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 5:20 am and the temperature is 45 degrees.  I awoke sometime during the night to the sound of heavy rain.  It is over now.  Little River is rising, but it’s rise appears to be slow on the gauge chart.

Currently, Little River is flowing at 256 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.07 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 231 cfs.  The water temperature is 53.1 degrees.

I will check the flow later, before this report is uploaded on our server.  We don’t know what happened last night, upstream.  The river could rise further, or peak and fall. Many fishermen, are hoping for the latter.

This is going to be a beautiful weekend, with highs in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s.  The chance for rain Saturday and Sunday is zero.

I keep thinking about Greg from Cincinnati and his two buddies who are camping at Elkmont.  We talked yesterday, commenting that they had finally scheduled the perfect time to be here and fish.  I hope their enthusiasm is not waning right now, as they probably woke to the same heavy rain I heard last night.

Fishing in the Smokies is very good.  Trout are taking dry flies well. The hatches are changing to the lighter colored mayflies and stoneflies.  Plan on using Light Cahill Mayfly and Little Yellow Stonefly patterns.  Our favorite Yellow Neversink Caddis should fill the bill.  The trout think it is a yellow stonefly.  Include some darker patterns in your fly box just in case. 

Most likely, anglers will see water levels near normal this weekend and warmer water.  Right now, we are hoping for that.  This may be the perfect weekend for fishing in the Park.  We will know for sure, in a couple of hours.  Those, camping in the Park now,  know first hand.  They can see the river, if they are awake.

I don’t fish on weekends but I’m looking at the weather forecast intently, for next week.  The weather looks perfect for lake fishing.  I don’t see any windy days so far.  That could change.  The temperature will be warm, in the 70’s to 80’s.

I’m installing new electronics on our boat, a chartplotter/depth finder in the stern and another depth finder on the bow. I’ve got to get that done, before we go next week.  We will be fishing new areas on the lakes, so those navigation devices are essential.

The lowland rivers are fishing better and this weekend will certainly improve their conditions.  Smallmouth bass are taking sub-surface flies.  Soon, they will be rising to poppers and other floating flies.  That’s what I’m waiting for.

According to the TVA website, they will be generating with only one generator at Norris Dam today between 7 am and 5 pm.  The site indicates the generators are off right now.  Norris Lake’s level is at 1,010 feet, the highest level in the expected elevation range.  That is actually at summer pool.  With no rain in the forecast, maybe they won’t be generating much this weekend, which fishermen would love to see.

TVA plans to pulse occasionally today, but overall, it looks like a low water day on the Holston River.  Cherokee Lake, above the dam, is still lower than summer pool, but at the high end of the expected elevation range for this date.  The lake level is higher than it was on this date last year.  In fact, it is almost at the peak level we saw last year.

Check the TVA website before you go.  Generation schedules are subject to change.

TVA has lowered Boone Lake by 30 feet to repair a leak. I can’t find any current information, about when the repair will be finished and the lake filled to it’s normal pool.  From what I hear, boats and marinas are sitting on a dry lakebed in some areas.  Boone is a deep lake in a steep terrain.  I can’t imagine what that situation must be like for the people living there and the businesses that rely on boating and fishing recreation for their revenue.  This brings back memories of Lake Cumberland, which was lowered for about 7 years recently. 

Chilhowee Lake has been lowered 4.5 feet for some dam testing, which has been ongoing for two weeks.  Jack and I launched our boat there last week.  The tires of my boat trailer dropped off the ramp.  Luckily, we were able to get the boat back on the trailer.  Fishing was very slow.  We saw a lot of dry lake bed, in areas where we normally do well this time of year. 

Chilhowee Lake was drained a few years ago, to the original river bed for dam repairs.  I think it was in 2008. I hope that doesn’t happen again.

Good news folks.  Little River peaked and is receding.  The current flow at 6:56 am is 249 cfs, or 2.05 feet on the gauge.  Perfect!  Fishing will be excellent in the Great Smoky Mountains this weekend, at least in this drainage.

Frank Bryant, one of his college buddies and I went to lunch yesterday.  Frank founded Chota Outdoor Gear and he is one of my good friends.  He and his wife Pat, bought a home on a lake in Crossville, on the Cumberland Plateau.  They will be moving in soon.  That amounts to 5 close friends of mine who live in that beautiful area.  The others are David Knapp and Mike and Donna Stump.  I’ve got a feeling, Paula and I will be spending more time in the Crossville area.  I love that place.  I just put new tires on the boat trailer.  We’re ready to go.

Dan Munger told me yesterday, he is helping organize a fly fishing club in Crossville.  They already have about 60 interested people.  Dan lives here, but he likes getting involved in anything having to do with fly fishing, no matter where it is.  Just this week, he helped Project Healing Waters with a large event in Sevier County. 

I think it takes us about 1.5 hours to drive to Crossville.  Of course, David Knapp is involved in organizing this club.  I sent Frank Bryant an e-mail last night, telling him about it.  I’ll try to reach Mike Stump today.

The Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, offers many and varied fly fishing opportunities from small lakes to free flowing rivers.  Not far away, are Lake Cumberland and the Cumberland River tailwater. Dale Hollow Reservoir and the Obey River are not far from Crossville. The Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, under supervision of the National Park Service is nearby.  What a great place to live and visit.  Paula and I have actually taken fishing vacations to the Plateau, more than once.  We love it there.  It’s close to here.

If you love fly fishing, it’s hard to beat living here.  To me, Crossville and the Cumberland Plateau would be a close second.

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

Byron Begley
May 1, 2015

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