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

Welcome to the  Fly Fishing Report.  It is foggy in Townsend and the Great Smoky Mountains this morning.  The temperature is on the cool side.  We are going to have a beautiful day in East Tennessee.  It will be sunny and in the mid 70’s.  Paula and I were going fishing today but I couldn’t get off work.  I will be ordering merchandise instead.  Maybe I can go later this week. 

Little River looks great.  The water level is dropping very slowly.  The ground is saturated and the aquifer is high.  We are in for a dry spell and that’s probably a good thing.  Flow today is 485 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 346 cfs.  The water temperature was 54 degrees at 7:55 am this morning.

People were reporting slow fishing yesterday.  I don’t know why.  Even guides Rob Fightmaster and Josh Pfeiffer said it was slow.  They both had some beginner fly fishing students on the river yesterday.  This was part of our two day school.  One student told me last night he caught two trout.

Fishing can’t be slow for long.  Trout have to eat.  Feed them a Parachute Adams or March Brown for a dry fly.  Give them a Bead Head Pheasant Tail for a nymph.  Today, you might just find the fish going crazy. The weather is going to be good, water temperatures are OK and that will get better this afternoon.  

Josh fished lower Little River last week for smallmouth bass.  He said the fishing was not that good.

I heard yesterday the shellcrackers are spawning on Kentucky Lake.  According to those in the know, that is several weeks early.  I wonder if they are spawning here?  I know how to find out.  I do know that they were not spawning last week on the lake I fished.  Or, they were not in the usual spot that I check often.

If you have not fly fished for shellcrackers or redear sunfish, you are missing something.  These fish fight better for their size than anything I have ever caught except for a smallmouth bass.  Wikipedia reports the largest known shellcracker is 17 inches.  Can you imagine that?  The shellcracker is the oldest known species of the sunfish, dating back 16 million years. 

The shellcracker is a beautiful fish.  I’ve never seen one even close to 17 inches but I aspire to do just that.  I might keep a 10 wt fly rod in the boat just in case.

The Daily Times published an article on the front page this morning about our efforts to re-build Laurel Lake.  Read the Article Here .  It is interesting to see what we will have to go through to ensure safety, mitigate wetlands and protect water quality downstream.  I am all for that.  In these times, building a small lake requires permits, environmental assessments and a lot of engineering work. 

This project is one of the few I’ve worked on that seems to be 100% supported by the public.  I have only heard a handful of concerns and no opposition.

Blount County native Senator Lamar Alexander has been working to reverse the proposed closing of two National Fish Hatcheries, Dale Hollow and Erwin.  I saw a letter recently from the Senator, expressing concerns and vowing to help.  Well he did what he said he was doing to do.  And for now, the trout hatcheries will remain open.

I read one quote in the Johnson City Press from the Senator that really struck home to me.  He said, “I once noticed that the number of Tennesseans  who have hunting and fishing licenses exceeded the number who voted in a recent election, so this is serious business for us.”  What a guy.  Lamar is a fly fisherman too.  Great job Senator! This makes me even prouder that "Lamar Alexander Parkway" runs through our town and by our fly shop.

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

Byron Begley
March 26, 2012

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