Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 06/11/17
Conditions will remain excellent throughout the day. The streams are getting a little
below normal and it appears we will be getting some rain about the right time. As they
usually do, they weather guys have strung out the chances of rain and thunderstorm
with low odds for the next few days. As the front approaches and they get a better idea
as to when and how much it will rain, they usually increase it. I've just leaned to not pay
much attention to the rain forecast beyond two or three days.

The stream levels are all low enough to be easy to wade, and the water is clear and
warm. There are hatches going on, but not to the extent they were back at the first part
of May. The will become less and less as the month goes by. I have revised the fly list
below, and as you can see, added Slate Drakes, Little Green Stoneflies and
terrestrials. There are still a lot of them shown there now, but they will start coming off
the list as the month goes by.

Fish'n Tales: (New Series - we plan on replacing every two or three days)
Learning the Different Types of Trout and the Water They Live In- Part Two - Please
read part One or this may not make a lot of sense to you.

As mentioned in part one, the clarity of the water and the amount of available light,
usually makes a big difference in where and how most all species of fish feed. It is also
a big factor in where they exist when they are not feeding. The clarity of the water and
amount of light, makes a huge difference in how well the fish can see the bait, lure or
fly you are using to catch them.

That had always been obvious to me fishing for bass and other freshwater species of
fish. It had always been obvious to me fishing saltwater flats. As with any artificial lure
and other species of fish, you want trout to see your fly, but not well enough to detect it
isn't something to eat. Accomplishing that becomes a much bigger problem in clear
water and bright light conditions, than it does in slightly off color water, and/or low light

Angie and I, soon discovered that there were two basic types of spring creeks, or I
should say, two basic types of spring creek water that sometimes exist in the same
stream. They are the smooth flowing, slick surface, clear water spring creeks, and the
spring creeks that flow much like freestone streams, with riffles, runs and a mixture of
slow and fast water. We discovered those types of spring creeks are easier to fish. The
broken surface of the water gives the trout a place to hide from overhead predators,
and doesn't give them as much opportunity to examine your fly near as well as they
can in the smooth surface spring creeks.

After fishing the fast, water streams of the Smokies, and then changing to the slow
moving, slick surface, clear water of some of the spring creeks in Virginia and
Pennsylvania, the difference became very obvious. I had a good idea that would be the
case when we fished the spring creeks for the very first time, and of course, it was.

One of the first ones we fished with a smooth, slow flowing surface, was Mossy Creek,
in Virginia. It has some of both of the types of spring creek water that I just described.
We did fairly well in the few faster water sections with a broken surface, than majority of
the water with slick, smooth flowing surfaces. It had another factor that increased the
difficulty of catching the trout. The large amount of vegetation, created swirls in the
surface of the water, making it very difficult to get a drag free drift. If we tried to correct
that by mending the line, we tended to spook every trout within fifty feet of us.

The next one was Letort Spring Run in Pennsylvania. It posed an even greater
challenge. It was like fishing in an aquarium. It seemed almost impossible to make a
cast without spooking fish. I haven't checked our tape logs, but I think I remember
Angie catching one trout to my none. Of course, we never both fished at the same
time. We did better on stops we made later on during that same trip that lasted about a

We fished dozens of other spring creeks on that trip. We did fairly well on some and
not very good on others. As soon as I looked at the water of a new spring creek for the
very first time, I realized the degree of difficulty. All of them, regardless of the type of
water, seemed much more difficult to catch fish from than the small, fast water streams
or the Smokies. The very obvious problem had to do with how well the trout could see
the fly as well as the creature casting and presenting it. About the only way to stay
hidden on some of them, was to lie down flat on the ground. I still haven't learned to
cast well lying on my back. Yes, I am kidding about the casting part..

One of those spring creeks we fished during the early part of that trip was Big Springs
Creek. I'll never forget that first sighting of the uppermost section of springs. We could
see several, huge trout at the same time. If we did make a good cast to one of them,
they slowly would approach the fly but then turn away, refusing to take it. The second
cast to the same fish, didn't even accomplish that much. They didn't as much as move.
We soon realized for certain, those big trout were not only seeing the fly and refusing
to eat it, they were also seeing us.

I remember talking to an angler fishing nearby who told us that we could catch the
large trout we were seeing, provided we did everything just right. He was fishing a
scud, but at the time, I wasn't familiar with the real ones, and had no idea it they looked
like his fly or not. He went though the procedure he used in detail, trying to help us and
did help us. I think that was the first time that I noticed both Angie and I, changing flies
far more often than we had done before fishing the streams of the Smokies. At least,
that happened at some point in time on that trip.

Again, having made my living fishing for many years prior to that, at some point in time
that I believe was during that first, approximately month long trip fishing mostly spring
creeks, I found myself a little frustrated. We had accumulated a lot of trout flies by that
time, at least a few boxes of them, and it just seemed like the trout in those smooth
water spring creeks could detect they were not food.
(To be continued to part Three of "The Early Learning Process".

Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)  
Today, will be sunny with a high near 87. South wind will be around 5 mph becoming
calm in the morning. Tonight, will be mostly clear, with a low around 64. Calm wind will
start coming from the south around 5 mph after midnight.

Monday, expect a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. It will be mostly
sunny with a high near 85. Wind will be from the west around 5 mph. Monday night's
low will be around 64.

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 173 cfs at 1.89 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs

Oconaluftee River: Rate 299 cfs at 1.49 ft.
(good wading up to 500 cfs and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 63 cfs at 2.37 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)

Sulphurs: 16/18

Golden Stoneflies: 10/12

Little Green Stoneflies: 16

Inch Worms: 10, 12, 14

Japanese Beetles: 14/16

Carpenter Ants: 16/18

Sandwich Hoppers: 6/8/10/12

New: Trout Flies You Will Need Soon (through 6/31/17, in addition to
those on the above list.

Slate Drakes: 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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