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 6:35 am and the temperature is 56 degrees.  Today will be sunny with a high temperature of around 80 degrees.  Beginning tomorrow, we have a very good chance for rain and thunderstorms for the next 10 days.


I noticed last night, the whippoorwills are still mating.  I could hear them calling from all directions.  I don’t remember ever hearing them this late in the Spring.

Little River is flowing at 139 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.64 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 224 cfs.  The water temperature is 60.8 degrees this morning.

Despite the low water, fishing remains good to excellent.  Today, the bright sun will make fishing more difficult.  Try to fish in the shaded streams and blend in with the surroundings.  Stay low and hidden from the trout.  Fish the faster moving riffles and runs.

In the evenings, expect plenty of surface action, as aquatic insects become active and trout will be feeding on them.  The best time to fish today will be after 7:30 pm.

Use Yellow Sally Stonefly and Light Cahill dry flies and you will do well.  The Yellow Neversink Caddis is a killer pattern, now and all Summer, through Fall. 

We could use some rain and it looks like we’ll get it over the next few days.


Guide David Perry sent me an e-mail and a link to his website.  David guides clients on the Caney Fork Tailwater below Center Hill Dam.  Fishing has been good there, and I’m glad to hear it.  That is my favorite tailwater, one I fished almost weekly, 25 plus years ago.  David also mentions using wet flies and how well they are working.  When I fished that river often, I would use soft hackles, effectively, in the slick pools.  You can read David’s fishing report by CLICKING HERE.

A customer was asking me recently, about using soft hackles on the Caney.  I told him about my experiences there, years ago.  We don’t sell many soft hackle wet flies.  It’s either because we don’t stock many, or people just don’t use them like they did in the 70’s – 80’s and before. 


Paula and I launched our boat on Mid-Tellico Lake yesterday.  Our intent was to learn more about that area.  It was windy and we didn’t fly fish hardly at all.  Using our new chartplotter, we were able to safely navigate and explore.  The water temperature was 75 degrees.

We have spent years fishing the Little Tennessee River, 9+ miles upstream from where we were yesterday. We were at the confluence of the Little Tennessee and Tellico Rivers yesterday.  It is totally different down there.  First, there are many homes with boat docks and large boats.  The lake is wide there.  We launched at Tellico Marina, but not far away is another marina.  Boat traffic was light because it was a weekday. 

Upstream, where we normally fish, the lake is bordered by the Cherokee National Forest and further up, at Chilhowee Lake, one side is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains.  Chilhowee has been lowered for dam repairs. Jack and I almost didn’t get the boat launched there a couple of weeks ago, due to the low water.  Fishing was slow.  We saw things, sticking out of the water, I had not seen before.  We’re not going back until the lake is raised.

I’m off today and we planned to drive further down Tellico lake and check out more areas.  We decided to stay home instead. I’m going to tie Knuckleheads and switch out a hub on the boat trailer.  I’ll wash the boat of course.


By all means, pull your hubs and inspect for worn seals and bearings on your boat trailer if you have one.  I learned the hard way, this should be done often.  In my case, a seal leaked grease, throwing it out on the inside of a wheel and allowing water into the hub.  Though I added grease occasionally, in that wheel, it was not enough to keep everything lubricated.  The bearings and races were worn.  Lucky for me, they didn’t fail completely, which can cause a wheel to lock to the axel and even come off while you are driving.  Bill told me it happened to him.  Luckily, his wheel fell off when the trailer was parked at the lake. 

I plan to pull hubs on both of our trailers every couple of months.  The kayak trailer is not submerged in water so it should be fine but I’m not taking any chances.

Check your tires too.  I bought new tires for the boat trailer two weeks ago.  They wear quickly. The ones I replaced were 5 years old.  The mileage was low, but of course, I don’t know exactly what the mileage was.  You have to look at them.  Boat trailers don’t usually have an odometer.


I’m working with the Southeastern Council of the Fly Fishing Federation to bring you Fly Tyers Weekend this year.  We had a little mix-up.  The dates we planned were November 6th and 7th.  I checked the calendar this week and found those dates are wrong.  The event will be held on November 7th and 8th, a Saturday and Sunday.  Our artist will change the logo to reflect those dates and I’ll begin updating the Fly Tyer Weekend web pages.  You can view them by CLICKING HERE.


Paula and I decided to grill hamburgers last night.  I don’t usually worry about bears and grills.  Lately, I’m getting paranoid about it.  My buddy Mark bought a grill, like the ones you see in campgrounds in the Park.  The post is buried in the ground.  That’s a good idea.  At issue is, the bear can knock over your grill and burn your house down.  Walter had a bear steal two steaks off his grill once, just a few feet from his cabin, as he watched.  Bears are active around our house right now.  I kept a close eye on that grill last night.  It was worth the trouble.

Get ready for higher water over the next few days, I hope.  This is the first time this year, I have wished for rain.  We have been blessed with water in the East this year.  That is still not the case to our West, especially in California, Nevada, parts of Texas and Oklahoma.  Check out the Drought Monitor by CLICKING HERE.

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

Byron Begley
May 14, 2015

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