Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 06/28/17
The conditions remain about the same as yesterday, and that means they are good.
The stream levels are a little lower, but actually, that's the way I like them to be. It
makes wading easy and when you get in your seventies, you will figure out why that is
important. Actually, I liked lower flows even when I could wade easily in heavy current. It
makes the catching a little more challenging, but in my opinion that too, makes it more
enjoyable and satisfying knowing there is less luck involved in it.
We probably won't have many days this summer that the weather will be as cool as it is
now. Yesterday morning, I laughed at Angie when she first got up. I was downstairs
making some more coffee when she first went out on the porch. She came back in the
house in about a minute or two and said "it is cold out there". She was still sleepy and
very serious about it, which is what make it funny.
The runoff in the western states is nearing the end in most major streams. They have a
big snow pack this year, and in case you don't know, that's a good thing. We have
been very busy with orders for the western states the past couple of weeks. Our
Perfect Fly rod sells have increased a lot this year, with many orders coming from
customers who are getting their second and third rods from us.
Fish'n Tales: (New Series - See the Menu of articles on your right: We plan on
replacing these 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 a
professionally done release of any kind )
Some things we learned the first four years- Part 1.
At the end of the fourth year of fly fishing exclusively, Angie and I had fished in all of
the states with streams that hold trout except California, Oregon and Washington. We
had fished about two-thirds of the Top 100 Trout Streams listed in a book that was out
at the time. After realizing that, we set an objective to fish them all. That wasn't a major
objective, just something we wanted to accomplish. We were discovering that some of
the streams listed were not as good as some not listed. The author tried to give all
sections of the country equal opportunity, but facts are, some sections just have better
streams than others. In subsequent years, we managed to fish 96 of them, including
most all the major streams on the West Coast. This was just the beginning. We fished
full time, exclusively fly fishing, for the next several years.
During those first four years, we had discovered that wild trout and native trout, were
usually much more difficult to catch than stocked trout and that the newly stocked trout
were not at all selective. We also discovered that stocked trout that had been stocked
as fingerlings were a different thing. They were difficult to tell from wild trout as far as
the difficulty in catching them. In general, hold over trout, or trout that have been
stocked a few months or more, were almost as difficult to catch as wild or native trout.
We also learned that in general, brook trout, wild or native, were easier to catch than
rainbows or brown trout. We found cutthroat trout were not quite as difficult to catch as
rainbows or browns. We learned that slow moving, clear water was far more difficult to
catch trout from than fast, pocket water, and that smooth flowing, spring creeks were
the most difficult to fish.
I mention what I have written in the above paragraph, because we had determined that
most of the time anglers were talking about how to catch trout on the fly, or what they
had accomplished in terms of their success, that they were comparing apples and
oranges. The type of water and type of trout, greatly determined the difficulty of
catching trout on the fly.
Moving from one stream to another and from one section of the country to another, we
also learned that when anglers and fly shops began describing trout flies using local
names, a Montana trout fly, or a Smoky Mountain trout fly, for example, that the names
being used were actually meaningless. Trout flies should imitate insects, baitfish or
crustaceans, etc., or the food trout eat. Having taken samples from throughout the
nation, we knew there was no difference in any species of insect regardless of where it
existed. In other words, a Quill Gordon in the Smokies is the same Quill Gordon that is
in Maine, or a certain species of baetis mayfly, was the same in Colorado as it is in New
As I mentioned in previous articles in this series, we also learned that most all the trout
flies that were on the market being sold by fly shops, numbering into low thousands,
didn't imitate any specific insect or other food. It was very obvious that the main
emphasis on the appearance of the flies was mostly all to do with dry flies, or flies that
floated on the surface, where trout actually only obtain a small percentage of the food
they eat. We knew many anglers preferred dry fly fishing and that was one of the main
reason for that, but no excuse to place most all the emphasis on them.
We also learned, and please don't take this as if I am trying to knock fly shops, that
most fly shop owners and salesmen were at the Kindergarten grade level when it came
to knowing even the basics about aquatic insects. If questioned about any of them,
they usual response was that it didn't matter. I can't blame them for trying to stand up
for the products they were and still are selling. They didn't and still don't have any
other option but to sell the generic trout flies that for the most part, are imported by
As mentioned in a previous article in this series, during the forth year we were fishing
for trout almost exclusively, all of the above convinced me of one thing - the fly fishing
market was in bad need of improvements. That is why that in addition to producing
instructional videos on fly fishing for trout, during our fourth year, I set another
objective. That was, to capture and video all of the real foods trout ate, and to
eventually come up with better and more specific imitations of the real things that could
be named after the real things. It was the beginning of Perfect Fly, even though it was
a few years later when we had our own patterns and flies to sell.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, will be sunny with a high near 82. Wind will be from the west at around 5 mph.
Tonight's low will be around 63.
Thursday, there's a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. It will
be mostly sunny, with a high near 82. South wind will be around 5 mph becoming calm
in the afternoon. Thursday night's low will be around 65.
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 121 cfs at 1.79 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 282 cfs at 1.45 ft.
(good wading up to 500 cfs and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 54 cfs at 2.32 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is flowing below a normal level.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
They are all flowing below normal levels.
Recommended Trout Flies:
In addition to the two list below, you can always send us an email
(firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 Eastern BWOs
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 16/14
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)
Golden Stoneflies: 10/12
Little Green Stoneflies: 16
Slate Drakes: 10/12
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 7/31/17, in addition to
those on the above list.
Cream Cahills: 14/16
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:
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Fly Fishing The Great Smoky
Mountains National Park:
(Year-round Dry Fly Fishing) This new
DVD (2 Disc Set) provides over 4 hours
of fly fishing for trout in the park. See
all of the streams and witness the
action. Learn everything you need to
know in order to successfully catch
brown, brook and rainbow trout on the
fly. Fishing methods, strategies and
much more are covered. Learn all
about the insects and other food the
trout eat and how to imitate it.
Techniques for each season of the
year are covered.
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