Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina
Welcome to the Fly Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee. It is sunny at 72 degrees at 7:45 am. Wow! This feels like Summer. The high today is supposed to be 88 degrees. Traffic was light in town during my morning commute.
Little River is flowing at 251 cubic feet per second (cfs). Median flow for this date is 261 cfs. It has not been often this year, that the flow has been below normal. That has been rare. What we have is what many people think is the perfect flow. I like the river a little higher for fishing and canoeing. There is still plenty of water.
The water temperature at 7:45 am was 62 degrees. And yesterday the high temperature was 65.5 degrees. Both of those numbers will certainly climb this week. We are expecting high temperatures in the 80’s until late next week. Today should be the hottest of the next 10 unless things change.
Fishing is good in the Smokies. Nymphs in the morning and dries later in the day should be your strategy. That may change as morning temperatures become warmer. You might try dry flies in the mornings and see what happens. And, you may want to move to a higher elevation later in the day where the water is cooler. I don’t know how warm the rivers will become later this week but my guess is they will be much warmer than normal.
I would fish upper Middle Prong of the Little River or the East Prong above Elkmont. I like those areas when the conditions are what they are now.
We are recommending Bead Head Pheasant Tails, Tellico and Prince Nymphs, Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulators (yellow) and Yellow Neversink Caddis. I would use 5X or 6X tippet.
The lowland rivers should be fishing very well for smallmouth bass. Those fish should be taking top water flies such as poppers, Stealth Bombers and Knucleheads. The bass are on the beds right now.
The lakes are fishing well. Most of them are still below Summer pool. I just looked at Norris, one of the better smallmouth lakes in the area. It is still down about 4 feet from Summer Pool. Most of the other lakes like Douglas and Cherokee have long way to go. Fort Loudoun and Tellico Lakes are close to Summer pool now.
The smallmouth bass are fairly active in the lakes. Doug and I caught several on Monday. They were taking Stealth Bombers and Knucklheads. We fished for about 8 ½ hours and caught around 15. We probably lost another 15. That’s pretty good. That kind of fishing will get better after the spawn is over.
Everyone says the shellcrackers spawn during the first full moon of May in Tennessee. I’ve been hearing that for years. That is coming up in about a week. I expected them to spawn earlier but they didn’t. When they spawn you can have some fantastic fly fishing.
Trout fishing in the area tailwaters is very good. Though I don’t do that anymore, I talk to anglers every day who do. I keep hearing more good news about the Hiwassee. They appear to be having a good year down there.
We are blessed with so many choices in this area. We have 800 miles of trout water in the Park. Tailwater trout fishing on rivers like the Clinch, Holston, Hiwassee, South Holston and Watauga offer miles of top notch fly fishing. We have the Cherokee National Forest to our South with miles of great trout streams.
If you enjoy smallmouth fishing in lowland streams we have that too. There is Little River of course. And we have the Pigeon River, Little Pigeon River and Abrams Creek nearby.
River fishing for smallmouth bass, below the dams offers excellent fishing for the fly angler. Fishing below Cherokee Dam and Douglas Dam offer excellent smallmouth fishing.
And then there are the lakes, almost too many to count. Lakes on the Clinch River, Little Tennessee River, Tennessee River and other rivers that are part of the Tennessee River watershed have thousands of miles of shoreline. They are all excellent places to catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill and shellcrackers. We have a great striper fishery in many of those lakes.
Living in or visiting East Tennessee either here or in the Northeast is a fly angler’s dream.
I can’t wait until my next day off.
Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.
May 2, 2012
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