Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 09/08/17
Yesterday, I got to writing about Irma, and forgot it was Thursday, the day I normally
give information on the fishing conditions through the weekend. Conditions look very
good through this weekend. They are predicting some rain starting on Monday. I have
a good idea that we will be getting plenty of visitors for the weekend. The motels are
already full in the lower parts of Georgia and Alabama, from people moving away from
I'm leaving this up another day. Some anglers think that trout in the streams of the
Smokies, focus on eating terrestrials in the summer months. They assume that is their
prime source of food. It isn't, and not just by a small margin, not even by any stretch of
your imagination. Unless there has been high wind or heavy rain that has washed a lot
of terrestrials into the water, the amount of food from terrestrials never gets close in
comparison to aquatic insects, crustaceans, sculpin and baitfish.
I'm not making that statement based on pure speculation. Although, it wasn't done to
strict, scientific requirements, we placed traps and nets in the streams of the park at
various times over long periods of time that would catch any terrestrial insects drifting
downstream only to hours later, come up with only aquatic species. The amount of time
these were in the water at various locations over that period of time, amounted to
several hundred hours, not a short time. We had a permit from the park to do that. In
fact, it was always amazing as to how little numbers of terrestrials were caught. It was
often none. Two of the traps and nets we used were professional entomology items of
equipment designed for that purpose. I built one of the nets used, so it would cover a
larger cross section of water but that didn't help. The simple fact is, during normal
conditions, very few terrestrial insects get in the water. At times, moth larvae (inch
worms) fall into the water from the limbs of trees and bushes.
I'll put it like this. If you sat down beside a stream and carefully watched the water along
a bank where you could clearly see any insects from the surface to the bottom, you
might grow old before you spotted the first one. There are few that get in the water
unless there is high wind or heavy rain.
This doesn't mean there has to be terrestrial insects in the water for trout to hit an
imitation of them. They are optimistic, and will take imitations of terrestrials; however,
that brings up an entirely different subject that is also greatly misunderstood by most
anglers. Because fish feed optimistically, doesn't mean they will feed as readily on most
any and everything as often as they feed on food that is readily available and more
plentiful. They will always focus on eating the most plentiful and available food
at the time. That is nature's way of their survival.
Under normal conditions, to fish an imitation of a terrestrial insect during the time other
food is more plentiful and available, such as during a hatch, just lowers your odds of
success. That written, after a good rain, if you find water flowing back into the stream
that is likely washing ants and beetles into the water, or strong wind blowing hoppers in
the water along a grassy bank, you will almost always find trout at that location feeding
Don't take this wrong. We often recommend having terrestrials on hand and fishing
them. We have several of our own Perfect Fly terrestrial patterns. We sold several
hundred of them just this past week to be used throughout the nation. Most of you
would probably be shocked at the numbers. That is both because customers ordered
them and in many cases where we recommended them.
Fish'n Tales: (New Series - See the menu of articles on your right: We plan on
replacing these every two to four 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 3 - Coming Soon
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, will be sunny with a high near 72. Light and variable wind will come from the
north at 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon. Tonight's, low will be around 50.
Saturday, will be sunny with a high near 72. Northeast wind will be around 5 mph.
Saturday night's low will be around 51.
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 124 cfs at 1.78 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 291 cfs at 1.47 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs and caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 42.8 cfs at 2.26 ft
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is near a normal level.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
They are probably running near normal.
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: 20 Little BWOs
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 16/14
Little Green Stoneflies: 16
Slate Drakes: 10/12
Little Yellow Quills: 16
Mahogany Duns: 18
Needle Stoneflies: 16/18
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 9/15/17, in addition to
those on the above list.
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 Slate Drake 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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Copyright 2017 James Marsh
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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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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.
New! Perfect Fly "Fly Patch with retractor".
It can be attached to your fly fishing
vest, lanyard, upper waders, or shirt by a
pin that clips behind the retractor. It holds
several nymphs, dry flies and streamers in a
very easy to access location. Check it out.
New! Perfect Fly Dropper Rigs:
Ten different Dropper rigs are currently available. Each dropper rig selection comes on our
foam dropper rig keeper board and Includes 5 dropper rigs each with 5 dry flies as the top
fly, and 5 wet flies, emergers or nymphs, as the bottom fly. Smaller size flies are rigged
using 5X fluorocarbon tippet spaced approximately 19 inches apart. Larger .
Check It Out
New! Perfect Fly "Biddie Fly Fishing Lanyard"
The Perfect Fly Biddie Fly Fishing Lanyard is our little biddie lanyard
that holds everything a fly angler needs. It is named after Biddie,
Angie and James' Cocker Spaniel.
Check it out along with the loaded version.
Click Images to enlarge
Includes 5 each #14 Neversink Caddis with 5 each #16
Bead-head Green Weenie droppers rigged on 4X,
fluorocarbon tippet approx 19 inches long. Back side of board
is flat with no flies so you can lay it down. We have 10 (ten)
different Pre-rigged, dripper rigs currently available.