Fishing Report for September 22 to September 28

The cooler mountain air is thick with anticipation as the most exciting trout-fishing event of the year approaches—the Delayed Harvest program! In a just few weeks, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will begin stocking selected rivers and streams across twenty counties where frigid fall and winter water temps ensure the well-being of these fish. You’ll find us fishing the Tuckasegee River (the Tuck) which will be loaded with Brookies, Browns and Bows! We prefer floating the Tuck since it enables us to target our favorite honey holes and explore more of the river.

This year, the initial stocking of the Tuck is scheduled for October 10 with a subsequent round on November 3. From October to early-June, anglers fishing the Tuck must use single-hook artificial lures and adhere to catch-and-release rules. But serious anglers willing to fish in colder weather should have excellent results since there’s less pressure on the water and live bait is prohibited. Some of our cold-natured friends seem to forget that trout thrive in cold water!

So start booking fall and winter trips and plan on dressing in layers. In preparation for these exhilarating times ahead, stock up on mop flies, girdle bugs, egg patterns, and squirmy worms. Grab your toboggans and bundle up with an eye toward catching lots of trout and landing that lunker of a lifetime!

Last call for young deer hunters! Remember—this Saturday, September 24, is Youth Deer Hunting Day! If you’re 17 years old or younger, you can use guns or any other legal equipment to hunt deer of either sex.

Have wonderful weekends!

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Fishing Report for September 15 to September 21

Cooler days have led to better fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP)!

On the Tennessee side, we had excellent luck nymphing on the West Fork of the Little Pigeon River. With fewer folks around and less pressure on the water, the rainbows swarmed the lower reaches while the brook trout gave us plenty of action on top. One brookie measured ten inches! Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails, and Squirmy Worms held the interests of these fish, and we found strike indicators useful, too.

In North Carolina’s Deep Creek, our Golden Stone Flies and Squirmy Worms caught us a dozen rainbows and a mammoth brown trout over twenty inches long! On the Little Tennessee River, rains from last weekend had us floating at 1000 cubic feet per second (CFS), and although the water had a slight tinge, the smallmouth bass didn’t seem to mind. On the stretch between Rose Creek and Tellico, we landed several smallies on fly rods using streamers. If you haven’t fought a bass on a fly rod, now’s the time to try!

This weekend looks promising with highs in the low-eighties and no rain in the forecast. For trout, we’d stick with Royal Wulffs, Thunderheads, Pheasant Tails, and olive Midges. If you’ve got a taste for smallmouths, pick up your fly rod and bounce a streamer along the bottom. Smallies are strong fish, so prepare yourself for a good fight!

Attention, young deer hunters—Saturday, September 24 is Youth Deer Hunting Day! If you’re 17 years old or younger, you can use guns or any other legal equipment to hunt deer of either sex.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Fishing Report for September 1 to September 7

At the Smokies’ Noland Creek trailhead, our first cast off the bridge landed a shimmering foot-long rainbow. From then on, we found action everywhere—behind rocks, in deep and shallow pockets, and along the edges of riffles and runs, sticking with the same fly—our trusty Parachute Adams.

But Noland Creek casts a disorienting spell over many anglers, making it difficult to fish sometimes. The sheer beauty of this stream is unfathomable, from the seductive whisper of its water to the dark seclusion provided by a dense canopy of interwoven vines and branches that allows only a smattering of light to bleed through. The fish are uncommonly smart. We lost as many as we caught.

Elsewhere in western North Carolina mountain streams, our Euro-nymphing yielded an enviable collection of browns and bows. We had excellent results with a mocha Girdle Bug and a Hot Head Pheasant Tail. In private waters, a funky neon-yellow nymph with a double-bead head captured the imaginations of several rainbows.

This weekend, pack a raincoat because there’s showers in the forecast. For trout, you might try Chasteen Creek, Bradley Fork or the Oconaluftee River (The Luftee) where we’d recommend mop flies, red and pink Squirmy Worms, Purple Hazes, and Stimulators. Or you might try Noland Creek for an enthralling, all-consuming encounter with the natural world.

Bowhunters, just a reminder—archery deer season begins on September 10. To book a bowhunting experience with one of our guides, call us at 1-888-852-6842.

Have wonderful weekends!

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Fishing Report for August 25 to August 31

Now that the weather’s cooling off and the trout aren’t as easily spooked, they’re hitting a variety of dry flies and nymphs, especially in the higher-elevation waters. Some anglers are catching trout with nightcrawlers and spinners, too.

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), the Oconaluftee River (the Luftee) offered plenty of action once we left its warm lower stretch. The brown trout seemed more open-minded about our choice of flies, and we landed a lunker on a purple Duracell. Further up the river, in tight water beneath overhanging trees, the brookies struck our dry-droppers—Stimulators and Thunderheads with Pheasant’s Tails (#12) underneath. In the Little Tennessee River, smallmouth bass smacked soft-plastic Rapalas and Poppers.

On the Tennessee side of the Smokies, the water remains down, but not at drought-level. Our trip to the West Prong of the Little Pigeon yielded ten nice-sized rainbows.

Fishing prospects look good for the weekend. Just downsize your tippet and don’t be afraid to change flies. The trout are biting later in the morning, now that they’re more comfortable, and the lunchtime lull doesn’t begin until nearly a couple hours after noon. Expect the fish to resume feeding around cocktail hour.

Bowhunters, be sure to mark your calendars because archery deer season begins on September 10 and runs until October 2. During this period, deer of either sex may be taken. We offer guided bowhunting experiences, so call us to book a trip at 1-888-852-6842.

Have wonderful weekends!

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Fishing Report for August 18 to August 24

Panther Creek, an uncharted stream of Fontana Lake, is full of rainbow trout! And when the first bow smacked our Thunderhead, no one seemed happier than Sunny, our young canine companion. In the solitude of that untouched stream, our dachshund friend’s amusement was an unexpected perk as we reeled in an impressive afternoon catch.

At Noland Creek, we added Pheasant Tails and Hare’s Ears to our Thunderhead to create a ravishing dry-dropper that snared foot-long browns lying beneath overhanging rocks and behind dead logs. Better water flows and a solid canopy of trees provided ideal cover for wading and more freedom of movement overall.

Now that the Tuckasegee River (The Tuck) is too warm for trout, those fish have relocated to the cooler waters of The Tuck’s Deep Creek tributary. There, another dry-dropper—a Golden Stone Fly (#8) with a green Caddis underneath—helped land us a nice mix of bows and browns; unfortunately, our wades in the Oconaluftee River (The Luftee) proved uneventful due to the excessively warm water and crowds of people.

This weekend should be good for fishing now that the weather’s cooling and the lunchtime lull is shorter. Be sure to pack a rain jacket and keep in mind that feeding patterns will shift somewhat as the fish make adjustments to upcoming seasonal changes.

Have wonderful weekends!

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Fishing Report for August 11 to August 17

Where there’s rain, there’s rainbows, so don’t cancel a fishing trip when there’s showers in the forecast, especially if your destination is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP)!

Even on the Tennessee side, where the water levels are lower and clear, we’ve been catching bows after making adjustments. At the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, we reduced our tippet size, sported neutral colors and moved stealthily as we approached the stream, minimizing our movement while wading as well. Once we arrived at the higher-elevation waters—above 3200 feet—the brookies began to strike. We pretty much stuck to nymphing—Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails—though we also had some luck with Pink Squirmy Worms and Golden Stone Flies. In the Smokies’ section of the Little River, rainbows filled the honey holes at 2500 to 2800 feet.

This weekend, start fishing early, carry a sack lunch and don’t forget your rain jacket. Target the higher-elevation waters and keep moving to cover as much of the stream as possible. After the lunchtime lull, we’d suggest starting cocktail hour with a Light Cahill, and hopefully, that’ll carry you into the sunset.

Have wonderful weekends!

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Fishing Report for August 4 to August 10

We’ve had a blast chasing rainbows in Western North Carolina hatchery-supported waters with Pink Squirmy Worms, Mop Flies and Royal Wulffs. In the Green River, bows lurking in private waters pursued an array of nymphs, especially in shady places; when we switched to spinning gear, they struck black- and teal-colored Rooster Tails. A series of storms from last weekend raised water levels a bit, and by noon, higher-elevation temps topped 65 degrees which is just too warm for trout.

This weekend, bring along a raincoat because afternoon storms are projected, along with a high of 82. Get started early with an eye toward wrapping up by noon. Bring along your Golden Stone Flies and Terrestrials, particularly inchworms, beetles and crickets. If you’re fishing in higher-elevation waters that cool off after dusk, you might try a Light Cahill.

Overall, fishing should be good all around.

Have wonderful weekends!

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Fishing Report for July 28 to August 3

This week we had great fun in the Smokies fishing Straight Fork and the Oconaluftee River (The Luftee). In fact, we’ve never caught so many brown trout in such a short time span. We hit the water early, and overall, the fish struck the Red Squirmy Worm and shunned the pink one. They also smacked terrestrials, especially beetles, ants and hoppers.

One of the Luftee’s hidden gems is Kephart Prong, a tributary where water temps remained in the low-60s. The bows and browns couldn’t stop kissing our sexy dry-dropper—a Red Wulff dry fly with an Olive Midge (#20) underneath. But we owe some of our good fortune to Horace Kephart, the stream’s namesake and an early advocate for the park. Unfortunately, Mr. Kephart died before his dream of a national park came to fruition.

This summer weekend should be just right for fishing. Peak daytime temperatures are expected in the low- to mid-80s, but start early while the water’s cool. Also, water levels have seen a slight drop, so walk softly and wear neutral colors.

Have wonderful weekends!

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Fishing Report for July 13 to July 21

Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) has been on fire this week with bows and browns hitting our funky dry-dropper rig—a Purple Haze dry fly with a Pink Squirmy Worm underneath. The frenzied excitement of non-stop action left one angler addle-brained and blowing kisses at the sky!

This weekend, start your wading no later than 7:00 a.m. because the water will heat up earlier than normal, and the trout will be stressed by lunchtime. Be sure to bring along your Yellow/Golden Stoneflies and terrestrials, too.

At the moment, the Little Tennessee River’s water is up, but super muddy due to the intensity of recent rainstorms; however, by the weekend, the river should be clear enough to float for smallmouth bass. Poppers across the spectrum—yellow, orange, neon, and black—would interest these fish.

By the way, we now offer float trips on the Little Tennessee River. Although this option isn’t currently listed on our website, you can book a float trip and tell us you want to cruise the Little Tennessee.

Have great weekends!

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Fishing Report for July 7 to July 12

Anglers have been reeling in rainbows at Noland Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) where water levels have been ideal due to steady evening rains. This good fortune should remain throughout the weekend in all Western North Carolina (WNC) hatchery-supported streams.

Afternoon temperatures will warm up the lower-elevation waters, so start fishing early and bring along your Red and Yellow Wulffs, Purple Hazes, Olive Midges, and Black Stoneflies (#16). Pink Squirmy Worms have also been popular with the trout. Just for kicks, we tried poppers and landed some smallmouth bass! There’s nothing like fighting a bass on a fly rod!

There’s still time to register for the Tim Hill Memorial Trout Tournament in Cherokee scheduled for Saturday, July 9 to Sunday, July 10. The registration deadline is Friday, July 8 at 11:59 p.m. For $32 ($15 registration fee; $17 two-day permit), anglers will compete for $10,000 worth of tagged fish which can be redeemed for a range of monetary prizes. While in Cherokee, stop by Rivers Edge Outfitters at 61 Big Cove Road. They’ll have whatever gear you need.

Have wonderful weekends!

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Fishing Report for June 30 to July 6

The Fourth of July Weekend is almost here which means free fishing in North Carolina on Independence Day! Residents and out-of-state visitors at any age can fish public waters from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on July 4 without a license. Other regulations would still apply, specifically bait-and-tackle restrictions, along with daily-possession and length limits.

Although waters are low in Tennessee, fishing should be good in Western North Carolina (WNC) hatchery-supported streams where levels are higher and temps are cooler. But get your day started early while the water’s coolest. These days, trout are hitting Caddisflies, Yellow Sallies and Sulfurs. Anglers have had success with Mepps spinners and Rooster Tails, too.

There’s still time to register for the Tim Hill Memorial Trout Tournament in Cherokee scheduled for Saturday, July 9 to Sunday, July 10. For $32 ($15 registration fee; $17 two-day permit), anglers will compete for $10,000 worth of tagged fish which can be redeemed for a range of monetary prizes. And if you need fishing gear while you’re in Cherokee, stop by Rivers Edge Outfitters at 61 Big Cove Road. They’ll have everything you need!

Have wonderful holiday weekends!

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Fishing Report for June 23 to June 29

The water’s a poppin’ with brookies and rainbows in Gatlinburg’s Road Prong, along with most of the other streams and rivers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Look no further than Raven Fork’s Trophy Waters for trout measuring more than eighteen inches!

This weekend, bring along your Yellow Sallies and Yellow Wulffs. That’s what the trout are striking in the Smokies. But get out there early. With daytime highs near the mid-eighties, the waters will be too warm to fish by lunchtime when river temps could reach sixty-five degrees—hot enough to stress out any trout on patrol.

Straight Fork and Cherokee’s Oconaluftee River (The Luftee) look especially promising. Yellow Sallies and dry-dropper rigs should tempt the brooks, browns and rainbows during the cooler hours of the day. Just note that a $10 tribal permit is required to fish in the Cherokee Reservation. If you venture into Raven Fork’s 2.2-mile Trophy Section, you’ll need an additional $25 catch-and-release permit.

Rise early, and enjoy the fishing while the water is coolest. And remember, when it comes to dry flies, yellow is the color for summer.

As always, FISH ON!!!

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