Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 09/07/15
The good news is, the chances of rain have been increased by the weather sites and
it should be getting cooler. They are showing from 30 to 60 percent chances of rain
for the middle to the end of this week. The stream levels will most likely remain very
low for today and tomorrow. Hey now, I don't make the rules. I just play by them.
For those who don't fish the freestone streams of the park frequently, and some of
you that do and think you know everything, here's a quick rundown on the key
things to remember to do when you are fishing very low water levels in the
Smokies during the summer, meaning right now.
1. Fish early in the morning. This is something trout anglers just don't do as a
general rule and that's a big mistake. Fish the middle elevations early.
2. Fish very late in the day in the mid to high elevations. It won't be much cooler but
mayfly spinners will fall, and caddis and Little Yellow stoneflies will be depositing their
3. During the mid day, fish the highest elevations, say above 2500 feet.
4. Get off the roads, away where others fishing, or just playing and looking around
are scaring the trout.
5. Stay as low as possible. If you can't hide behind something like a boulder, stoop
down or get on your knees. Never get up on a rock or boulder to cast. Stay as low
relative to the water level as possible and move as slowly as possible. Sudden
movements will spook trout that see you even when their view of you is greatly
distorted. Trees and things they see in the background don't move suddenly.
6. Watch your shadow. It can spook trout just as well as their vision of you.
7. Dress as close as you can to the surroundings. Right now that is green, browns
and Grays. Don't wear anything shinny and flashy. Your white hair will spook trout. It
is your highest point above the water and like a warning light to the trout. I'm not
kidding. Wear a cap or hat. Right now a dark green or camouflage one would be the
8. Fish water with a broken surface, such as plunges, riffles and runs. The smoother
the surface, the better trout can see things outside the water. A broken surface
distorts their image of thing outside the water.
9. Wade slowly and don't scrub or disturb the bottom with your feet. If you move
rocks and gravel on the bottom, trout will hear you through their lateral line. Riffles
you make wading will spook the trout.
10. In general, the lower the water, the slower it moves. The slower it moves, the
better the trout can see objects in and on the surface of the water. They don't just
get a quick glimpse of the fly in slow moving water. That means slow moving water
gives them a better chance to see your fly, tippet, leader, fly line and you. Ideally,
they should not see anything but your fly. Your fly should look as close as possible to
the food they are seeing the most, at the time you are fishing. The more the fly
matches its appearance and behavior, the higher your odds of success become.
This was off the top of my head this early morning, so I'm sure I left some important
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, expect isolated showers and thunderstorms after noon. It will be mostly sunny
with a high near 84. The chance of precipitation is 20%.
Tuesday, expect a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. It
will be partly sunny with a high near 84.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data: Click
the links to see updates:
Little River: Rate: 42 cfs at 1.16 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 135 cfs at 1.05 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 27 cfs at 2.12 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is flowing low. Fish it only in the highest elevations
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
Hazel and other streams draining into Cherokee are flowing low and should be fished
only in the high elevations.
Current Recommended Streams:
Most any of the streams above about the 2500 foot elevation.
Recommended Trout Flies:
Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
Blue-winged olives: 18/20 and 14
(Little BWOs, Acentrella, Diphetor 20/18's and Eastern BWOs, Drunella 14s
Slate Drakes: 10/12
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 14/16
Little Yellow Quills: 16
Needle Stoneflies: 16/18
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 a Cream Cahill or
Little Yellow Quill. Change to the appropriate emerger, dun or adult imitations of the
When the Slate Drakes, Mahogany Duns, and BWOs 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 stoneflies are hatching, but of course, these hatches take place during
the evenings. All stoneflies crawl out of the water to hatch. Fishing a 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.
Tips for Beginners:
Don't let anyone intimidate you by contending that fly fishing is more difficult to learn
and master than other types of fishing. It isn't.
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
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