Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 09/22/15
Today, is the last day of summer. With all the youngsters back in school and all the
football games that have been taking place, it's difficult for an old timer like me to
realize it is still summer. I started to school and played football in the fall. Yesterday, I
did notice some of the trees are getting a little color to them. I also noticed it was a lot
cooler and great to be outside for a while. I talked to several customers from the front
porch and out in the front yard as far as a portable phone would pick up signals. I
didn't want to go back upstairs to my office. It was just too nice outside. I had to be
very careful not to fall and break my neck walking around in the front yard. It is on a
steep decline in places, and it is covered solid with acorns. It's like walking on
I know all the above sounds silly to some of you, but we have been so busy with
orders for the past several months, spending a few minutes in the yard, even with
customers on the line, seems like a vacation. Recently, I have made a few very short
trips down to the Little Pigeon River in town to make a few cast.. When I do get back,
there's a list of calls to make and email to answer, and it puts me behind schedule.
I'm doing all I can to come up with some additional help before next spring. We need
help in all areas of our Perfect Fly business, such as web work, marketing and sells,
and fulfillment. We even got behind on our premium rod building. I have a blank guy,
rod wrapping lady, and an assembly and guide finishing guy, all in different locations.
I've added more fly tiers but it takes my main man a long time to get the necessary
training done, and all the bugs worked out. There are at least two to three thousand
reject flies in a huge box in one of our warehouses.
All the streams are still very low - very low. As I mentioned yesterday, the trout still
eat when the water is low. They do so a lot more under low light conditions. They stay
keenly aware of overhead predators, and I'm sure that includes the human ones. You
not only have to stay out of sight of the fish, you have to make presentations such
that they only see your fly, not your fly line, leader and tippet. If you cast a nymph out
using a strike indicator, and make a big mend, you may as well go home. You will
probably spook every trout within casting distance. You have to make in-the -air
mends to keep from disturbing the slower moving and shallower than normal water.
And, oh, I almost forgot. The more your fly looks and acts like the food the trout are
seeing 24 hours a day, the higher your odds of success.
Sure, you want to fish the water with broken surfaces - riffles, runs, etc., but when the
water is as low and slow moving as it is now, you're dealing with a much different
situation than you are when flows are normal.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, will be partly sunny with a high near 77.
Wednesday, there's a 20 percent chance of showers after 2pm. It will be mostly
sunny with a high near 80.
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: 34 cfs at 1.06 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 109 cfs at 0.94 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 21 cfs at 2.06 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is flowing low, well below a normal level.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
Hazel and other streams draining into Cherokee Lake are low, well below normal.
Current Recommended Streams:
Any of the middle to higher elevations. It is going to be in the high seventies today,
so except for early in the morning, I suggest you avoid the lowest elevations.
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:
Stay home and you want have to make up excuses or just outright lie.
Whatever Hits Me:
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Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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