Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 07/16/17
We are off to another good week of fly fishing Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The weather has been good this spring and early Summer, and it looks like the pattern
will continue for a while. The streams are a little low on the Tennessee side of the park,
but still high enough to catch plenty of fish if you stay hidden from the trout. There is a
small chance of showers about every day for the coming week. All things considered,
that looks like a good forecast.
I finally just took the time to write more of the new series below. I really didn't have the
time to do it and still have a lot of new product to get online. Writing it is more like
resting compared to the other work I do and I guess I needed a break from the routine.
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.
The next six years of the learning curve - part 2
Part One of "The Next Six Years of the Learning Curve", mentioned that we had moved
to Gatlinburg. Not only did that put us at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it also
put us much closer to most any trout stream in the United States. We spent much of
our time during this six year period fishing in the Smokies and Yellowstone National
Park. We wanted to produce instructional videos on both national parks that including
fishing during all applicable seasons (Yellowstone isn't year-round like the Smokies),
and on all the streams in the parks. During that period of time, we made hundreds of
trips in the Smokies, which we could almost hit with a rock from our back door, and 16
trips to Yellowstone National Park that lasted from two to three weeks, to as long as two
months a trip.
Some of the time at Yellowstone, included trips to nearby rivers outside of the park -
the Madison, Yellowstone, Gallatin, Snake, Henry's fork of the Snake, Ruby and other
streams we could easily reach from one of the three places we stayed to fish
Yellowstone park - West Yellowstone, Gardiner, and Cook City, all in Montana.
There were many other trips made from our home in Tennessee, to various parts of
the nation that have trout streams. We revisited each major section of the country each
year fishing new streams and repeating fishing many of the better ones. During the
winter, we continued to fish the streams in the Southeast, and at times, the Southwest,
but we also made several trips to central and south Florida, including at least one trip a
year to the Keys. There, we fly fished for several fresh water species - largemouth
bass, bream, and peacock bass, as well as numerous saltwater species - tarpon,
snook, king and Spanish mackerel, bonefish, permit, sailfish, dolphin, wahoo, shark,
baracuda, bonita, tuna and other species. We made a few other coastal saltwater trips
to South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
On each and every fishing trip for trout, Angie and I collected insects from streams to
photo and video. We had special video permits from both National Parks, and special
permits to capture, video/photo insects. By the way, they are not free.
I could write one or more books on just the insects, but to summarize what we were
finding out, let me just say that almost everywhere we visited, we found out there were
local flies favored in the area, but when it came down to trying to determine the food
they were designed to imitate, no one seemed to know. When we asked fly shops and
local anglers what such and such, local fly imitated, the answer was maybe at best, a
mayfly, stonefly or caddisfly. In most cases, no one really knew. Most of them were
named after people, or the tier that came up with them. What we were finding out, was
that the insects and other foods the flies should be imitating, were much the same as
anywhere else in the same region and type of water. In other words, for example, a
baetis tricaudatus mayfly, commonly called a blue-winged olive, was the exact same
insect regardless as to whether it was found in Virginia or Idaho. Although there were
some differences in the aquatic insects in the western U.S., and the eastern U.S.,
many, if not the majority of them, were exactly the same nationwide.
We found out that the emphasis of most anglers and fly shops was on the flies
themselves, not the foods they should be imitating. It seemed that no one told them,
that trout ate real insects, not artificial trout flies. At the same time, we discovered that
all the recommendations for flies from anglers and fly shops, were based on trial and
error, or what Joe Blow caught some trout on recently. It was rarely the food that was
most plentiful and available for the trout to eat at the time. I had known for years,
regardless of the species of fish you pursued, they would always focus on eating the
most plentiful and available food. Although they are opportunistic feeders, it didn't take
very long for us to determine that was also true of trout..
I'm sure this won't go over very well with many, but what we discovered nationwide, was
that the trout fly business was a joke and a damn big mess, and in most cases, with the
blind leading the blind. .
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, will be mostly sunny with a high near 84. Northeast wind will be around 5 mph
becoming southeast in the morning. Tonight's low will be around 64.
Monday, there is a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after
3pm. It will be mostly sunny with a high near 85. South wind will be around 5 mph
becoming northwest in the afternoon.
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 127 cfs at 1.81 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 470 cfs at 1.82 ft.
(good wading up to 500 cfs and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 102 cfs at 1.57 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is flowing a little low.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
They are all flowing near a 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
Cream Cahills: 14/16
Cinnamon Caddis: 16/18 (mostly Abrams Creek)
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 8/15/17, in addition to
those on the above list.
Mahogany Dun: 18
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
Copyright 2017 James Marsh
Please enter your e-mail address in
the box to sign up for a free
subscription to the Perfect Fly "Fishing
Journal". It includes feature articles on
blue-ribbon destinations , fly fishing
techniques, and many other types of
articles of interest to any fly angler. You
can opt out at any time. If you decide
you don't want to receive our
information, just change your status by
clicking at the bottom of an e-mail we
send you in the "Remove" box. We will
not sell or give your e-mail address to
If you haven't signed up
previously, please sign up for our
Free Perfect Fly Fishing Journal.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing the park
and we will send you a list of our fly
suggestions. Please allow up to 24 hours for
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Call or email us
with a budget for flies and we will select
them and get them to you in time for your trip.
Shipping is free in the U. S. for all orders of
any size. Orders over $50 are shipped free
via Priority Mail.
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.
Chick Here For More Information
Perfect Fly Fishing Journal
Archive - Sign up below to
receive current issues:
Perfect Fly "Pro Line" Fly Rods:
NOBODY makes a better fly rod for the money than our Perfect Fly Pro
line rod. It is $195.00 including the case, in 4, 5, 6 and 7 weights. It is a
4 piece, 9 foot fly rod that is equal or better than most $400.00 fly rods on
the market. Shipping is the U.S. is free.
Click Here To Check Out The Details
Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park: This DVD (2 Disc Set) provides
over 4 hours of information and instructions on fishing for trout in the
park. $49.95 Click Here For More Information
Perfect Fly "Master Series" Fly Rods:
It is $349.00 including the case, in 4, 5, 6 and 7 weights. It is a 4 piece,
9 foot fly rod that is equal to or better than most $650.00 fly rods on the
market. Shipping is the U.S. is free.
Click Here To Check Out The Details
Perfect Fly "Switch Series" Fly Rods:
It is $349.00 including the case, in a 5/6 and 7/8 weight. They are 4
piece,11 foot, 6 inch fly rods for single or two handed use. Includes a
spare tip section. Shipping is the U.S. is free.
Click Here To Check Out The Details
Perfect Fly "FS Series" Fly Rods:
It is $449.00 including the case, in 7, 8, 9 and 10 weights for fresh or
saltwater use. It is a 4 piece, 9 foot fly rod that is equal or better than most
$700.00 fly rods on the market. Shipping is the U.S. is free.
Click Here To Check Out The Details
Perfect Fly Polarized Sunglasses: $49.95
Spring Loaded titanium frames keep the glasses firmly and comfortably in place.
High Quality Lenses are made in the United States of America
Yellow - Amber Lenses work under most lighting conditions
A Key Feature of these
sunglasses is the side
windows that help cut the
down the glare.