Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 01/23/14
I cannot believe the traffic in Pigeon Forge that I ran into yesterday trying to go to
Walmart to buy some ink for our printers. I forgot to do that online and the girls ran
out printing fly orders. We are selling flies every day, nation-wide, in spite of the
drought in the west coast area and the deep freeze anywhere north of Miami which,
by the way, hit 37 degrees night before last.
The Miami low temperature reminded me of one of my friends and bass fishing
legend, the late Tom Mann. One of his favorite stories about cold weather happened
several years ago when Henry, his helper on his cattle farm came in late for work one
morning. Tom asked him why he was late (which never happened) and Henry replied,
"it is cold, Mr. Tom". He said, "did you hear the bad news about Florida?". Tom said
"no, what happened". Henry said, "they lost all their oranges and half of their
vegetables and they said it was going to cost the state of Florida over a hundred
I have no idea what is going on in Pigeon Forge, but it is still crowded. I knew
Monday's traffic was due to the holiday, but I was surprised to see all the visitors
here for the past two days. I should have taken the by-pass and not the main strip. I
don't think they came for the weather conditions we are experiencing but on second
though, they probably did. The mountains were completely white from the bottom to
the top and they are absolutely beautiful.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
We have a slight chance of snow again today and another chance for some snow
and or rain on Saturday. The high today in Gatlinburg should reach 25 and the low
tonight around 6 degrees and that is with winds gusting to 20 mph. Tomorrow's high
will only be 27, so the snow you see in the mountains isn't going anywhere.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 291 cfs at 2.09 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 551 cfs at 1.93 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: 162 cfs at 2.84 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 cfs, and with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but it is back near normal level.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
is they are about normal levels.
Current Recommended Streams
I recommend Abrams Creek. The water will be slightly warmer. I left the "you may try
the lower elevations stream on this part of the report yesterday, but didn't mean to.
Abrams is my only suggestion for fishing the park with the low temps we are having.
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 18
nymphs (this would be the main fly)
2. Midges: Cream
Hook Size 20/22
3. Sculpins: Especially good in off color, high water & early/late in the day
Hook Size 6
White Belly Sculpin
4. Winter Stoneflies: 18/16
Recommended Fishing Strategy:
Fish the size 20 BWO nymph. If you fish Abrams, fish just downstream from the
Abrams Fall trailhead. The farther you travel downstream, the lower the water
temperature will be.
You can fish the upper spring creek section above the little walk bridge but you
better stay well hidden. It is best to stay back away from the banks and stay in a
keeled down position. You might try hiding behind some of the big trees if they are in
the right position for you to hide. Usually, the trout run off and hide before you can
get into position to see them. It isn't easy fishing, but it is fun and you can catch them
if you work hard at it. Fish it from the Abrams Fall trailhead bridge upstream as far as
a few hundred yards above the bridge at the loop road.
Tips for Beginners:
Stay home and watch our four-hour long "Fly Fishing Great Smoky Mountains
National Park" DVD. We have been selling a very high number of these instructional
programs for the last two months.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Upper Abrams, the spring creek section above the bridge, will test your skills. Give it
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
More Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing the park and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions.
Please allow up to 24 hours for a
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
will help you decide which flies you
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
them to you in time for your trip.
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orders of any size. Orders over $50
are shipped free via Priority Mail.
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