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 44 degrees this morning.  When I drove home last night after work, I noticed that the trees in the higher elevations are getting green again.  It is interesting to watch the green/grey line move up the mountains in the Spring.  Our house is at 1,200 feet elevation.  The mountains we see from our house peak at 3,200 feet elevation.  The green/grey line is half way up or about 2,200 feet elevation.  There are a few trees near the top that are green.  I don’t know, maybe you just have to be there.

The stream levels are dropping to a reasonable level.  Little River is flowing at 361 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 263 cfs.

The water temperature is a different story altogether.  This morning at 8:00 am the water temperature below the “Y” on Little River is 49.3 degrees.  Yesterday that number peaked at 55 degrees.  Last week there were days when the water temperature at that low elevation location exceeded 60 degrees. 

Colder water usually slows down the fishing.  It is going to be sunny and warm today with a high of 67 degrees.  The water will warm.  So, fishing should be better later in the day.  I think the trout and the aquatic insects will be more active late in the afternoon until dark.

Anglers are seeing more light colored mayflies and Yellow Sally stoneflies on the water.  These insects comprise phase two of the Spring hatches.  There is a hodgepodge of active aquatic insects hovering over and floating on the streams.  When that happens, fly pattern is of less importance unless you encounter a really large hatch of one species.

Right now you might do well using a Light Cahill or Yellow Neversink Caddis.  More likely you will do better using a Parachute Adams.  Other patterns should work.  Nymphs will work.  Terrestrials might work. 

We are getting to the point in time where you will see more insect activity just before dark. Those are special times.  There is nothing quite like watching these bugs suddenly emerge or arrive in large numbers just before dark.  The trout feel comfortable rising to the surface under the cover of darkness.  It may not really be dark in the valley.  The sun usually goes behind a mountain in the Smokes early when you are on a stream.  That’s my favorite time of the day to be on a river, at dusk.

The good news is, the smallmouth bass were very active and some of my friends are catching some huge fish.  Yesterday, I saw a picture of Josh holding a smallie that measured 21” and weighed 6 ½ pounds.  Gary caught one that was 19 ½ inch long and weighed 5 pounds approximately.  The bad news is, this cooler water put them down temporarily.  Looking ahead at the weather forecast, we should see the smallmouth bass fishing pick up again this week in the lowland rivers.

I didn’t ask where these guys were fishing.  I don’t do that to my friends.  They know that part of my job is being a blabbermouth, first thing in the morning right here on this page. 

Jack has been bringing up this place he floated over accidentally.  Looking down in the clear water he saw some huge smallmouth bass swimming away as fast as they could.  He struck gold.  He brings it up from time to time, talking about going back and not seeing those fish anymore.  He mentioned it Friday afternoon right here in my office for about the 10th time. 

Did I ask him specifically where that location is?  Nope.  I never ask. Did he tell me this time where he is talking about?  Nope.  He did not offer that information.  I’ll find out the next time we go fishing together.  It will be his surprise for me. I don’t want to know until I’m there.  I do think about it a lot though. “The suspense is killing me”.

It’s just not the same, hearing about a special place where big fish live when you are sitting in a building.  What makes the whole story elevate to the top, is when you shut off the engine, drift to a certain point, and Jack says “We are here”. 

Fly Fishing enjoyment is directly akin to anticipation.  It’s the “Not Knowing” that brings us back.  Pessimists should not take up the sport.  It’s not right for you. If you are prone to a positive mental attitude, fly fishing is for you.  Actually, all fishing is for you.  I don’t know how many thousands of hours I sat and watched a bobber when I was a kid.  That slight twitch gets your heart pumping.  When the bobber disappears it’s the thrill you have been waiting for.  Those were the days.

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

Byron Begley
April 21, 2013

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