Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 06/04/15
I do not like to have to keep on mentioning that all three prongs of Little River are low
and much lower than most all the streams in the park except Abrams Creek, which is
also very low. I wish that would change. Little River is by far the best option on the
Tennessee side of the park for brown trout, and almost the only option. Abrams
Creek is the best rainbow trout stream in the park, period. However, unless you just
want the extra challenge of catching trout in very low water, which increases the
difficulty quite a bit versus normal water levels, I would avoid fishing the Little River
and Abrams Creek watersheds.
I write this report for one reason. I enjoy doing it. I enjoy helping people fish my home
waters. I'm sure this doesn't always fit well with fly shops and lately, it seems most the
not so good news is always on the Tennessee side of the park. For some reason, the
eastern end of the Tennessee side has been in better shape than the western end
where the Little River prongs exist.
There have been times when it was just the opposite and most likely, those shops on
the North Carolina side of the park didn't like what I wrote. I'm sorry, but I won't alter
what the conditions are, or my advise as how to handle the conditions based on how
it affect anyone's business. That would be doing anglers wrong and I won't do that in
spite of how it affects anyone, including myself.
Local fly shops are becoming a thing of the past nationwide, and is why I chose to do
things differently. Except for waders and boots, we sell everything at Perfect Fly you
need for fly fishing and soon, we will be doing that as well. Within the next few
months, I hope we will be manufacturing most everything we sell. We do that now, for
the majority of the items we sell. This isn't something new. Orvis and Bass Pro have
been doing it for years. It hasn't worked out so well for Orvis wanting it both ways, but
it certainly has for Johney Morris. Not only has he done well for himself, I think he has
done more for the sport of fishing than anyone and well deserves everything he has
Right now, most all the streams on the North Carolina side of the park are near
normal levels. They would be the best choice provided they otherwise meet your
needs and desires. From the looks of the forecast, all of the streams will likely be
getting back into low water conditions within the next few days. The chances of rain
are even lower than they have been. On the other hand, those chances don't seem
to pan out very well. It is raining heavy downpours in many isolated areas and that
could well change the level of any stream in a very short time.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, there is a slight chance of showers, then scattered showers and
thunderstorms after 11am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 79. The chance
of precipitation is 40%.
Friday, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. It will
be partly sunny with a high near 80.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data: Click
to links to see updates:
Little River: Rate: 82 cfs at 1.39 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 387 cfs at 1.70 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 63 cfs at 2.37 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby but as of yesterday afternoon, it
was near a normal level.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
My guess, based on the precipitation map, is they are up near a normal level.
Current Recommended Streams: Any of the streams but you may want to
avoid fishing Little River. It is very low.
Recommended Trout Flies:
Hook Size 20/18
American March Browns:
Hook Size: 10/12
Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
Cinnamon Caddis: (mostly Abrams but a few in all of the streams) 16/18
Green Caddis: 14/16
larva (green rock worms)
Giant Black Stoneflies: 4/6
Eastern Pale Evening Duns: 14 (called sulphurs by some)
Slate Drakes: 10/12
Golden Stoneflies: 10/12
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 16/14
Light Cahills: 16
Inch Worms: Hook size : 10/12/14
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.
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 a size 18 Blue-winged Olive Nymph. They are little
swimming nymphs that are easily caught and eaten by trout and are still hatching. If
you spot something else hatching (coming off the water) that is relatively small, it will
most likely be Light Cahills. It it is relatively large, it will probably be an Eastern Pale
Evening Dun or American March Brown. Change to the appropriate emerger, dun or
adult imitations of the insect. Slate Drakes are starting to hatch but remember, they
hatch out of the water. Only the spinners get on the water unless it is purely
When March Browns, Slate Drakes, Light Cahills or Eastern Pale Evening Duns are
hatching, there will be a spinner fall late in the day. Often, you can catch more trout
fishing the spinner fall quicker than you can during the hatch. Change to the spinner
imitation of the mayfly.
Giant Black Stoneflies, Golden Stoneflies and Little Yellow stoneflies are hatching,
but of course, this takes place during the evenings. Fishing a Giant Black Stonefly
nymph, Golden Stonefly nymph or Little Yellow Stonefly nymph very late in the
afternoon near sunset should produce. If you see the stoneflies depositing their eggs
on the surface of the water, switch to the adult imitation of the stonefly.
Eastern Pale Evening Duns, often called Sulphurs but not true Sulphurs are still
hatching in some areas. True Sulphurs are beginning to hatch. These are not any
and everywhere, but some of the larger pools.
As mentioned above, Light Cahills are hatching. Look for them in the faster water
areas. They will get caught up in the fast water runs and riffles.
Tips for Beginners:
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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