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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and 53 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I have been in Central Kentucky since Thursday.  The difference in the foliage since I left and what I saw this morning is significant.  The redbuds are in full bloom.  May apples have emerged and grown tall.  It seems they have spread out a little too.  The trees in the valley have pale leaves.  Central Kentucky’s Spring is usually about two weeks behind us in the Smokies lower elevations. 

It seems Little River had a spell of high water last week.  The flow is dropping.  Right now, flow is 450 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 297 cfs.  The flow gauge is reading 2.6 feet.  That is a little high but fishable.  Some people like that flow.  Others prefer lower water.  The water temperat at 8:05 am is 52 degrees.

From what I’ve heard, since I returned to the mountains is, the fishing has been on the slow side.  We had a couple of cold nights and high water.  It is April.  April is unpredictable and fishing conditions change often.  Anglers are catching trout in the Smokies.  Fishing is not excellent yet.  Bill just told me he had a good evening fishing on Thursday before the storms moved in.  He caught several trout on nymphs then all of a sudden, he started catching them on dry flies.  He said there were no hatches at that time on the Middle Prong.

I’m also hearing the hatches are changing to the “Second Spring Phase” in the lower elevations.  March Browns are a very important hatch down here.  The first phase of Quill Gordons and Blue Quills is most likely occurring at the high elevations.  The guys in the store have been recommending March Browns, Elk Hair Caddis and Hendricksons.  They are also telling anglers to use a Parachute Adams. A few Yellow Sally stoneflies have been spotted.

We have some excellent fishing weather ahead.  High temperatures will range between 75 degrees today to the low 80’s through Thursday.  Lows will be in the 50’s and 60’s during that period.  Then, it will cool off some.

Lower Little River looked high late yesterday afternoon when we drove by on our way home from Kentucky.  The water was clear but some of my favorite smallmouth bass spots looked to be difficult to wade.  In a day or so that will improve.  The water temperature is going to be perfect in the lowland rivers for smallmouth bass.

I really hope smallmouth bass fishing on the lakes with a fly rod will get better now.  It should.  According to the conventional tackle anglers, the lakes are warming up, especially in the creeks.  I have to get that information from non-flyfishers.  There are not enough lake fly anglers participating in the sport to report much online.  The conventional bass anglers are loaded with electronic equipment on their bass boats.  They report all kinds of data that is helpful to a lake fly fisherman like me.  I see improvement and smallies in shallow water in the very near future (I hope).

Josh was talking to some TWRA biologists the other day.  They were doing some population sampling on lower Little River.  They told him the population of rock bass in Little River offered the highest density in the State.  The quality of these panfish are at the top in Little River too.  Rock bass don’t fight like a smallmouth.  I catch a lot of them in the river when I’m fishing for smallmouth bass.  I’ll tell you one thing, drift a chartreuse Knucklehead over a rock bass and that fish will attack.

I spent 4 days this week with Mouse, Dwayne, Frank, Ronnie and Brad at the hunting camp in Kentucky.  The camp is owned by Frank.  He has 200 acres in the middle of nowhere with an unbelievable cabin and other amenities except for one thing, electricity.  Wild turkey season opened there on Saturday.

Ronnie and I met Frank at the camp Thursday.  The first job at hand was to dig a new latrine.  We actually call it something else.  We use a PTO powered post hole digger attached to Frank’s tractor.  After drilling 2 or 3 holes, we remove the dirt with hand-held post hole diggers.  We have a commode seat built onto a wooden frame that is placed over the trench. 

Then we split wood for the wood stove in the cabin.  That wore me out.  Next, we turned on the water from the two large tanks on the hill above the cabin and the barn.  We have showers at both locations.  Frank lit both propane water heaters.

I vacuumed the cabin using a shop vac powered by a Honda generator.  The cabin is lighted by a bank of 6 volt batteries and propane sconces.  In the kitchen, we have a propane stove, oven and refrigerator. 

Brad and I didn’t hunt.  We slept in every morning and squeezed in a nap during the day.  There were turkeys everywhere, gobbling like crazy but none were killed.  Ronnie had a huge gobbler standing 10’ from his blind yesterday morning but he could not get a shot at him.  The guys saw plenty of birds but none were harvested.  We have been hunting there for 15 years.  We didn’t get a bird the first two years.  Frank and I didn’t know what we were doing.  Ronnie started going with us and our luck changed, around due to his skills.  We almost always shoot at least one turkey.  Not this year.

I think we killed all the dumb turkeys over the years.  Those that were left were very wary.  Their offspring are wary.  I believe natural selection has made it harder to leave the camp with a cooler full of turkey.  The turkeys are there, they are just harder to shoot.

I’m used to seeing turkeys at our house that are so tame and mentally challenged, I almost back over them in our driveway.  Turkey hunting at our home would not be much of a sport.  I could just sit on the porch and pick them off.  The birds we are hunting in Kentucky are from a select gene pool and the dummies have been culled.  It’s a whole different game. 

It’s good to be home and now I’m ready to go fishing.  I hope you are going fishing too.

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

Byron Begley
April 15, 2013

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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