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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and 38 degrees in Townsend this morning.  There was frost on my boat cover.  It has been a strange year indeed. 

We had three quarters of an inch in our rain gauge this morning.  Little River’s flow increased yesterday as a result of that.  Flow at 8:05 am is 411 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 265 cfs.

To put that into a understandable perspective, yesterday morning the river was flowing near normal at 2.23 feet on the gauge which is located just inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  This morning, the gauge reading is 2.52 feet.  So, the water is up .29 feet or around 3.5 inches.  That is not a lot of height.  That does equate to a lot of flow measured in cfs.  The river is fairly wide at the gauge location.

Also, 3.5 inches makes wading tougher.  Additionally, in narrow stretches of the river, the increased height may be much higher than 3.5 inches.  It does make a difference.  You can still fish.  You may need to change your tactics depending on where you are fishing.  You might want to use nymphs instead of dry flies.

Here is another condition to consider.  Yesterday, the water temperature early in the morning was 60.9 degrees.  This morning, the water temperature is 51.7 degrees, 9.2 degrees colder than it was yesterday at about the same time.  For that reason, I think fishing will be best late in the day.  It is going to be sunny and mild today with a high temperature of 59 degrees.  We have been experiencing high temps in the low 80’s lately. 

It is going to be a very nice day to fish.  Tomorrow morning will be cold again but warmer during the day with an expected high of 65 degrees.

I would go fishing today if I could.  I would not want to fall into 52 degree water.  That will wake you up.

Jack came by yesterday and we talked about smallmouth bass fishing, shellcrackers and Duck Dynasty for a couple of hours.  He is probably fishing for them today with Joe (the bass).  He thinks the bass are getting close to spawning in the lakes.  So, here I am with a boat that won’t run. 

Paula and I were going fishing Wednesday.  Our boat had not been started since last Fall.  I tried and tried to get it started at home before we went fishing and gave up.  I’ll run it over to the dealer Monday.  I hope to be on the water Wednesday.  Lesson learned: Start your boat several times during the Winter.  Put a gallon of fuel in the tank, hook the motor up to a hose and let it run for a minute or two.  Then, pour the fuel into your truck.  Don’t pour the fuel into your truck if it is mixed with oil.  You would do that if you had a 2 stroke engine.  Ours is a 4 stroke and uses straight gasoline.

The smallmouth bass fishing is heating up in the lowland rivers.  That may not be the case this morning due to the colder temperatures.  Wait until later.  Smallmouth bass fishing is also good in the tailwaters.

Catching shellcrackers (read ear sunfish) on a fly rod is a heck of a lot of fun.  I almost always release them. They are great to eat. I may keep a few shellcrackers this year.  Jack verified what I have heard about eating shellcrackers.

First, you cut the filets into wide strips.  Boil the strips in water with “crab boil” spices added to the water.  They taste just like lobster.  Jack says they are better than lobster.  If you dip the strips in cocktail sauce, they taste like shrimp.  I have not tried either.  I will say that shellcrackers or bluegill filets are great when they are fried.  They remind me of grouper.

You don’t want to keep too many shellcrackers.  You can wipe out a colony.  Some friends of mine did that once and the fish have not returned.  I bet they are there this year. 

I use a 4-weight Scott fiberglass fly rod for bluegill and shellcracker fishing.  A 8 inch fish will bend that rod double.  Now that is fun.

Fly fishing is a great sport.  My life revolves around it.  Most people fly fish for trout.  Trout are beautiful, they fight and run, they love dry flies, they eat tiny midges or the big ones will attack a streamer.  It’s hard to beat trout fishing with a fly rod.

I fish for everything with a fly rod from small brookies to tarpon.  Smallmouth bass fishing with a fly is a very exciting sport.  I do more of that then anything right now.  It’s a phase I guess.  Don’t forget carp.  Carp fishing with a fly is a rush.  Fly fishing for largemouth bass is a blast.  The fly fishing opportunities are endless.  I love fly fishing.

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

Byron Begley
April 20, 2013
  

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com

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