Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 09/10/15
The breaking news is, it has rained and the streams are all running near normal
levels for this time of the year. There's more to come. Also, notice the high in
Gatlinburg on Saturday is predicted to be 72 and on Sunday, 66.
This is all very good news not only for fishing this weekend, but more so for the next
several days. It looks like we will get out of the very low water rut, at least for a while.
Yesterday, I was talking to a man on the phone ordering flies for a trip to Boise,
Idaho, to fish below Anderson Ranch dam on the Boise River. That is an excellent
tailwater with a lot of big trout. He was worried about the discharges being too high or
too low when he would be there fishing from his little pontoon drift boat. I kelp telling
him there's a lot of other water near Boise to fish, and if they were running too much
or little water at the dam he could always fish the freestone stream. After going over
that for about the third time, he asked me to give him the exact location of freestone
stream. I still didn't get what he meant and told him for one place, just above the lake
above Anderson Ranch dam. He then ask me for GPS coordinates of freestone
stream. It finally hit me, he though I meant a stream named "Freestone".
Being from Oklahoma, and never fishing for trout much other than the two tailwaters
in Oklahoma (Mt'n Fork and Illinois River) he didn't have a clue what a freestone
stream was. Of course, they are fed by freestone streams, but they are far too warm
to support trout. Well, in case any of you out there in Internet Land, don't know what
a freestone stream is, be advised all the streams in Great Smoky Mountains National
Park are freestone streams. Nature is in full control of freestone streams. Man can
take water from them, but not add to them, at least without a huge amount of effort
and expense. Unless it rains or snows, they dry up. If you don't believe they can dry
up, or at least almost dry up at times, talk to some anglers in California. Ask someone
who lives near the Truckee River in California or Nevada, if a river can almost dry up.
The Truckee is in severe trouble and has been for a couple of months or more. It
isn't by itself. There are many others that were for years, very good trout streams.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, as I normally do on Thursday, I am giving the forecast through this coming
weekend. Showers are likely this morning, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm
after 9am. The high will be near 78. The chance of precipitation is 80%.
Friday, there is a slight chance of showers with thunderstorms also possible after
3pm. It will be partly sunny with a high near 83. The chance of precipitation is 20%.
Friday night's chance is 50%.
Saturday, there is a chance of showers and thunderstorms before 9am, then
showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm between 9am and 3pm, then a chance of
showers after 3pm. It will be cloudy with a high near 72. The chance of precipitation is
Sunday, there's a 20 percent chance of showers before 3pm. Partly sunny, with a
high near 66.
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: 86 cfs at 1.41 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 163 cfs at 1.15 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 39 cfs at 2.22 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is flowing at a normal level.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
Hazel and other streams draining into Cherokee are most likely near normal.
Current Recommended Streams:
Most any of the streams above about the 2000 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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