Fly Fishing Reports

Fly Fishing Reports

December 2017

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One of the biggest factors facing the region for December has been all of the excellent conditions! We normally have on wool hats and jackets this time of year in the morning. Five of the past Seven days has been perfect temps for Bryson City. The water temps mid day have been hitting mid-50’s! Trout are “HAPPY” on the Delayed Harvest. The forecast is calling for cooler weather next week which keep conditions prime! The trout are plentiful but head out mid-day if you go for trout on the Delayed Harvest waters!

If you are fortunate to be here during 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!

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Streams (Deep Creek)

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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 cold.  Cool air temps have already hit 50 degrees and lower hinting that Fall is near. Check out the hatch report for typical bugs coming off for the Fall season. Favorite patterns into the fall can be small parachutes or the October Caddis for dries. Nymphs that still work well include mostly terrestrials like ants, beetles, inchworms, and yellow jackets.

Lower Nantahala River

The lower Nanty rarely disappoints with some great fishing! September can be great still with a bit more focus on the dry fly bite that becomes a daily occurrence. It is fantastic regardless of generation schedules. 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.

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!

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 fly fishing reports are updated near the middle of each month to provide you with info on what you may need for your fly fishing adventure. You can tell that Fall and DH are near this time of year! You may check the stocking schedules for all of the Delayed Harvest Streams at the NC Wildlife site.

We are looking forward to the crowds returning that first week of October to experience some fantastic fishing on the Tuckasegee. There is also a festival that includes Casting Carolina Comp, FFI, and a street fly fishing festival on the 8th of October.

The majority of trips have ignored the hatches and stayed on either streamer bite or larger attractor nymphs. The water temps have remained cold still so the fish tend to respond to the attractor nymphs much better than going natural. During the overcast days, we have had decent dry fly activity on BWO’s.


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 April. The activity of bugs popping off really depends on the air temps as well. Dress accordingly during the Fall because it can get chilly depending on the wind.