Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report - 05/31/14
What a week. We have been very, very busy. Actually that's a gross understatement.
We have somehow managed to stay on top of everything except for me taking the
time to keep this up to date.
Smoky Mountain Weather:
The National Weather Service is showing a 20 to 40 percent chance of rain each day
for Gatlinburg for the next ten days. I guess you could say there is a 60 to 80 percent
chance each day for the next ten days that it won't rain.
Today, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. It will be mostly
sunny with a high near 82. Tonight, there is a chance of isolated showers and
thunderstorms with a low around 64.
There is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms on Sunday with a high
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data:
Little River: Rate 98 cfs at 1.54 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 322 cfs at 1.61 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 79 cfs at 2.46 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby and I haven't seen it this morning
yet, but its low.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Cherokee Lake: My guess
is they are all getting low.
Current Recommended Streams
If you don't like low water levels, you should avoid fishing Little River. It is quite low.
Personally, from a fishing standpoint I like it low, but from a reality standpoint, I hope
it rains because the water is needed. The North Carolina side of the park appears to
be in better shape but that side of the park is also beginning to get a little too low.
I would also avoid the lowest elevations. It isn't that you can't catch trout down low. It
certainly isn't too warm yet, but simply because you will have higher odds of success
in the middle elevations. There are more hatches taking place in the middle
elevations than the low at this particular time. The higher elevations are now in great
condition for catching lots of brookies and you may prefer to do that.
Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 16/20
2. Sculpins: Especially good in off color, high water & early/late in the day
Hook Size 4/6
Black Matuka Sculpin
Olive Matuka Sculpin
3. Light Cahills:
Hook Size 16/14
4. American March Browns: 10/12
5. Giant Black StoneflIies: 4/6
6. Green Sedge (Caddisfly):
Hook Size 14/16
larvae (Green Rock Worms)
7. Little Yellow Stoneflies:
Hook Size 14/16
8. Golden Stoneflies:
Hook Size 10/12
Miscellaneous Hatches Occurring in the Smokies:
Cinnamon Caddis and Little Sister caddis:
I should mention that you may find some Cinnamon Caddis, sizes 18 and 16, about
the middle of the month of May, along with their Little Sister Caddis, size 18. These
are usually found in the slower sections of the larger streams but only in very small
quantities and only in isolated locations within the stream. Abrams Creek has plenty
of both of these caddisflies and if you fish Abrams I suggest you have imitations of
The Eastern Pale Evening Duns have begin to hatch. These mayflies are called
"Sulphurs" by local southern anglers but are not true Sulphurs. They are a size 14
and slightly larger than the true sulphurs and very common in nearby tailwaters such
as the Clinch and South Holston. The true Sulphurs will start to hatch about the first
of the month in the Smokies and at times you may find both species. The Eastern
Pale Evening Duns have more of a tan colored body and hatch in faster water than
the true Sulphurs. The true Sulphurs have more of a sulphur colored body, are
slightly smaller, and hatch in slower water but often very near fast water runs and
riffles. Neither of these mayflies are plentiful in the Smokies. They are crawler
nymphs and found mostly in pockets and pools with areas of softer bottom. They can
be plentiful but only in very small, isolated sections of the larger streams.
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.
Until I spotted something hatching, I would fish the BWO nymph. Right now you have
two completely different size BWOs hatching, one a size 20 and another closer to a
size 16. The only time I would change from the nymphs just mentioned is when and if
I saw something hatching, and then I would go to the appropriate emerger or
dun/adult imitation of that insect.
American March Browns are hatching but they are always sporadic hatches that are
difficult to predict in terms of the time of day. They will hatch off and on over a long
period of time, for the next couple of months. If you see any duns emerging, change
to an American March Brown emerger or dun. That also means there will be a
spinner fall late in the day near dark and that always concentrates them. You can
catch several trout very fast if you catch that right.
Giant Black stoneflies are also likely to hatch but the hatch occurs near or after dark.
Fishing the Giant Black stonefly nymph near the banks very late in the day should be
very effective. If you see any Giant Black stoneflies laying eggs, switch to the adult
Little Yellow Stoneflies are hatching. If you see any adults during the day, it is a good
idea to fish an imitation of the nymph late in the day and near the banks of the
stream. They crawl out and hatch during the darkness of the night. You may also
spot some of the females laying eggs. This usually occurs late afternoons and if so,
be certain to fish an imitation of the adult.
Golden Stoneflies should begin to hatch anytime now, if not already. Like all
stoneflies, they crawl out of the water mostly at night. Fishing an imitations of the
nymph late in the day is a good idea, provided you know they are hatching in a given
area. Fish the adult when you see them laying eggs late in the afternoon.
Green Sedges should start to hatch in the lower elevation first, and then progress
upstream as the days go by. The do not hatch in big numbers but where they hatch,
trout will focus on eating them because they hatch at a time of day that is different
from other hatching insects at this time of the year. It usually occurs later in the day
near the same time the previously hatched adults are depositing their eggs. You
should concentrate far more on fishing the Green Rock Worm or larva stage of life of
the Green Sedge.
Light Cahills have started hatching and will continue for the next few weeks. This is a
good mayfly hatch for the Smokies and if you encounter any, you want to make sure
you fish it. If you encounter one today, you should fish the Light Cahill nymph in the
morning and for the next few days in the same area. This hatch tends to move
upstream a few days at a time. If you see the duns, you can expect the spinners to
fall late in the afternoon. They are very difficult to see and you probably won't see
them. Just fish the Light Cahill spinner pattern at the ends of the runs and riffles
where they will congregate. If a hatch has occurred, they will be there for certain but
sometimes it is quite late near dark.
Tips for Beginners:
In a nut shell, the key is to stay low, slow and hidden.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
No one really believes your excuses, so why bother
Whatever Hits Me:
Thanks for visiting
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Please enter your e-mail address in
the box to sign up for a free
subscription to the Perfect Fly "Fishing
Journal". It includes feature articles on
blue-ribbon destinations , fly fishing
techniques, and many other types of
articles of interest to any fly angler. You
can opt out at any time. If you decide
you don't want to receive our
information, just change your status by
clicking at the bottom of an e-mail we
send you in the "Remove" box. We will
not sell or give your e-mail address to
New! If you haven't signed up
previously, please sign up for
our Free Perfect Fly Fishing
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
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 response.
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Call or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select them
and get them to you in time for your trip.
Shipping is free in the U. S. for all orders of
any size. Orders over $50 are shipped free via