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.  It is 4:38 am.  Last night at 8 pm, our internet service, here at home, crashed.  I knew I had to get this report done this morning.  It’s my day off. Jack Gregory will be here early.  If the internet was still down this morning, I would have to go to the shop to dig out the data, look for news, write the report and shoot it up to our remote server.  After all of that, I would come home, hook up the boat, and go fishing with Jack.  That’s why I’m up so early.  Also, I’m suffering from pre-fishing anticipation syndrome, an affliction I’ve had all my life.  One symptom is insomnia. 

The internet is running at our house now.  But even on my day off, with a day of fishing ahead, I write this report.  Some people think this takes a few minutes.  I don’t move that fast.  Often, this report takes two hours.  I have promised many people, over the years, this report will continue to be done on a daily basis.  It’s been that way since 2007.

It is chilly this morning, 47 degrees.  Today will be sunny, with a light breeze and a high of 66 degrees.

Little River is flowing at 555 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.69 feet on the flow gauge in Townsend.  Median flow for this date is 242 cfs.  The water temperature is 54.5 degrees.

Little River, downstream at the Maryville Gauge is flowing at 965 cfs.  Median flow there for this date is 443 cfs.  I’m looking at that gauge, because Jack and I may fish lower Little River today, way downstream, below Maryville.

The water levels in the Smokies streams have receded to a reasonable level.  Fishing should now be easier and better in the mountains.  Little River is still on the high side.  You may do fine with dry flies in the smaller streams.  I would use nymphs with some weight in the larger rivers.  I don’t know what the streams look like this morning but currents will be swifter than normal for this date.

We have a zero chance for rain today and tomorrow.  Fishing will get better.  The rivers will drop. 

This weekend does not look great right now.  We have a 100% chance for thunderstorms Saturday, and an 80% chance for showers Sunday.  I don’t know if that will happen but that is what the weather websites indicate. 

I tied some Clouser Minnows last night.  I think we’ll be fishing for white bass today.  It’s been so long, I almost forgot how to tie a Clouser.  I threw the first one away before it was finished.  I learned to tie a Clouser from Bob Clouser.  One funny story still comes up from time to time.  Bob was tying at an event, at our store.  Someone, I don’t know who, was watching him tie a Clouser Minnow.  The person’s comment to Bob was, “That’s not exactly the way it is tied.”  Evidently, that person didn’t know who he was watching tie.  Bob was cool about it and told the man, “there are many ways to tie a Clouser Minnow”.

The warmwater fish are spawning or preparing to spawn, everywhere you look.  Carp are in the mud flats, white bass have moved into the rivers to spawn and smallmouth bass are preparing to do the same, in the rivers and lakes.  Trout species spawned last fall and early this Spring.  That’s over.  I’ve always heard, bluegill and shellcrackers spawn during the first full moon in May around here.  Some people say smallmouth bass spawn during that moon phase.

Research has shown that smallmouth spawn based on the water temperature.  I can’t remember what that temperature range is right now without looking it up. Those fish spawn at different times, in the same body of water, depending on the water temperature.  They begin their reproductive activity at different times in different lakes or rivers, depending on the temperature, even when those bodies of water are nearby.  Like most fish, spawning occurs earlier in the south, than it does in the northern states.

Understanding fish behavior is essential to being a good fly fisherman and catching more fish, if that is your goal.  We should understand reproductive behavior.  That’s an overwhelmingly important factor.  Feeding behavior is certainly essential.  How does light intensity, or the lack thereof, and water clarity play into the game?  How do fish behave based on how their food source behaves?  We talk about that all the time.  We talk about hatches.  Water temperature is of utmost importance.  How do the moon, sun and barometer affect fish behavior?

It’s complicated and most of us don’t know it all, for sure.  We go fly fishing when we can.  Knowing enough about fish behavior, gives us a list of excuses for a slow fishing day when recounting to someone, why we got skunked.  That is an excellent reason to know something about fish behavior.  But really, the more we know about fish behavior, the more fish we will catch.  And, it makes our sport more interesting. 

At this point in my life, I just want to go fishing more, be with friends or my wife, and enjoy my days on the water. 

And that is what I intend to do today.

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

Byron Begley
April 23, 2015

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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