Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report
The old timers have always said when it thunders in the winter its always followed by snow. While most of my life, Ive always seen this to be true. However after last nights episode of thunder and lightning, we are left with an incredibly beautiful day that feels more summer like than December 2nd. I sit here writing this report on the steps of my log cabin in the Smokies with a pair of shorts and a tee shirt on. Its 70 degrees here today. We’ll certainly pay for the nice stretch of weather today as the week progresses. Temps are forecasted to plummet again this week with snow by weekend.
Several days of steady and hard rain have left most of the Smokies streams running high. The National Park received high winds and heavy rain last night, closing the roadways due to downed tress across the roads. We have had a wet year with plenty of rainfall which is a good thing considering the alternative. However once the ground here soaks in as much water as possible there’s no where for it to go but out of here. The soaked ground also makes it easy for trees to uproot in high winds as was the situation inside the park last night. The road has opened back up noon and things are going to be drying out over the next several days. High water only lasts temporarily here in the Smokies as stream levels receded quick, usually in less than a day in the high elevations and couple days in the lower elevation streams.
Winter is awesome fishing
November was incredible for fishing and December is expected to be even better! Cooler weather has really put the big trout into a feeding frenzy. This will undoubtedly continue as December and January unfold. The absolute best time of year to fish for big trout has always been from November through February. Large Brown trout begin showing up, almost as if they appear from nowhere. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and area tailwaters all come alive as the biggest trout of the year start feeding heavily.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The streams inside the Smokies will fish decent through in the winter in the lower elevations. Places such as the Little River and the Oconaluftee River will be good choices for some cold weather action. Lower reaches of Greenbrier and Deep Creek will also be good bets. Winter Stoneflies will be th best hatches to target along with black Caddis. Fish slow and work your water methodical for the best results.
Gatlinburg Trout Fishing
During the Winter months Gatlinburg offers some good trout fishing on their winter catch and release section. This extends from the park entrance to well below town towards Pigeon Forge. The Tennessee DNR stocks the river heavily with good size trout, some of which will get upwards of 20 inches!
The Tuckasegee River currently has 39,000 trout per mile in the Bryson City stretches. Thats a lot of trout! Big brown trout are moving up from Fontana Lake, and were seeing large fish pushing the upper 20 inch mark. The hatches have been very good on the lower Tuck. Blue Winged Olives, Black Caddis, Midges, and Winter Stoneflies are making up most of what we are seeing. Dry fly action has been great and pretty consistent each day. BWO’s are coming off around mid morning and continue steadily until dark. Lots of rising brown trout are keeping our anglers happy. Streamers have been producing some fine trout too. Working small streamers slowly on sink tip lines are getting great results.
Cherokee Trophy Section
The Cherokee Trophy Section on the Oconaluftee and Raven Fork is fishing well. Big fish are all over the place and the bite has been solid. Good hatches of winter Stoneflies each day are keeping trout interested and activity feeding. Black Caddis have been sporadic but have produced good results and Midges are always a good bet in Cherokee especially in the colder months. The elk are really in full swing of things and are out on the water with us most days. There’s nothing more cool than to be fly fishing and have the elk crossing th stream below you. Its an amazing sight in an already beautiful area to fly fish.
The forecast this week has us getting colder as the week wears on. Snow is forecasted this weekend! We absolutely love to fly fish in the snow. Its an incredibly peaceful experience that really puts your senses on overload. Fish bite well in the snow, and the dusting of snow just adds to the beauty.