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 6:35 am, it is overcast and 48 degrees.  Showers are likely today.  They may linger tomorrow morning.  This weekend will be beautiful.

Little River is flowing at 249 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.05 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 246 cfs.  The water temperature is 53.6 degrees this morning.

Fishing in the Smokies is good.  Trout are taking dry flies well.  Try Light Cahills, Yellow Sally Stonefly patterns and of course, the Yellow Neversink Caddis.  It’s time for the lighter bugs.  Nymphs will work too.  I would use a Pheasant Tail, Green Weenie or Pink Weenie.  The Pink Weenies are awesome for brook trout.

It will be cool until the weekend, then it will warm some.  Fishing will probably be best in the afternoons, but you never know.  The trout are hungry and eager.  If we don’t get much rain, fishing could be excellent this weekend and next week.

TVA will probably generate on the Clinch River all day.  There are breaks in the generation on the Holston at Cherokee Dam today.  Check the TVA website for schedules.

It is almost May and I can’t believe it.  All indications are, the new month will begin with even better fly fishing than we’ve had during the last couple of weeks.  The Smokies streams need to warm a little, especially in the higher elevations.  That should happen next week.  I’ve noticed the higher elevation mountains are beginning to turn green, like it has been down here.  It is beautiful in the Smoky Mountains right now and the temperatures are comfortable.  Wildflowers are blooming, wildlife is active and fishermen are enjoying their days on the streams.

I have not fished lower Little River this year, except way down stream, which I did last week.  I believe next week will be a great time to do that.  Some fishermen are reporting catches of smallmouth bass, largemouth and bluegill in these rivers.  It will only get better. 

I’m not fishing this week.  I’m behind at work and especially, tying Knuckleheads.  I’m planning to do that all day today.  Next week, Paula and I will be fishing often.

I’m studying to be a cartographologist.  Well, Microsoft didn’t like that word.  Lets try cartographer.  That’s better.  I preferred the first word.  It sounds smarter.

All my life I’ve been learning to navigate bodies of water.  It started on the Kentucky River when I was a kid. That was done by trial and error.  When I hit something while driving my boat, I knew to stay away from that place in the future.  Also back then, I was on a first name basis with the guys who repaired propellers.  

Then I learned Herrington Lake and parts of Lake Cumberland. During my stay in Nashville, I learned Percy Priest Lake.

Learning a lake takes time.  Back then, we studied paper maps.  In the early 70’s I bought a Humminbird depth finder, or flasher as we called them back then.  With a map and a flasher, over time, I learned the lake, where to navigate and where to stay out of. 

What I don’t want to do is run the boat into a pile of submerged rocks or timber.

Nearby, where we live, there are 7 major impoundments. They are: Watts Bar, Tellico, Fort Loudoun, Cherokee, Melton Hill, Douglas and Norris.  Further down the Tennessee River are more.  There are some small impoundments on the Little Tennessee River and other small lakes to fish in our area. And, there are the rivers, long stretches below dams, running into yet another impoundment. 

Learning these lakes the old fashioned way would be impossible. There is too much water around here.

I ordered a Humminbird Chart Plotter for the boat.  It should arrive today or tomorrow.  With that piece of gear, you don’t need to learn a lake for navigation purposes.  By looking at a monitor, I will know exactly where I am on a lake and what lies ahead, port, starboard and behind.  You can zoom in or out.  You can see the lake bottom contours and verify those readings on the map with a depth finder.  On any large charted lake around here, I can keep our boat in a channel simply by watching the monitor.  A boat icon indicates where on the map you are.  It even tells you how fast you are going.  And, there is a clock, so you don’t need to wear a watch.  The chart plotter even shows the water temperature.

The Humminbird I ordered comes with built-in lake data software but it is limited.  I’ll need to purchase more in the form of data cards.  I’m looking at a company for that, a company called Navionics.  On that site, I found a map, you can use for free on your computer or mobile device.  CLICK HERE to see it. 

Once the map loads, you can move around America, pick a lake, then zoom in and see the charted lake bottom.  Additionally, you can add a terrain or satellite overlay. Most large impoundments and some rivers are charted, and you can see them on this site.

If you are interested in fly fishing on lakes, you should check this out.

From what I understand, you can also buy a Navionics App for your device, like a smart phone or tablet.  I think it functions like a chartplotter, but you need an internet connection for that to work.  If you get phone service on the lake, I think it will function.  I’m still learning about cartography so I’m not sure about this feature. The Apps cost about $60.  I won’t buy one of those.  I don’t have a smart phone and my iPad only works when I have wi-fi nearby.

Anyway, play with the free map, pick a lake or gulf coast area and zoom in.  It’s fun.  For someone like me, it is addictive.  It’s like Google Earth with lake bottom contours.  To change the overlay, look at the selection box at the top right of the page.  There are zoom buttons or you can do that with your scroll wheel on a computer.

Chart plotters are not new.  They are just new to me.

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

Byron Begley
April 29, 2015

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