be imitating, were much the same as
anywhere else in the same region and type of water. In other words, for example, a
baetis tricaudatus mayfly, commonly called a blue-winged olive, was the exact same
insect regardless as to whether it was found in Virginia or Idaho. Although there were
some differences in the aquatic insects in the western U.S., and the eastern U.S.,
many, if not the majority of them, were exactly the same nationwide.
We found out that the emphasis of most anglers and fly shops was on the flies
themselves, not the foods they should be imitating. It seemed that no one told them,
that trout ate real insects, not artificial trout flies. At the same time, we discovered that
all the recommendations for flies from anglers and fly shops, were based on trial and
error, or what Joe Blow caught some trout on recently. It was rarely the food that was
most plentiful and available for the trout to eat at the time. I had known for years,
regardless of the species of fish you pursued, they would always focus on eating the
most plentiful and available food. Although they are opportunistic feeders, it didn't take
very long for us to determine that was also true of trout..
I'm sure this won't go over very well with many, but what we discovered nationwide, was
that the trout fly business was a joke and a damn big mess, and in most cases, with the
blind leading the blind. .
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, will be sunny with a high near 88. Wind will be from the northwest around 5 mph
in the afternoon. Tonight's low will be around 67.
Thursday, will be sunny with a high near 89. Wind will be from the northwest around 5
mph. Thursday night's low will be around 65.
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 78 cfs at 1.59 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 313 cfs at 1.52 ft.
(good wading up to 500 cfs and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 68 cfs at 2.40 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is flowing low.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
They are all flowing a little low.
Recommended Trout Flies:
In addition to the two list below, you can always send us an email
(email@example.com) 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
Cream Cahills: 14/16
Cinnamon Caddis: 16/18 (mostly Abrams Creek)
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 8/15/17, in addition to
those on the above list.
Mahogany Dun: 18
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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