Smokies Fishing Report 5/31/21


Smoky Mountains

Water Levels

Little River: 164cfs / 1.89 feet
Pigeon: 359cfs / 1.90 feet
Oconaluftee: 361cfs / 1.60 feet
Cataloochee: 66cfs / 2.44

Water Temperatures (approximate)

Low elevations: 60 – 63 degrees
Mid elevations: 58 – 62 degrees
High elevations: 56 – 58 degrees

Current Conditions

We had another good week of fishing. Water had been getting a bit low for this time of year but we got a little help on Friday. It receded quickly and we could use a little more… particularly on the North Carolina side. Water temperatures are great and fish are active on most streams.

Projected Conditions

A little milder week ahead and we do have a little rain in the forecast toward the second half of the week. Expect conditions to remain pretty constant if not slightly improve in the coming days.


With days getting warmer, expect better fishing early and late in the day, especially at lower elevations. High elevations should fish pretty well all day. A stealthy approach is always a good idea in the Smokies but will become even more important as water levels continue to drop.

Hatches/Fly Suggestions

We are firmly into “yellow season,” when most everything hatching is yellow in color. Look for bigger numbers of sulphurs (#16), Light Cahills (#14-12) and Yellow Sallies (#16) over the next month.

As always, a good selection of attractors will get you through most situations. Parachute Adams, Parachute Hares Ears, Thunderheads, Adams Wulffs and Royal Wulffs always do pretty well. But as mentioned above, you’ll want to be sure to have some dry flies in yellow. A Neversink in #16 – 14 is a staple for me. So is a Yellow Stimulator. I’d also have a selection of Parachute Sulphurs and Cahills.

For nymphs, try Hares Ears, Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns and Tellico Nymphs. And with so much stuff hatching, now is a pretty good time to start experimenting with soft hackles. Check out my Hatch Guide for complete hatch information.

We’re also on the front end of terrestrial season. As things warm, fish will begin feeding a lot on ants and beetles. Inchworms are becoming more abundant as well and a Green Weenie can be a killer this time of year. It’s a great fly to drop off a dry fly.

Featured Fly

The Doculator is the creation of New Mexico fly guide, Doc Thompson. It floats well, it’s yellow and fish dig it. It’s as if Doc had the Smokies in mind when he came up with this one!

Doculator Dry Fly

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