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.  The temperature this morning is 42 degrees.  But don’t worry, the high today will be 75 degrees.  This is a perfect fishing day.

Little River is flowing at 699 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.76 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 379 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:50 am is 48.4 degrees and dropping.  The temperature will rise well into the 50’s today, as it did yesterday.  Fishing will be best later today, after the water has warmed further.

The water will warm and the flows will recede today.  The water levels may be higher than you are used to fishing.  Yesterday, they were flowing higher than they are today. 

The guys in the shop were sending anglers who asked to smaller streams.  Dan spent some time with a couple of young guys who were having trout trouble catching trout.  I don’t know exactly what he told them, but I can guess.  They left the shop and drove to the Middle Prong of Little River.  A few hours later they came back to the shop, smiling ear to ear.  They encountered what they called a large hatch of Quill Gordons and Blue Quills.  They both caught several trout.  They said the hatch came on all of a sudden, and trout were rising everywhere.  We saw their photographs taken on their smart phones.  Those young men had a great day and kept thanking Dan for his help.  We always feel good when something like that happens.

Those boys talked to another angler, who said he had caught nothing.

If you go today, you will probably have the same result as those guys did.  Though the water is higher than normal, quite a bit actually, you can do very well.  Pick your spots.  Don’t try to wade across larger rivers or those with fast current.  In fact, wade as little as possible.  Get a good drift with either nymphs or dry flies.  Fishing will be good today.

This is not an easy place to fish for trout.  It may seem easy to those with experience.  They know what to do.  For a fly fishing beginner, or someone new to the Smokies, it is a different matter. 

I believe, the biggest mistake, first time Smoky Mountain anglers make, is trying to cast too far.  They can’t get a good drift.  If their fly is not moving at the same speed as the current it is in, they fly will drag.  It won’t appear natural.  Aquatic insects usually drift with the current, not against it.  If your fly is moving faster or slower than the current it is in, trout will usually not eat that fly.  It seems unusual to the trout.  They are used to watching food float by or drift along with the current on or under the surface. 

The trout in the Smokies were not raised in a hatchery.  They are wild. They were born in these streams.  Their parents and grandparents were born in the rivers.  To survive, they must be wary.  Wary trout live to become sexually mature and pass on their wary genes. 

Having said that, another mistake anglers make here, is spooking the trout.  That is especially true when the streams are flowing lower than they are now.  If a trout sees you, hears you, or if they detect some unusual activity, like a fly line landing on top of them, they are spooked.  Instead of eating your fly, they may swim away from it as fast as they can. 

So, you have to strike a balance of being close to the trout so you can get a good drift, while not doing anything that alerts the trout that danger is imminent.  Wearing clothing that blends in with the surroundings is a great start.  Don’t wear a white t-shirt.  Many anglers wear camo.  Many local fishermen, who we see on a weekly basis, are dressed in camouflage clothing. It may just be a camo shirt or cap.  Wear olive green or brown.  Don’t let those trout see you. 

There are times when you can catch trout in smooth pools.  Maybe a big hatch of aquatic insects are on the water, which can cause trout to throw caution into the wind.  But most times, I catch trout in choppy water.  The chop makes noise and distorts or minimizes their view of the outside world.  I think trout feel safer in choppy water.  I believe, they are more likely to rise to a dry fly, in choppy water.

Slow water, gives the trout too much time to scrutinize your fly and leader.  In faster water, they have to make a split decision or reaction.

At our shop, we enjoy helping fishermen who are new to the sport or new to fishing high gradient, clear mountain streams.  When we give people information, and they are successful, we are happy.  We did our job.  Hey, we had all the same problems when we started fishing here.  We understand the frustrations and the rewards.

It is not easy explaining all the tactics involved in catching mountain trout.  If you are not catching trout this afternoon, CLICK HERE and read something I wrote many years ago.  These 8 points may change your luck.

The weather forecast changed again.  This week was once predicted to be mostly dry and warm.  It will be warm but we will probably get some rain tomorrow and maybe much more on Thursday.  Thursday will be cooler too, with a high in the low 50’s.  One weather website is predicting rainfall amounts at ½ inch.  Friday may be wet too.  The weekend looks great, dry and warm.  Of course, that can all change.

Today will be awesome.  Fishing will be very good, especially this afternoon.

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

Byron Begley
March 16, 2015

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