Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 10/01/15
The brook trout are in the full spawning mode. Of course, the reason they are and
the brown trout aren't, is the fact the great majority of them are at a much higher
elevations where the weather, and of course, being freestone streams, the water too
is colder than it is in the lower, and lower middle elevations where the majority of the
brown trout live. They really spawn at near the same water temperature but the great
majority of the browns don't actually spawn (females deposit their eggs) until the first
of November. Of course, the exact time varies with the average water temperature
which varies with exact elevation, amount of direct sunlight and other variables.  

We have a unique trout fishing situation as compared to many areas of the nation
and it is not easy to grasp at first thought by many that either don't live where trout
exist, or live in the northern states where there is less variation in elevation. By that I
mean almost everything has to do with the elevation. The trout's habitat ranges from
about 1600 to over 5, 000 feet. Put that in terms of regular day to day living from a
weather standpoint, and you will find it varies from like living in the south to living in
the state of Maine. When I write a fishing report, I try to point out the difference in the
trout at the various elevations, but I don't always make it clear enough. For example,
when you look at the recommended fly list below, you see insects ranging at all of
those elevations. None of them exist in the same stream at the same place. None of
them exist in all of the streams. The insect population is not huge in terms of
numbers per given area of stream, but the population is as diverse as it is anywhere
in the nation, and usually a lot more diverse.

The first time I can remember making note of the difference in the elevations of the
Smokies, years ago, it dawned on me that I was born and raised in Alabama at the
highest point in the Marshall County which is about the same elevation as it is in
Townsend, Tennessee. A trout wouldn't live in a stream in Arab over a few minutes
during the summer, and neither will they live in Little River in Townsend over a few
minutes in the summer. Everything has to do with the elevation.

I am pointing this out, because I get a lot of comments from customers visiting the
area fishing the Smokies that instantly lets me know they do not understand that at
all. It isn't just anglers from the southern states. It comes from anglers from the
northern states as well. If I had the time, I guess it would be much better to write three
fishing reports a day for the park. One for the mid elevation, one for the lower and
one for the higher; but then, there's another problem with it. What is true for the
brook trout, isn't necessarily true for the rainbows, and isn't usually true at all for the
browns. Dang, isn't it awful that I have to live such a complicated life.

Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)  
Today, you can expect showers, mainly after 2pm. The high will be near 66. North
wind will range from 5 to 10 mph. The chance of precipitation is 80%.

Friday, expect more showers. The high will be near 65. The chance of precipitation is

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: 164 cfs at 1.70 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs

Oconaluftee River: Rate 572 cfs at 2.01 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 83 cfs at 2.49 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)

Little Pigeon River: It remained a little low as of yesterday, afternoon. .

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
My guess is that it is near normal or maybe a little low but okay to fish. I don't have
any current reports.

Current Recommended Streams:
Any of the streams in the park.

Recommended Trout Flies:

Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6

Blue-winged olives: 20 and 14
(Little BWOs,
Acentrella, Diphetor 20s 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

Great Autumn Brown Sedges: 10

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.

The big fall caddis, Great Autumn Brown sedges, hatch very late in the afternoon
and mostly early evenings. The egg laying occurs anywhere from mid afternoon until

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:
Thank you for visiting our website

James Marsh
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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