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 foggy and 48 degrees in Townsend this morning.  We seem to have a lot of visitors.  Even early this morning, I saw several vehicles on the roads.  It’s no wonder people are here.  The weather this weekend is going to be awesome.

Little River is flowing at 224 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.90 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 248 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:05 am is 55 degrees.  Yesterday the water temperature peaked at 60 degrees, late in the afternoon.

If you go fishing today, try to find shaded areas on the river you are fishing.  The water levels are slightly below normal.  Staying hidden from the trout is essential to success.  Wade as little as possible.  Fish the water that is churning with bubbles and ripples.  The trout will be hiding in those places.  You may see suspended fish feeding in clear shaded water.  They are a challenge to catch but they can be caught.  I would concentrate on the choppy water and pockets.

I talked to a guy yesterday who thinks just like me.  He said he was going up to the Middle Prong and sit.  He was going to do some stream watching.  In the evening, when the bugs get active, he would start fishing then, during prime time. What a relaxing way to spend the late afternoon.  

To me, fishing during the last couple of hours of the day is the most rewarding. Not only is that time rewarding in a fish catching way, it is a special time to be on the water. The sun is off the water and activity begins to notch up, a lot.  The water is going to be the perfect temperature late in the day, this time of year.  I wouldn’t fish anything but a dry fly.

When the bats start flying around, catching the mayflies and stoneflies, it’s about time to go home.  Or, you can just sit and watch what’s going on. 

Another special time in the Smokies is early morning.  I was outside early today, listening to the birds.  They are busy trying to find mates.  You don’t hear that much on a trout stream.  The water is the dominate sound and it sounds good.  There is nothing like the sound of a mountain stream.

I love clear nights here.  I moved to Townsend from a city.  In the city, I couldn’t see stars like I can here.  We don’t have light pollution here.  The sky is a vivid showing of planets and stars, sometimes, falling stars.  Paula and I used to lie on the ground in the field below our house and stare into the clear sky. Back then, it was something neither of us were used to seeing.  I guess we take it for granted now.

Today, the fog will burn off and the sun will be bright.  It is going to be warm, about 80 degrees.  Expect the same thing tomorrow.

I would go to the Park prepared with Parachute Adams and Elk Hair Caddis dry flies.  I would probably have some Green Weenies.  You just need something that looks like the many insects that are on the water this time of year.  Matching the hatch is difficult.  There are too many species flying around.  The trout are looking for food and trying not to be food for something else.

Fishing is good.  You won’t be disappointed if you do things right.  Doing it right is really simple.  It doesn’t require long accurate casts.  Here, we make short accurate casts.  More importantly, we get a good drift.  The fly moves along with the current at the same speed, not slower, not faster.  If you stay hidden, wear muted clothing, cast to likely spots and get a good drift, you are going to catch trout in the Great Smoky Mountains when the conditions are like they are right now.

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

Byron Begley
April 26, 2014

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