Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 09/21/17
Today, is the day that I try to give those planning on making a trip to the Smokies to
fish this coming weekend, an idea of what to expect in the way of fishing conditions.
There is a thirty percent chance of rain today and tomorrow, otherwise it will be dry
through the weekend. That means there's a seventy percent chance it isn't going to
rain and the streams will be very low. The streams are all low now, and the high
temperature is going into the low eighties at Gatlinburg, at the 1600 foot elevation. This
means you should fish the middle and higher elevations. The water will be a little too
warm in the lower elevations.

You can catch trout under these low water conditions. If just means that the trout will be
extra easy to spook. You will have to stay hidden from them and make good

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.

Part (3) Three:
In parts one and two of "the next six years of the learning curve", i wrote about Angie
and I traveling back and forth across the county, fly fishing new streams, and revisiting
many of the ones we had previously fished. These were not occasional trips like most
anglers make. It was our full time job. We put far more than forty hours a week into it
and worked at it year-round. Our purpose and objective was to produce a series of
videos on fly fishing for trout (and other species), including programs on the aquatic
insects and other foods the trout rely on for their survival.

We quickly found out that there were several things that could easily confuse anyone
when we made any affirmative statement about fly fishing for trout. One was the huge
difference in stocked, wild and native trout. The other was the difference in the four
major species of trout - brook, brown, rainbow and cutthroat. Yet another huge
difference was the type of water one fished - a freestone stream, tailwater or spring
creek and in some cases a combination of them. Of course, there were other major
differences, but the main point we had to keep in mind was that unless we qualified
those major differences, each and every time we made a statement or gave some
advise in the programs, it could easily be confusing and/or contradicted.

It was obvious that out of the several hundred different trout flies available to anglers,
very few closely imitated the real foods trout survived on. Trout flies seemed mostly to
have been created to impress anglers, rather than trout. As mentioned before in this
series, in most cases, we couldn't determine what the fly was intended to imitate, if
anything. By the way, with the exception of our own Perfect Flies, that's still the
situation this day in time.

Each time we captured and identified an aquatic insect in a certain stage of life, we had
a very difficult time finding a fly that even came close to imitating it. So, when we begin
to describe and show video of a certain insect, we had to use what was available at the
time to try to imitate it. Sometimes we could find a fly that was close, but more often,
what we had to end up using to show how to imitate that insect was actually a lousy
imitation of the natural. That begin to be frustrating. Our nineteen (19) instructional
DVD programs on fly fishing for trout were all produced having to use flies that were
and still are pitiful imitations of anything. Quite frankly, it still frustrates me today, years
after we produced them. We didn't have what we later begin to call Perfect Flies during
the production of those videos. We had finished all nineteen programs (DVD), before
we had the first Perfect Fly imitation.

The big problem with it was, and still is, the view a trout gets of a fly below or on the
surface of the water, is often just a quick glimpse. Their view depends on many factors
such as lighting conditions, water clarity, and greatly on the speed of the water. It can
be very distorted. That being the case, to some extent, most anything that can be tied
in the approximate shape and size of an insect, will produce some degree of success.
A little success with any fly can easily confuse an angler into thinking they are using a
good fly and often in their opinion, the best one. If someone happens to get lucky and
catch a few trout on a certain fly, it likely ends up being a favorite and used very often.
What is really sad, is that it is common for an angler to use the favorite fly, fail to catch
anything, and actually believe it was the trout, and use the old "the fish were not biting
excuse". Having a good imitation of the food that trout are focusing on eating at a given
time, greatly improves the odds of success, but it isn't necessarily the only fly that will
work to some extent.

Near the end of this six year period of the learning curve, I begin to think I needed to
change my main objective from producing instructional videos, to coming up with flies
that imitated all the most important foods trout relied on, including specific imitations of
all the major aquatic insects in all applicable stage of life. As you probably can guess,
this eventually led to the creation of our Perfect Fly company and hundreds of Perfect
fly patterns. We did something else very unusual in the trout fly business. We named
the flies after the foods they imitated.

Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)  
Today, there is a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. It will be
mostly sunny with a high near 82. Wind will be from the north around 5 mph in the
afternoon. Tonight, there's a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before
8pm. The low will be around 62.

Friday, there's a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. It will be
mostly sunny with a high near 82. Wind will be from the north around 5 mph in the
afternoon. Friday night's low will be around 62. East wind will be around 5 mph
becoming south after midnight.

Saturday, will be mostly sunny, with a high near 83. South wind will be around 5 mph
becoming north in the morning. Saturday night's low will be around 61.

Sunday, will be sunny with a high near 83. Sunday night's low will be around 61.

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 53.5 cfs at 1.43 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs

Oconaluftee River: Rate 191 cfs at 1.21 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs and caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 53.1 cfs at 2.33 ft  
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)

Little Pigeon River: It is low.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
They are running low.

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 Sculpin:
Hook Size 6

Black and/or Olive Matuka Sculpin:
Size 4, 6, 8

Blue-winged olives: 16, 18 and 20

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 9/30/17, 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:

Thank you for visiting our website

James Marsh
Copyright 2017 James Marsh
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Options For Selecting Flies:
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