Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and we are going to have some hot days over the next two.  Townsend is quiet this morning.  This is the week after Troutfest and the week before Memorial Day.  I’m surprised, we are very busy at the shop.  Friday and Saturday were awesome.  We’ll see what today turns out like.  Our inventory of fly tying materials was picked over good last weekend.  I started ordering yesterday and the laptop crashed.  We got the data backed up but we’ll probably have new one shipped to us tomorrow, fast.  Our strike indicator wall is sparse.  We’ve got plenty of flies though. 

Fishing has been excellent on all fronts.  The trout are hungry and eager in the Park.  The rivers are getting low right now though.  Today Little River’s flow is 170 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 196 cfs.  We don’t have much chance for rain over the next few days.  The water levels will be lower than normal for a few days. The streams probably won't seem low to most fishermen. They will just be lower than normal for May. Historically, May has fairly high water.

Yellow Sally stoneflies and Light Cahills are the hatch to match.  The trout will probably take about anything right now that looks like food.  I would use a Cahill, Yellow Stone #16 or anything yellow right now.  It’s the time of year when the bugs are light.

I got some photos yesterday of some nice smallmouth bass.  One was caught on Little River.  It was fat.  I don’t know if it was a female that had not spawned or a male.  The spawn is over in the lakes we fish.  We are catching some skinny females.  But, they are hungry.  There is a small group of us that talk and e-mail each other about smallmouth fishing.  I’m surprised more people are not interested.  We have the best smallmouth bass fishing in the country right here in Tennessee.

Tie on a sulphur comparadun or other sulphur imitations for trout in the Clinch.  There are good hatches this year.  The fishing is excellent.  The other tailwaters are fishing well too.  Lately though, I’m talking to Clinch fishermen.  Fishing could be better on the South Holston for all I know.

I know a lot of anglers in East Tennessee.  And, when we talk, we remind ourselves how lucky we are to live here.  I’m in a lake fishing phase and there are thousands of acres of water I have not experienced yet.  Paula and I are planning to take a fly fishing vacation soon.  No, we are not going to the Keys.  We are not going to the Panhandle.  We are not going to Yellowstone.  We are planning to stay in a cabin on Norris Lake.  We’ll have to drive an hour but I can handle that.  We can tie up the boat at the marina.  That will make things easy. 

Norris is an excellent smallmouth lake and it has the potential for “world class” if our State Representatives and Senators let Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency do their job.  I’m sorry and maybe I’m wrong but I bet you about anything there are more fisheries biologists with advanced degrees at TWRA than there are on Capital Hill.  I bet there is more fisheries management experience at Ellington and Morristown in those two small offices than there is on Capital Hill.  Am I way off on this?  Maybe I’m missing something. 

Tennessee Game and Fish Commision was founded in 1949 to manage our fish and game resources which were practically depleted.  It was determined that an independent agency would do a better job managing the resources, habitat and enforcement.  The agency name was changed to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in 1974.  Before 1949, various state agencies and departments made the decisions. 

Now, TWRA hires professional biologists and managers to improve and maintain our vast fisheries and game populations.  Some people complain about them but I don’t.  I know these people.  They know their mission is to offer people better hunting and fishing.  They’ve done that and they continue to do it.  I think they do a great job with the funding they have.  I hope Norris Lake does become the best smallouth bass fishery in the U.S.  It would be nice for me to drive one hour to experience that.  And, if that happened, I would spend more vacation money in Anderson County Tennessee, not somewhere else.

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

Byron Begley
May 23, 2010

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