Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. At 5:11 am, the temperature is 28.9 degrees. Expect rain showers today and a high temperature of around 50 degrees. It will be warmer tonight than we have experienced lately and rain should continue. Saturday, and through the weekend will be cooler.

Little River is flowing at 173 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.76 on the gauge. Median flow for this date is 288 cfs. The water temperature is 38.3 degrees.

Streams in the Smoky Mountains will warm some today but not warm enough to improve fishing much. I don’t think that will happen this weekend. The water will likely stay on the chilly side and the fish will not be very active. I could be wrong. The rain may warm the water more than I think.

If you go, use nymphs, weighted and dredging the bottom of the streams. If you see trout suspended, fish your nymphs higher in the water column.

If the water temperature reaches the mid to upper 40’s, fishing will be better. I just can’t tell right now, what will happen.

Tennessee Valley Authority will be generating all day today at Norris and Cherokee dams. This will not be a good day to wade fish on the Clinch or Holston rivers.

Tomorrow will be a great day to visit the shop.  Jack Gregory and Rex Wilson will be tying flies and talking about their fly fishing experiences. This is a free event. All you have to do is show up. They will be demonstrating between 10 am and 2 pm. These guys are awesome. You can read more about Jack and Rex by CLICKING HERE. You will learn a lot about our sport from Jack and Rex.

In yesterday’s report, I wrote about other species to fish for with a fly rod. I wrote about using boats and fishing alternative waters, such as lakes and lowland rivers.

A few years ago, I began fishing more often for smallmouth bass. For decades before that, I fly fished mostly for trout and saltwater species. Maybe I was ready for something new.

At the same time, guide Josh Pfeiffer concentrated his business partly, to taking clients on smallmouth bass float trips. That part of his business grew quickly. You can visit Josh’s website by CLICKING HERE.

Josh and I are friends, and we fished together several times. I learned from him. I highly recommend you book a smallmouth bass fly fishing trip with Josh. You will have the time of your life, especially if the fish are very active. He knows where to take you and what flies and techniques work best. I consider him an expert.

My friend Jack Gregory has always loved fly fishing for smallmouth bass. He is good at it. One day, we caught 83 smallies, all on surface flies in a lake. We went back a week later and caught over 60. We were fishing in very clear water. We watched almost every bass take our flies. Those were two days I will never forget.

Paula quickly became an avid smallie fly fisherman. We bought a boat, made for fishing on lakes and that became a way we spend much of our free time. Many other friends of mine started fishing for smallmouth bass. We all shared information, places to go, and we fly fish together.

The popularity in kayak fishing drew anglers to lowland rivers, where these fish live. If you don’t have trout water nearby, try fly fishing for smallies. You can wade or float these lowland rivers.

I believe there are three primary reasons I love this sport so much.

One is, you are often sight fishing. You see the fish first, then try to catch him. We all know how much fun sight fishing is, whether your are targeting trout or any other fish. There is just nothing like sight fishing.

The second reason I love smallmouth fishing is, they can often be caught on surface flies. Seeing a fish first, casting a floating fly to the fish, and watching it rise to the surface to take your fly is the ultimate fly fishing experience to me. I love it.

Third, is the fight. Nothing fights like a smallmouth bass. Even a small, one-pound fish, will give you a battle that surprises you every time. I use 6 and 7 weight fly rods with 8 to 10 pound tippet, and I still worry about breaking off. 

There are other reasons. I like tying smallmouth bass flies. I love where they live. Sometimes they will sip your fly off the water they way a trout would. Other times, the strike is a ferocious attack. You get a lot of refusals. Other times, you may miss a strike, cast right back to the same fish, and catch him.

I am getting older. Wading small streams is not as easy for me as it used to be. That is one reason I enjoy fly fishing from a boat. I am on a stable platform, and can get up and walk around. I can fish from the sitting position. I have everything I need, right there, on the boat. I love creeping around using a trolling motor. Our boat has two, one in the bow and one on the stern.

If you are getting interested, CLICK HERE and read a 6-page article I wrote on the subject. In this article, on our website, is a lot of information I learned from personal experiences, learned from friends and read.

If you don’t fly fish for smallmouth bass, maybe it is time to give it a try.

Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
January 15, 2016

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