Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 06/18/17
Happy Father's Day to all of you. Today, should be a good day to fish the streams of
the park. The water is getting a little too warm in the lower elevation, so we recommend
you fish the middle and upper elevations. For example, for those not all that familiar
with the park, that is above the Smokemont Campground area on the North Carolina
side of the park, and above the Elkmont Campground, or the Chimney Picnic area on
the Tennessee side of the park.

It looks like Cataloochee Creek received some rain yesterday. The stream levels are
up a little this morning. It is at a high enough elevation to fish above the campground. It
appears to be about the only area to receive enough rain to move the USGS stream
station monitors a significant amount.

Fish'n Tales: (New Series - we plan on replacing every two or three days. Note that
this is something I am just sitting down and writing mostly off the top of my head, with
no editing. It isn't intended to be professionally done release of any kind )
Learning the Different Types of Trout and the Water They Live In- Part Four - Please
read part One, Two, and Three, or this may not make a lot of sense to you.

Angie and I, made our first trip out west to fly fish in Yellowstone National Park and
nearby waters in 2002. At that time, I had about all the books ever written on fly fishing
and aquatic entomology, and had purchased most all the entomology equipment and
special macro lenses and lighting setups for our video and sill camera equipment. All
the freshwater fly fishing for trout we had done had been in the Eastern and
Mid-western states. We planned to spend six weeks on that first trip staying in West
Yellowstone, Montana, and fishing the park and the Madison River outside the park. It
ended up being a little over two months.

At that time, we had caught plenty of rainbow, brown and brook trout, but not any
cutthroat. We had purchased all the flies we could find we needed in researching the
streams in the area, but ended up purchasing a lot more (just about every day) when
we were there. We visited the four fly shops in West Yellowstone and ended up doing
most of our fly shop visits in Bud Lillies and Blue Ribbon Fly shops. We found out that
about the only person we could find to talk very knowledgeable about aquatic insects
was Craig Matthews. He was very knowledgeable and a big help to us. We never told
him we had a pickup truck load of camera and entomology equipment. I did mention we
were making videos and that we had viewed those he had produced.

We fished most of the major streams in the park, the Madison River (including a one
day float trip), the Snake River near Jackson (including a one day float trip), and
several sections of the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. About the first of August, we  
moved to Cook City, to fish the East side of the park, or the Lamar Valley area. We left
Montana about the middle of August. For the next two weeks, we fished several
streams in Idaho, Utah, and New Mexico.

At night, we would macro video our collection of insects, trying to identify each one,
and log in our video tape that was shot that day. We shot twenty-two hours of video on
that trip. One night, I read a new Fly Fishing Magazine article about the Henry's Fork. It
was saying that although the Green Drake hatch would probably be over the middle of
July, that the Small Western Green Drakes, locals call FLAVS, would be hatching at the
State Park section.

I had read in several different books that crawler nymphs, usually stayed from out of
their normal hiding places to develop their wing pads for about two weeks or more prior
to hatching. I went in Bud Lillies fly shop one morning and ask Dick Greene, the owner,
about his Small Western Green drake flies. He showed me some dry flies or duns that
he said were FLAVS and at the same time, told me they had not started hatching on
the Henry's Fork. I asked for some FLAV nymphs. He laughed at me, and said there
wasn't any such thing. When I explained why I wanted them, he said just use any
nymphs, a Hare's Ear, for example, that nymphs didn't need to match anything. That
got my attention big time.

I had made my living fishing for over twenty year prior to that fishing trip, and had
caught about every species of fish that swims. I had studied and tested how fish see
things under water for years because that is where most all fish acquire their food, not
on the surface but underwater. I knew fish could see food underwater much better than
they could see anything on the surface and therefore, I knew it was just as, or even
more important that an artificial imitations of that food looked and behaved like the real
things fished on the surface.

II ask the other fly shops in town the same question and got basically the same answer.
As a matter of fact, there wasn't any specific imitations of a FLAV or small Western
Green drake nymphs. I found some for Green Drakes, but according to pictures in my
books, they looked very little alike. I later discovered that there were not any specific
imitations of 75% or more of the aquatic insect nymphs on the market, not to mention
larvae and pupae imitations. Out of maybe as many as 5000 different trout flies, only a
very few had imitations of anything but the adult stage of life, or dry fly. Most all of them
were and of course, still are named after someone, not what they imitate. As a matter
of fact, I don't think most of them had any idea of what they were imitating, rather just
coming up with a "pretty" fly.

That morning I asked that question in Bud Lillies, I decided that I was going to take our
video and slides of the insects we had acquired, and were still acquiring, and get some
good fly tiers to design imitations of them. That morning and one other time during that
same trip that I will write about soon, was the beginning of Perfect Fly. Of course, it was
a few years later before that came true and we launched Perfect Fly.

Since that trip, we have made 26 other trips to western states all during a period of
twelve years that lasted anywhere from a month to almost three months on our longest
western expedition. Remember, we were fly fishing full time during those years. There
was one year, I think our second, or maybe our third western trip, that I should have
rented out our condo on the beach. We spent less than three weeks at home and even
then, we fished most days in the Panama City area.

Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)  
Today, the is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 8am. It will be
mostly sunny with a high near 86. Southwest wind will range from 5 to 10 mph.
Tonight, there's a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. The low will be
around 67.

Monday, expect showers and thunderstorms. The high will be near 79. The chance of
precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch 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 217 cfs at 2.13 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs

Oconaluftee River: Rate 327 cfs at 1.55 ft.
(good wading up to 500 cfs and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 81 cfs at 2.47 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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