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 6:21 am, it is 53 degrees in Townsend.  Today we have a slight chance for thunderstorms and the high temperature will be near 80 degrees.  That forecast will be essentially the same all week.  Lows will be in the 50’s.

I looked at last year’s fishing reports for the first week of May, and our sales for that week so I can make comparisons.  The streams conditions were similar last year, to what we have this year.  Paula and I were in Florida last year, fishing that week.  Daniel wrote the reports.  He considered fishing to be excellent last year, just like I do this year.

Little River is flowing at 199 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.86 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 268 cfs.  The water temperature is 56.5 degrees.

Fishing in the Smoky Mountains is excellent.  Trout are loving dry flies.  They are gulping them down, sipping from the surface and chomping on nymphs too.  Hatches are heavy at times, mostly sulphurs and Yellow Sally stoneflies.  If you are fishing in the Smokies now, you’ve got it made. 

The guides and fly fishing instructors verified my claim last night when they came back around 5:00 pm.  The instructors spent the day with beginner students.  From my recollection of what they said, and the smiles on their faces, it was a good day.  David Knapp returned with his client.  I didn’t talk to him.  I know they did well too, without asking.

It was the same or better Friday.  Guides with clients reported good catches.  One client I talked to caught 20.  His son caught 17.

I know it had to be crowded out there this weekend.  Our store was packed with anglers, every time I looked.  Lynn Camp Prong is getting pounded by anglers, enjoying each other in close proximity, and experiencing excellent brook trout fishing. The stream opened after 7 years of closure in March. I haven’t been.  I’ll wait until the newness wears off.   

Predicting excellent fishing is easy, even without reports from customers and guides.  All I have to do is look at the water temperature and flow.

TVA is filling the lakes to Summer pool.  Lake fishermen are catching some unbelievable bass, largemouth and smallmouth.  Brad, our internet security advisor, flipped though his phone, showing me pictures of some monsters, he and his son have been catching.  Brad fishes with both fly rods and conventional tackle.  I saw some 8 pound plus bass.  He is an excellent fisherman.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has been stocking Florida strain largemouth bass in the Tennessee River for a few years.  Their efforts are paying off.  I bet that practice is expanded in the future.  Other states are doing the same thing.  

The mountains are beautiful right now in the lower elevations.  I can still see some higher peaks that have not turned green.  I bet that happens this week.  Around our house, I’m finding trilliums I didn’t know were there.  We have 10 acres of wooded forest, most of which, I haven’t seen in years.  This year, I’ll see more as I’m opening up the forest near our house, so we can view more wildlife.  It is working. I’m simply cutting low limbs and removing small trees.  

Every morning, I put some sunflower seed in a platform feeder located 20 feet from our keeping room.  I put in enough to feed the birds for that day. I also spread a mixture of seeds, that I prepare from bulk, on the ground.

At about dark, I notice there are some sunflower seeds left in the feeder.  By morning, they are all gone.  Squirrels can’t get up there.  They try.  The 4 x 4 post is wrapped with a 14” high piece of flashing, and greased with WD 40.  The roof is made from leftover metal roofing material from our house remodel, also treated with WD 40.  So, what is getting in there at night?  The mystery is solved.

I saw an animal on the ground at about dusk last night.  I thought it might be a bear cub.  It turned out to be the largest, plumpest, raccoon I’ve seen in my life.  He simply climbed up the post to the platform feeder, reached 16 inches, over the flashing, to grab the feeder with one paw, then hoisted himself up and cleaned the feeder completely.  Paula and I watched him from the keeping room.  He watched us, but continued to eat. Obviously, he has been eating well for a long time, and we didn’t know it.

I went to Ace Hardware yesterday to buy some boat wiring fittings and red electrical tape.  I saw Jackie.  She is a City Councilwoman and is married to Ronnie, our Police Chief.  Jackie is nice to everyone. 

I ran into our property assessor at the hardware store. He told me the new appraisal for our house is in the mail.  They measured our new additions recently.  He also told me that commercial property in Townsend increased.  I hate that, sort of.  We pay double the amount of taxes on our commercial property, than we do on our home and they are essentially worth the same.  Our County assesses commercial property at double the rate of residential.  Most residential property in our county was reduced in this recent appraisal, except for Townsend.  Most of that real estate remained the same. I’m using general information here, based on my overall recollection of the conversation and from what I’ve read.  Don’t get all excited and hold me accountable.  I might be wrong.   

Michael, our Mayor drove by the shop and honked his horn. I was walking back from the post office.  He had a canoe in his pickup, and a buddy sitting in the truck.  He lives on Little River.  I bet they floated yesterday.  He loves floating and fishing Little River.  I think he made a point, that I was working and he was fishing.

Michael's mom, dad, Paula and I, spent a week in Florida a few years ago, diving for bay scallops and fishing.  I’ll never forget that trip.  We had a great time but I learned, once again, how hot it is a night down there in July.  We usually go to Florida in May and October.  Scallop season opens in late June and closes in September. We’ll miss scallop season this year, and fish there in October when the temperatures are mild.

We have mild temperatures here, in all the seasons, most of the time.  I like mild and hate extreme or severe.  I like mild mannered people. My close friends are all mild.  My friends and co-workers at the shop are mild mannered.  Most of our customers are mild.  I think I am mild.  If I catch a cold, I want it to be mild.  Townsend and our valley is mild in every way you can think of, from weather to people.  One exception is terrain.  We don’t have many mild slopes, except in town near the river.  That is another reason I like living here.

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

Byron Begley
May 4, 2015

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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