Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 06/07/17
The weather forecast for the next couple of days looks very good. The skies will be
clear today, but raining some on Thursday. The good part of that is the streams will be
a little on the low side tomorrow, and the rainfall amounts are predicted to be from a
quarter to a half inch. If the forecast is accurate, that would be just the right amount of
rain needed.

We are getting some very good reports and some not so good reports. It didn't take
but a minute for me to discover why some are not catching plenty of trout. It is a
combination of things. Some are fishing dry flies in the morning, and should be using
nymphs. Most of them leave the streams when there is another hour or two of fishing
time left, which just happens to be the best time there is at this time of the season.
Others are fishing beat-to-death water, and or water that is a little too warm. There are
other reasons, but that is the top three mistakes I discovered they are making when
talking to them.

Fish'n Tales: (New Series - we plan on replacing every two or three days)
The Early Learning Process - Part One

About the year 2000, starting our third year of fly fishing for trout, and the year we
decided to make fly fishing videos as well as the only type of fishing we would do, we
discovered that the only waters available to fish for trout during the winter months,
were southern tailwaters and spring creeks. We were told that we could catch trout in
the freestone streams of the Smokies, but it usually would be slow.

During our second year, 1999, we made a trip to the Smokies from our home in
Panama City Beach and fished three days when it was very cold. We didn't catch very
many at all. We learned later on, the same methods we had used in the other three
seasons wasn't the way to go.

Back to the beginning of the year 2000, we set our plans up to fish at home for bass
and bream (we could do that out our back door and many other north Florida lakes),
the saltwater bays and inlets in the panhandle area for speckled trout and redfish, and
central and southern Florida waters for bass, bream and a few times, peacock bass.
We spent one of those three months fly fishing for various species in the Florida keys.
We had two other things in mind that we accomplished during the first winter season
that we fly fished exclusively. One was to fish in snow in the Smokies (we wanted
beautiful video and pictures like we were seeing in the magazines) and to fish some
spring creeks in Virgina and Pennsylvania. We accomplished all of the above that
winter season of our first full time year of fly fishing.

Since this is the Smoky Mountains website, and mostly all trout fishing, I will focus the
remainder of this article on trout. In February, we got that chance to fish in the snow in
the Smokies. We spent three or four days doing just that. We only caught a few, mostly
because we used the wrong strategies and methods. One of those days, Ian Rutter
went with us to fish Abrams Creek where the water would be a little warmer. The snow
was six or eight inches deep, if I remember right. I ran the video camera and Angie shot
still slides of Ian fishing just below the walk bridge at the trailhead on the lower end of
Cades Cove. It didn't take Ian over ten minutes to catch a rainbow. The main thing we
learned in the cold weather and snow, were some nymphing techniques.

On one of those earlier trips to the Smokies, we decided to make instructional videos of
Ian and his wife Charity, fishing the Smokies. I think that is when we learned the most in
our early years about fly fishing the Smokies. Those two videos are
"Fly Fishing
Eastern Freestone streams - Catching the Grand Slam", and "Fly Fishing Eastern
Freestone Streams - Successful Strategies".

The other main things we learned about fly fishing for trout that first full time year, were
actually some things I had known about fishing for almost any species for years. The
clarity of the water greatly affected the fishing. Still and/or slow moving water was much
more difficult to fish. When we made our first trip that winter to fish some of spring
creeks in Virginia, and Pennsylvania, that became perfectly clear. I had known for
many years that fishing for bass in clear water lakes like Smith Lake, Alabama, and
Lake Powell, Arizona, was much more difficult than fishing lakes with some color to the
water, such most southern lakes. I can go on and on giving examples of other species
of fish in both salt and fresh water where this same thing is a fact.

The reason that trout and other species of fish are more difficult to catch in very clear,
still or slow moving water, is because they can see the fly, lure or natural bait much
better. It didn't take very long to realize that casting a fly for trout in the fast pocket
water of the streams of the Smokies was one thing, and casting a fly for trout in a slow
moving, smooth surface spring creek was another thing. It didn't take me long to realize
that the more natural and realistic the fly or lure looked to the trout, the easier it was to
fool them into taking it for the real thing. In other words, it didn't take me long to
become a frustrated with the several hundreds, or more like the few thousand trout
flies used for trout. It didn't take me long to realize most of them were named after the
fly tier, not the food the fly was designed to imitate. I didn't have to ask many fly shop
owners but a few times to realize they didn't have a clue as to what most of them were
suppose to imitate.

I had known for many years, the way to catch any species of fish, from a marlin to a
bluegill, was to figure out what the fish was eating and either put a hook in it, and use it
for bait, or to use something that looked and acted like it with a hook in it. The first
thing I did for years regarding each new species of fish I had fished for, and that
included most all of them recognized as a sport fish by the IGFA, was to learn all I could
about the food it survived on. Fly fishing for trout, offered a new challenge to me in that
(This will be continued in part two of this article)

Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)  
Today, will be sunny, with a high near 75. East wind around will be around 5 mph
becoming north in the afternoon. Tonight, there is a slight chance of showers. The low
will be around 54.

Thursday, there is a chance of showers, then showers and thunderstorms are likely
after noon. It will be partly sunny, with a high near 72. Wind will be from the northwest
around 5 mph in the afternoon. The chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall
amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in

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 275 cfs at 2.20 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs

Oconaluftee River: Rate 392 cfs at 1.68 ft.
(good wading up to 500 cfs and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 77 cfs at 2.45 ft  
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)

Little Pigeon River: It is flowing a little below a normal level.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
They are all flowing a little below 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: 14 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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