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. At 5:57 am, the temperature is 59 degrees.  We got a little rain during the night, for a short time.  What we did not get, is that big storm with high winds and baseball size hail that was predicted.  The storms missed us yesterday and last night, or maybe they never formed.

Dancing Bear cancelled their big bicycle tour yesterday over worries about the storms that were predicted.  We understand that.  We cancel schools often, due to high water or the threat of storms.  Better safe than sorry.  They were worried about lightning and poor visibility.

Little River is flowing at 396 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.40 feet on the flow gauge.  The river is slowly rising.  We don’t know if it will continue to rise, or recede.  We have a beginner fly fishing class today.  At 2.5 feet, we cancel, unless we see the river receding. 

Median flow for this date is 242 cfs.  The water temperature is 57.4 degrees, just about perfect for trout feeding behavior.

We have a chance for showers this morning.  I don’t see much of anything on the radar.  My gut feeling is, the rivers will peak and recede though we won’t know for an hour or so.  I think fishing will be good today, at this point.

Fly fishing in the Smoky Mountains should be pretty good this week.  It is going to be cool at night, with low temperatures in the 40’s.  Highs will be in the 60’s until Friday. Water temperatures will drop.  Then, it will warm and we will enjoy a beautiful weekend.  Fishing should be excellent again next weekend.

I saw a video, on a customer’s phone yesterday, of a pool in Little River.  It was recorded at near dusk the night before.  The pool was alive with rising trout.  They were everywhere, taking insects off the water.  The customer, filming the event, did not catch one trout.  He told me the insects looked like mayflies similar to the March Brown pattern.  I think he witnessed, some sort of spinner fall. 

These trout must have been selective, taking only the spinners laying on the surface of the pool.  Maybe he did not have a close representation of that fly.

Or, maybe he could not catch the trout because the pool was flowing slow.  Those trout probably saw his leader and fly line.  Maybe he had a slight amount of drag in his drift.  I was not there so I don’t know.  If I had been there, I still might not know.  I’ve always had a hard time catching rising trout in a slow pool in the Smoky Mountains.

One thing you might try, if you are ever in this situation, is fly fishing downstream.  You can make what I call a parachute cast, and let the fly and leader drift downstream to the trout.  If you do that, the first thing they see is the fly, not the leader.  Sometimes that works.  Unfortunately, I forgot to tell him that.  Maybe he is reading this report.

We were busy at the shop yesterday.  April has been another good month, despite the high water and rain we’ve had. 

I drove down to Dancing Bear Lodge yesterday to meet Mark Oldham.  He and his wife bought the property, which includes cabins, lots of land and the Apple Valley Farm stores.  He’s a nice guy and had visited our store the day before.  Mark does fly fish.  They have big plans and the improvements have begun.  What they have done so far looks great. 

They are rebuilding the lodge that burned a few years ago.  The stores and grounds are being remodeled.  A large vegetable garden has been planted.  A new restaurant will feature southern cuisine.  The retail stores will be improved.  I was impressed.  This represents a large capital investment of millions of dollars.  The new Dancing Bear Lodge and the Apple Valley Stores will be a very important addition to our town and tourism based economy.

The old Family Inn is under a complete reconstruction project that is moving quickly.  The former motel, which is located on Little River, will be converted from it’s former use, to condominiums.  The condos will be small, about the size of two motel rooms, from what I understand.  They are going to be nice.  That is happening around America.  Condos in destination resort areas make sense.  You don’t have to worry about maintenance or security issues while you are at home.  A friend of mine has a condo in Belgrade, Montana.  Another friend of mine bought a motel in Montana, and she converted it to condos. 

Something is going on at AJ’s Restaurant.  A construction crew is totally remodeling that establishment.  Rumor has it, the new owners are opening a steak house.

I am seeing a change in the movement to one of the most important “F” words in our town, “Food”.  New food establishments are opening.  Older ones are improving.  Some older restaurants don’t need improving.  They are already perfect.

Other important “F” words are Faith, Family, Friends and Fly Fishing.  You can tell by looking at me, Food is a very important part of my life.  I got home last night and Paula had been smoking ribs for hours.  They were great.

So, enjoy your day and hopefully, you will be fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains and dining in Townsend, Tennessee.

Little River peaked and is receding.  We will hold our class and fishermen will be fishing.

Thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
April 26, 2015

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