Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 08/28/15
The stream levels look a little strange this morning. All three of the USGS stations in
or near the park boundary are showing the same rates of flows, and levels in two of
three cases, as they were yesterday morning at this time. I don't really see any rise in
the flows or levels on the graph and to the best of my knowledge, it hasn't rained
anywhere in the park since yesterday morning. Maybe someone did it just to confuse
me. That is easy to do. It really makes no difference at all with respect to fishing
today. It just aroused my curiosity. The very second I typed the word "curiosity", I
though of something the word reminded me of that I haven't thought about in a long
Several years ago, someone, seems like it was Bill Dance or Roland Martin, but it
could of been someone else, was always saying or writing that bass would bite a lure
for one of three reasons - being hungry, protecting their territory or bed during the
spawn, or from curiosity. I never have been able to prove the curiosity reason but
some things sure makes me think fish are curious animals. Dogs and cats seem to be
very curious animals.
Cobia, called "Ling" in the Redneck Riviera (that is the northern Gulf Coast of Florida
and Alabama, in case you didn't know) sure seem to be curious fish. They will often
just suddenly stop biting the normal jigs, live ells and other baits you use around the
oil rigs to catch them. The trick to get them turned on biting again is to put on a live
bait, such as a pinfish, for example, and drop down under the Cobia to hook an
Amberjack that are always hanging around the legs of the rig. The Cobia will
suddenly appear and follow along with the amberjack as you fight it up from deep
water to the surface. They will be right there on the surface close to the amberjack
until you gaff the AJ. This isn't a rare thing. This is almost always a sure bet. It
appears they are just curious about what is going on. They just follow along and
My friend Frank Johnson, taught me something years ago that indicates fish are
curious. When you are trolling for big game species such as tuna, dolphin, wahoo,
sailfish and marlin, it is common to pull a tandem rig, whereas you have a large lure,
such as one of Frank's famous "Softhead" lures about 16 inches long, following or
trailing a few feet on the same line behind a much smaller size lure that imitates a
smaller baitfish. The theory is that it appears the large fish (large lure) is going to eat
the smaller one (imitating a small baitfish) that you are trolling a few feet ahead of it.
This is a common trolling rig for offshore anglers. Most every time, the large predator
game fish, especially the blue marlin and often sailfish, will eat the small lure that
imitates the small baitfish, even though the large lure is thought to be a more
appropriate size fish it would normally be eat. I used that arrangement successfully
for several years after he showed me that and ninety percent of the time, the large
predator fish (except Yellowfin tuna) would take the small lure. In other words, a 200
to 400 pound marlin would take the 4 inch long lure over the 12 long lure you would
think it would prefer.
Frank's theory for that, and also my own belief, is they do that to take the small fish
away from the larger fish. In other words, they see a sixteen inch long fish following
and about to eat a 4 inch baitfish, and they take it away from it. Frank got the idea
from watching house cats take objects that imitate small animals like a mouse away
from kittens. In other words, he thinks they do it playing with, maybe aggravating the
smaller fish, or maybe just showing who is the boss. I'm sure you have probably
witnessed other animals behave similarly. That isn't curiosity but indicates fish may
possibly be playful, or maybe they want to demonstrate their superiority. After all,
they are animals with small brains. Oh well, it looks like I let my small brain wonder off
subject this morning.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, will be mostly sunny with a high near 83. South wind will be around 5 mph
becoming calm in the afternoon. Tonight's low will be around 64.
Saturday, there's a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. It
will be partly sunny with a high near 84. South wind will be around 5 mph becoming
calm in the morning.
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: 47 cfs at 1.19 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 146 cfs at 1.09 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 26 cfs at 2.11 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is a low, but not to low to fish.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
According to customers, Hazel is low again, but still okay to fish.
Current Recommended Streams:
Any of the streams above about the 2000 foot elevation. I think you should avoid the
Little River watershed. It is very low.
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
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 14
Little Green Stoneflies: 16
Light Cahills: 14/16
Cream Cahills: 14/16
Mahogany Duns: 18
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 the Slate Drake nymph. They are big swimming
nymphs that are easily caught and eaten by trout and are still hatching. If you spot
something else hatching (coming off the water), it will most likely be Light or Cream
Cahills. Change to the appropriate emerger, dun or adult imitations of the insect.
When the Slate Drakes, Light or Cream Cahills 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.
Little Yellow and Little Green 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 Little Green 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.
Cream Cahills are hatching. Look for them in the faster water areas. They will get
caught up in the fast water runs and riffles. Mahogany Duns should start hatching
Tips for Beginners:
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
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