Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 05/28/17
It sure seems like there was a lot of rain in the Pigeon Forge, area last night. It woke
me up near midnight
, and we kelp losing power. I noticed the Little River gauge is
headed up
, and although it isn't that high at 5:40 AM this morning, It will probably
continue to rise some more.
It and all of the other major streams in the park are too
high to wade safely today. I'm not certain as to what the conditions of the small streams
in the higher elevations will b
e. There is more rain forecast for today.

If you choose to fish today, you can fish streamers from the banks. Late this afternoon,
you might be able to catch some trout eating the egg laying Little Yellow stoneflies. You
will have to pick and choose area open enough to cast from, but it can be done. They
are easy to see, even in low light conditions, and that lets you know you're not waisting
your time. There are a few other techniques that can be used to keep from waisting the

Fish'n Tales: (New Series - we plan on replacing every two or three days)
The Key To Success Is In The Details
Early this morning, I turned on the news and heard someone talking about the budget
that Congress is working on say, "the devil is in the details". A little later, when I sat
down to write another Fish'n Tale, I remembered that, and started to name this "The
Devil Is In The Details". Later I decided that there's no "devil" in failing to catch fish;
rather that success always depends on details.

The first example of that came from my father taking me fishing for Sauger below
Guntersville, Dam, near my hometown in Arab, Alabama. I'm guessing I was around 12
or 14, but for sure not old enough to drive. The first few times I went with him, he
caught ten times the number of fish that I did. I may have not caught any for a time or
two. I just remember getting frustrated with it. It wasn't casting the 1950 version of a
bait casting reel without backlash. I could do that well. I had fished the lake and farm
ponds since I was a small kid. He would go downstream from the dam about a half mile,
on a bank of rip rap, cast up and across a long way, feed out more line to get the small
minnow down to the bottom in water I'm guessing was 10 to 20 feet deep. He would let
the big lead slip weight above it, bounce along the bottom until he felt a sauger hit it,
then set the hook and land it. By the way, locals call them "Jack Salmon".

I just couldn't get it right, even with the same rig. It had to be a certain distance out, to
come down a ledge. There had to be current, meaning they had to be running water
fairly strong, or the fish wouldn't be there  It sounds simple enough, but getting the bait
in just the right spot wasn't easy. It took me a few trips to get the presentation down
just right. We later changed to using big Shyster in-line spinners with a slip sinker
about a foot up the line above a swivel. For the next few years, after I was old enough
to drive, I would take my friends there, do the same thing, catch 20 or 30 sauger to
their none, or at the most one or two.

Later, while still in high school, I would fish the big Browns Creek arm of Guntersville
lake, in a small aluminum boat, in the month of March, and drift back and forth across
the lake. It is about a half to a mile wide and open water. We had good days and bad
days  One day I figured out all of our fish were coming from the same general areas..
There was no sonar, and no loran or GPS, of course. I studied a Field and Stream
article about triangularization, learned to make marker buoys, and lined up the spots
we caught fish with three objects on the banks - power lines, trees, building, etc. They
were usually a half mile or more away .There was no milfold in the lake at that time. It
was stumps along old creek beds that were holding the Crappie. I found that out years

While everyone else doing the same thing (sometimes there would be dozens of boats
drifting the lake for crappie), catch none to a few, I would catch 20 to 50 or more a trip.
How I did it was simple. I only fished spots were crappie were holding and eliminated all
the unproductive water. I can name hundreds of similar examples I learned later over
the years where precise presentation was the key. This could go on and on.

Let me put it like this. Lets say I caught twenty trout yesterday, and tell you to go fish
Little River near Metcalf Bottoms, and fish from the little bridge upstream this morning
using the same fly. Let assume conditions were the same, and you did just that but you
failed to catch but a few. Part of the reason  could be that normally, the feeding trout,
are only going to be in about 10 to 25 percent of the water measured in terms of
surface area. If you fish upstream, and fish most all of the water that looks good, say
casting to half of the surface area, you may be waisting forty out of every fifty minutes
or at least one out of every two minutes.
When I find feeding fish in certain types
of water and depths, I only cast to that particular type of water and depth.
is called establishing a pattern.

Now, keep in mind that is only one of several details that can make the difference,
because the :"Key to success is always in the details". If you are Black Snapper fishing
35 miles offshore Panama City, Florida, and miss the natural reef dropoff ten feet, you
can turn around and go home. If you cast over, or left or right of a feeding rainbow on
the Henry's Fork river, and miss the fish left or right by a foot, you can hope you get
another chance. I could go on and on and I'm only writing about attention to exact
presentation details. There are many other important details that are probably  
involved. Study what it is you are doing. Catching fish isn't just luck, it is knowing what
you are doing.

Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)  
Today, there is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 4pm. It will
be mostly cloudy, with a high near 81. West wind will be from 5 to 10 mph. New rainfall
amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in
thunderstorms. Sunday night, expect more showers and thunderstorms, mainly after
midnight. It will be mostly cloudy, with a low around 65. Southwest wind will range from 5
to 10 mph. The chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter
and half of an inch possible.

Memorial Day, there is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. It will be
partly sunny, with a high near 78. West wind will range from 5 to 10 mph.

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 507 cfs at 2.69 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs

Oconaluftee River: Rate 835 cfs at 2.34 ft.
(good wading up to 500 cfs and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 218 cfs at 3.00 ft  
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)

Little Pigeon River: It is flowing way above a normal level.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
They are all flowing way above a normal level.

Recommended Trout Flies:
In addition to the two list below, you can always send us an email
( or call us at 800 594 4726 providing the specific times
you plan on fishing the park, and we will provide a list of flies and other associated
gear and equipment you need.

Trout Flies Currently Needed:
Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6

Black and/or Olive Matuka Sculpin:
Size 4, 6, 8

Blue-winged olives: 16, and 18 baetis BWOs,

Little Yellow Stoneflies: 16/14

American March Browns: 10/12

Short Horned Sedges: 20

Green Sedges: 14/16
larva (green rock worms)

Light Cahills: 14/16

Cinnamon Caddis: 16/18 (mostly Abrams Creek)

Eastern Pale Evening Duns: 14 (some call these Sulphurs)

Inch Worms: 10, 12, 14

New: Trout Flies You Will Need Soon (through 5/31/17, in addition to
those on the above list.

Sulphurs: 16/18

Golden Stoneflies: 10/12

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.

Not all of the insects you see above will be hatching in the same location. It is usually
only two or three. It varies with the elevation. Some are just starting in the low
elevations and some about finished in the higher elevations. 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 BWO or maybe the Light Cahill nymph. If you spot something hatching (coming
off the water), change to the appropriate emerger, dun or adult imitations of the insect.

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:

Thank you for visiting our website

James Marsh
Copyright 2017 James Marsh
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