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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is still dark outside and the temperature is 54 degrees.  We slept, or tried to sleep, with the windows open last night.  Tree frog songs provided soothing background noise.  For some reason, on this particular night, a pack of coyotes chose an area in front of our house, to howl.  It sounded like they were on our front driveway.  It didn’t happen just once.  They kept coming back all night.  I bet our cat had a sleepless night too.

Little River is flowing at 784 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.90 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 350 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:18 am is 51.6 degrees.

We have a good chance for scattered light rain through early tomorrow.  I looked at every weather forecast this morning, and none had any idea how much rain we will get.  They are not saying much.  We do know it will be light.  Or, do we?  After all, this is the Smoky Mountains.  What you read is not always what you get.  I don’t think, from what I’ve read, the rain today and tomorrow will be heavy.  One website predicted ¼” of rain today.

Will the water levels continue to fall?  I don’t know.  Little River is receding now. 

Many anglers would consider the current water levels to be not in their preferred range.  They like lower water.  Other anglers like higher water.  The water temperature is great, typical of Spring, which is one week away. The aquatic insects are active.  The trout are active.  Fishing is good if you find suitable water levels.

In our beginner schools, we do not take students on the river if the gauge is reading over 2.5 feet.  Right now, the gauge is reading 2.9 feet, 4/10ths of a foot higher.  That’s not much. If Little River continues to recede, everything will be great.  If not, and the river rises, it won’t.

The gauge is located in a wide area of the river.  An extra foot in depth can be higher than that in narrower spots on the river.  

Anglers will probably do best fishing with nymphs.  That does not mean you won’t do well with dry flies.  I guess, it will depend on where you are and how much rain we get.  Right now, it is just a guess.  I don’t want you to be disappointed, so I’m not making the call.  I wish I could.  Local anglers will be fishing here this weekend, if we don’t get much more rain.  If the water levels drop further, more fishermen will be fishing.

I’ve seen more people visiting our shop, talking about camping at Campsite 28.  It is located on Lynn Camp Prong.  What seems like renewed interest in that site, has to be because Lynn Camp Prong is now open to fishing.  This 8.5 mile stream and its included tributaries, is now a brook trout stream after years of re-introduction work done by the Park Service Fisheries Team and volunteers.  The stream was closed for almost 7 years.

Campsite 28 is located where Lynn Camp Prong has been closed to fishing for as long as I can remember.  For decades, I fished the lower reaches of that stream for rainbows.  Fishing was legal there, until 7 years ago.

At and above Indian Flats, where 28 is located, has been closed to fishing for who knows how long. I’ve been fishing Lynn Camp Prong at least 30 years.  It was closed at and above Indian Flats back then. 

So, I’ve never camped at 28, even when Paula and I did a lot of backpacking.  I’ve been there, just never spent the night.

And, I’ve never fished there.  Maybe I did once.  We were lost that day.  I think we were actually fishing on Indian Flats, which was closed to fishing at the time, but, like I said, we were lost.  I later turned myself in to Steve Moore, the head fisheries biologist.  He verified the fact that we were indeed fishing in a closed stream.  I begged forgiveness, and used my “lost” excuse.  

I heard Dan ask a customer yesterday, who was headed there, if he had a reservation.  I didn’t hear his answer.  A reservation is required to camp.

We’ve got a lot of new fishing gear in the shop.  Yesterday, I picked up a Simms wading staff.  It weighed almost nothing.  I couldn’t believe how light it was.  The shaft appeared to be made from carbon fiber.  I don’t know if this is a new product or not.  All I know is, it is light.

We are expecting another busy weekend at the shop.  It’s a lot more fun, when business is good.  It’s not much fun, when business is slow, like it is in January and February.  I was at Blevins Paint Store in Maryville this week, buying some paint for the boat.  Steve, who owns the store, was smiling ear to ear.  He told me business is booming.  I mentioned to him, “It’s a lot more fun when business is good”.  Steve agreed.  I’ve owned a business for 42 years.  It’s always been that way, fun when business is good.

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

Byron Begley
March 13, 2015

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