Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 06/18/15
The Cherokee Nation must have the rain dance thing down pat. It seems they are the
only ones that can come up with any rain lately. They got enough that the
Oconaluftee River is up from yesterday and it was in fairly good shape before
yesterday. It is a little low but nothing like most of the other streams in the park. I
think from looking at the precip map (link below), Straight Fork probably did well but
Cataloochee Valley didn't get any rain. It is still in decent shape though. The rain
avoided Hazel Creek and the streams flowing into Cherokee Lake though.
I, James Marsh, am predicting this Smoky Mountain drought is coming to an end. It is
going to rain a decent amount on Friday and Saturday. I write that because the
experts say that there is a 40% to 60% chance of it. I'm increasing it to a 100%. I
don't know why they don't do the same thing. They know its going to rain and since
they work for the Federal Government, they know they won't loose their jobs for
anything short of killing a politician. If it is a republican politician, that probably won't even count.
On the Tennessee side, it appears that the Little Pigeon and Greenbrier (Middle
Prong Little Pigeon) got wet with about a tenth of an inch. Little River got some spilt
beer from the tubers but that's it. I'm sure they are mad because their tubes won't
float over twenty yards an hour.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Well, it's Thursday, again and the day I try to let anyone planning on traveling very
far to fish the Smokies, what to expect. I'm sure some of them want to shoot me when
I miss it. I base it mostly on the weather forecast. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to
it. Today, there's a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. It
will be partly sunny and hot, with a high near 90.
Friday, there's a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny,
with a high near 88. South wind around 5 mph becoming west in the afternoon.
Saturday, there's a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after
noon. It will be partly sunny, with a high near 88. Light southwest wind will come from
the west 10 to 15 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.
Sunday, there's a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny,
with a high near 88.
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: 55 cfs at 1.24 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 241 cfs at 1.38 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 46 cfs at 2.26 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: Yesterday afternoon it was low but not too low to fish.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
I didn't get any reports from the streams yesterday, but from looking at the
precipitation map, I would assume they are low, but in decent shape.
Current Recommended Streams:
I think you should select a section of water above the 2500 elevation range today. It
is going to be hot. If you don't, at least fish only early or late in the day. Some of the
streams on the North Carolina side of the park received a little rain yesterday, or
enough to keep the levels up.. As mentioned above, the Oconaluftee River received
Little River got zero rain, which is usual for it, and it is very low for the hot
temperatures expected today. The only part I would consider fishing would be the
East Prong a few miles above Elkmont. The West and Middle prongs and their
tributaries, including Lynn Camp Prong, are all two low in elevation for the current
The upper Middle Prong of Little Pigeon above Porters Creek, and the West Prong of
Little Pigeon River above the Chimneys Picnic area, would be good choices. This
includes Walkers Camp Prong and Road Prong.
On the N.C. side, you have more choices due to the fact it has received a little more
rain and the streams are in better shape. I think anywhere above 2000 feet in
elevation would be okay. Upper Oconaluftee River, upper Straight Fork, or middle to
Hazel, Forney, Noland, Deep Creek, and Big Creek. The Raven Fork would be a very
good choice if your legs are strong enough. My first choice would be Cataloochee
Recommended Trout Flies:
Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
Cinnamon Caddis: (mostly Abrams but a few in all of the streams) 16/18
Green Sedges (Caddis): 14/16
larva (green rock worms)
Slate Drakes: 10/12
Golden Stoneflies: 10/12
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 16/14
Light Cahills: 16
Inch Worms: Hook size : 10/12/14
Green/Tan/Orange Hoppers: 10/12
Black Carpenter Ants: 16/18
Japanese Beetles: 16/14
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 Slate Drake nymph. They are big swimming nymphs
that are easily caught and eaten by trout and are hatching. If you spot something
else hatching (coming off the water), it will most likely be Light Cahills or Sulphurs.
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 accidental.
When the Slate Drakes, Light Cahills or Sulphurs 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.
Golden Stoneflies and Little Yellow stoneflies are hatching, but of course, these
hatches take place during the evenings. Both species of stoneflies crawl out of the
water to hatch. Fishing a 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
As mentioned above, Light Cahills and in some isolated area, Sulphurs,are hatching.
Look for the Light Cahills in the faster water areas. They will get caught up in the fast
water runs and riffles. Look for the Sulphurs in the slower water of the larger pools.
Tips for Beginners:
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
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