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 cloudy this morning and 63 degrees.  I woke to heavy rain during the night and early this morning.  Checking the radar history, we had some moderate rain move through the mountains.  It is 6:34 am, and at this point, there has been no increase in flow in Little River.

The long term weather forecast calls for very little rain until next Wednesday.  High temperatures will be in the 70’s today and tomorrow, then heating up to the low to high 80’s through Memorial Day.

Little River is flowing at 117 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.55 feet on the flow gauge.  That is likely to increase later.  Median flow for this date is 207 cfs.  The water temperature is 66.2 degrees this morning.

I was off yesterday so I have didn’t talk to any returning fishermen from the Smokies.  The water levels are low.  I expect to hear today, fishermen are doing best in the smaller shaded streams.  We have had some incredible hatches during the evenings.  That is probably continuing.  Fishing has been amazing this month, late in the day until dark.

Most fishermen are using a dry and dropper rig.  The dry fly could be a light colored, high floating pattern, like a #16 Yellow Stimulator or #16 Yellow Neversink Caddis.  Drop a small bead head fly off the dry.  I usually tie a piece of tippet material to the hook bend of the dry fly using an improved clinch knot for the dropper. For the dropper nymph, a small Bead Head Pheasant Tail should do.

Definitely use green or pink Weenies. 

These trout are going to be holding in the moving water where they feel secure from predators.  Due to the low water, you need to be careful not to be seen by the trout.  You should also use 5X or 6X tippet.  I would probably use 6X.


There is a bear, that is so aggressive toward humans, the National Park Service wrote a news release about it.  You can read their release by CLICKING HERE.

The Mount LeConte backcountry shelter and the trails to the Cliff Tops are closed.  Trails to LeConte Lodge are open, but “hikers are encouraged to hike in tight groups of three or more and carry bear spary.  Park wildlife staff are currently stationed onsite to monitor the situation.”

This must be one bad bear.  A Park wildlife technician was approached by the bear and attempts to scare it off didn’t work.  The bear followed him for 1/3 of a mile to LeConte Lodge.

I don’t like that last statement they made.  “Remember, that the bear may view you as prey”. 


Following Dan Munger’s passion and success, Paula and I tried sight fishing for carp yesterday.  We launched our boat in Tellico Lake, and found some flats, in creeks with carp cruising in shallow water.  We found the carp, but didn’t catch them.

We kind of had a medical issue when we first saw one.  I grabbed my fly rod to make a cast.  For some stupid reason, due to my stupidity, my fly was held in the hook keeper, something I know better not to do but it happened.  I drove a barbed fly “all the way” in my index finger, to the bend of the hook. 

The fly was a variation of a Dragon with bead chain eyes tied on a #8 2457.  I clipped the fly from the leader, but it would not go through the hook keeper due to the bead chain eyes. So there I was, painfully attached to my fly rod.  Paula clipped the bead chain eyes off the fly, allowing my finger to be separated from the fly rod.  That alone reduced our mutual anxiety.

She tried the “heavy tippet, rip it out trick” and that didn’t work.  I screamed a word I won’t repeat here.  Finally, I grabbed the fly and backed it out myself, quickly and painlessly.  I will never put another fly in a hook keeper.  This makes twice this has happened to me.  I usually store the fly in the stripping guide.  This incident set us back for an hour. As “Captain” of our boat, I don’t usually drink alcohol on the water.  I made an exception yesterday, for medicinal purposes only.  That helped so I did it again.

We found a lot of big carp cruising.  Some were digging on the bottom, stirring mud.  We saw one whole flat that was covered with muddy water.  That is a good sign.

We made mistakes, like getting too close to the schools of fish.  We had plenty of shots.  During the afternoon we saw probably 100 big fish.  We had only 3 follows and one eat.  I’m going to talk to Dan today, tie some of his patterns, and we’re going back next week.  It was a blast.  Now I know why Dan and his fiancée Amanda love doing this so much.  They have it figured out. “I’m hooked”, literally. It reminded us both, of tarpon fishing.

Yep, Dan and Amanda are engaged to be married.  I can’t think of a better combination. They are two great people.  They deserve each other.  I am so happy.  I’m sure Wheezy is happy too.  Wheezy is always happy, or sleeping.  She is that cute little dog you see at our shop sometimes. 

Little River is rising.  I don’t know how high it will go or if the water is clear right now. 

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

Byron Begley
May 21, 2015

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