Fly Fishing Reports

Fly Fishing Reports

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July 2018

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The trend still for early July has been rain showers practically every day! Hatches in the region have slowed down for the most part with the exception of yellow sallies and early morning tricos. The staple foods this time of year shift toward a terrestrial diet. This includes inchworms, beetles, ants, crickets, and if you have enough fields near the watershed even small hoppers.

The rain events have been a win for keeping the water temps cooler which means the waters are fishing great for trout into July. The water has remained cooler than the past few decades for early July. It may turn out to be one of the most productive years all around in a long time.

If you are fortunate to be here during the high water periods, you can have great success throwing streamers in the park. Usually though, the reality of living here for 34 years people tend to fish when the weather is perfect outside. I rarely ever see folks on the park waters when fishing for large browns is at its best! Catch the water increases flow with slight color for best results on the streamer bite.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Streams (Deep Creek)

NC License

Rain events have been plentiful throughout the park thus far for the annual rainfall. The good news is that the rain causes the park streams to rise and fall rather quickly. The park streams rarely run off dirty water like the DH streams near more man-made development areas. Nymph fishing has been very good early in the morning or all day long if the temps remain cool. Check out the hatch report for typical bugs during your visit.

Lower Nantahala River

The lower Nanty rarely disappoints with some great fishing! The main trick is numbers will increase when there is no generation by fishing smaller size flies. It is common to stay on #18 and smaller when it is low water. Probably the most common mistake is to fish in a hurry on low water. The trout are heavily pressured and remain wary more than normal as a result. Flies that are too large tend to send more fish to cover than produce results on low water conditions.

One of the main benefits of the lower is that it usually runs clearer than most of the other larger rivers in the area. It tends to fish great year round! This week has many people on the water for the 4th of July which is one of the busiest weeks of the year. It will be crowded during the day so venture out at daylight! For that matter, all the waters fish better early this time of year.

When there is full generation then #10 -#16 size flies are common. The streamer game can be great when the timing is right and the fish willing to chase. Looking forward to tossing the big stuff in a few days. Pay attention a few days before and after the new moon phases if streamers are your game! Here is a moon chart if you get curious.

Tuckasegee River Delayed Harvest 

The Delayed Harvest program runs between the first Saturday of October and closes on the first Saturday of June. There still plenty of nice trout, however, remaining on the streams that still have water temps below mid 60s. You may check the stocking schedules for all of the Delayed Harvest Streams at the NC Wildlife site.

The river usually fishes better with attractor patterns over matching hatches. However, small flies deep can produce better when fishing pressure remains high.  Small stretch tubing flies such as the BWO nymphs are excellent choices.


Small #20 BWO Nymphs common for the Wild Streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Upper Nantahala River

The upper Nanty has trout dispersed all over likely holding locations! The upper usually produces some of the best hatches to be found in all of western NC! The same bugs you find coming off in the National Park can be found on the Upper-just more prolific!

Use the hatch report to find out what may be happening during July. The activity of bugs popping off really depends on the air temps as well. The upper Nanty took a real beating a few backs with some of the largest CFS flows in a very long time. The road damage was significant but it has been repaired now. Smaller patterns produce much better during the summer months. Terrestrials are also excellent choices all summer long.