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.  At 6:37 am, it is foggy and 58 degrees.  It will soon be dawn and I’m looking forward to the day.  It is going to rain.  We have a 90% chance for thunderstorms.  One weather website warns of small hail today.  The high temperature will be around 76 degrees.

Little River is flowing at 531 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.65 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 368 cfs.  The water temperature is 53.1 degrees this morning.

A gauge reading of 2.6 feet is fairly high.  The rivers are flowing strong. For now, the flow in Little River has peaked.  We may see more rain today, so be on the lookout for rising water if you go fishing.  Be careful wading.  Pick your spots.  Don’t take chances.

This seems like a nymphing day to me.  I would choose a smaller stream.  The water temperature is good.  Fishing should be good for those who know how to fish in higher than normal Spring flows. 

We have a chance for rain every day, through the week until Saturday.  The weekend looks great right now, if we don’t have high water.  That remains to be seen.  Paula and I plan to fish tomorrow.  We should expect isolated thunderstorms.  We’ll be on the lake, hoping that doesn’t happen.  We planned to fish Thursday too.  It may be windy.  Wind keeps us off the lakes.

Evidently, that cold front, that moved in late last week, put a damper on fishing.  I heard from a friend of mine from Middle Tennessee.  He was here.  He found fishing to be slow.  He also found Lynn Camp Prong to be loaded with fishermen, so crowded, he could not find a spot to fish. 

The cold front also nearly took a Birmingham, Alabama man’s life this weekend.  He, his son, and son in law, were hiking the Appalachian trail when the rain storms and cold air caught them by surprise.  The older of the three, became severely hypothermic.  The two younger men went for help.  They returned to find the older man alive.  He was airlifted out the next morning and survived to tell his story.  You can read it on the WBIR website by CLICKING HERE.

The combination of high water and hypothermia can get you into a dangerous situation.  Getting stranded, on the other side of a river from the road, and your truck, is scary, and it happens. Fishermen wade across, and the water comes up.  You can’t get back across.  Maybe you are wet.  Maybe the air is cool.  You may have two choices.  Take a chance trying to wade back, or bushwhack to a bridge.  Bushwhacking along the banks of some of these rivers would be nearly impossible for me.  Don’t get yourself into that situation.

You may read a weather report, that indicates warm weather.  It’s a lot colder in the high elevations.  It’s 58 degrees in the valley right now.  It may be in the 40’s higher up in the mountains. 

When we have thunderstorms in the forecast, I do my fishing from the road side of the river.  If the water comes up, I can walk to the truck.

One of the most essential fly fishing techniques you can learn, is casting across your body.  This is a term I made up so I’ll explain.  Let’s say you are a right handed caster, looking upstream.  The river bank is on your right.  All the tree limbs are on your right.  You have limbs hanging overhead.  You want to cast upstream.  So, you cast on your left side, with your right arm to avoid the obstacles.  The rod moves across your body. 

It takes practice.  I took a young man fishing one time.  He was an experienced fly fisherman.  We were on the right bank looking upstream.  We were at a beautiful stretch of water.  I told him to fish that stretch.  What did he do?  He waded across the stream so he could cast.  He had not learned to cast across his body.  So, every time he fished a stream, he had to do it from the left bank looking upstream. 

I have no idea how many people know how to cast across their body. Maybe everyone does. I don’t know how many people can’t cast this way.  Maybe there are more than I think.  I do know this.  If you can’t, learn how.  I remember when I couldn’t.  I can’t remember when I learned how.  I think I probably cast across my body more often than I cast on my right side, when fishing in these small streams.  Of course, learning to roll cast well can really improve your fishing skills.

If you really want to improve your life, learn to cast equally well with either hand/arm.  That’s way too advanced for me.

Fishermen here, cast to the side more often than they do overhead.  Overhead casting is something you usually learn first when you are a beginner.  Once you start fishing in these tight streams, casting side arm, on either side, is the way it is usually done.  If you don’t, you will be hung in trees all day. There is nothing more frustrating than that.

I’m hoping we don’t get much rain and fishing is great all week.  If you plan to fish here, you are hoping the same thing.  This is a weather dependent sport, no doubt about that.  When I’m planning my work week, I look at the weather first.  Then, I pick a fishing day first, and work around that.  We don’t fish on weekends. I always work on weekends, when the pleasure boaters are on the lakes and wade fishermen are on the rivers.

When I used to fish around my work schedule, I didn’t get to fish as often because of the weather.  I’m nearly 64 years old.  That is not going to happen anymore.

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

Byron Begley
April 7, 2015

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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