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 7:06 am, it is cloudy and 57 degrees.  Today will be sunny with a high temperature of over 80 degrees.

Little River is flowing at 90 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.46 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 190 cfs.  The water temperature is 61.3 degrees this morning.

The streams continue to recede.  It has been a very dry month. Through yesterday, the Knoxville Airport recorded .62 inches of rain in May.  Normal for this period is 3.42 inches.  Flows are at the point now, where many fishermen will consider fishing to be slower.  Low water, combined with bright sunshine, concentrates the trout population and makes it harder for them to hide from predators.  The trout will be spooky.

If you go today, go early or late.  Walk up a trail to a smaller stream, one that is shaded.  Use a dry fly, either a Yellow Sally Stonefly or Light Cahill, and consider dropping a small bead head nymph off the dry.  Dress in muted clothing and fish the choppy water in runs or riffles.  I don’t think your catch rate will be good today, though I didn’t talk to any fishermen yesterday who returned from fishing. 

We are not expecting rain today or tomorrow.

Looking ahead this week, the weather is a completely different story.  Beginning Tuesday, we have a good chance for thunderstorms every day for the next 7 days.  Chances for rain range from 40% to 80% daily, during that period. I’m trying to decide which day or days to fish this week. Due to the predicted thunderstorms, the decision to go will probably be at the last minute.

You will want to stay off the lakes today and tomorrow.  They are packed with boaters because of the holiday.  However, fly fishing on the lakes has been good for smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and bluegill.  I talked to two friends at a party last night.  They did well fishing for bluegill in Tellico Lake the day before, using poppers.


Today may provide fly fishing opportunities on the Holston River below Cherokee Dam.  Check the TVA website and see if the generation schedule fits your schedule. To me, the Clinch River looks iffy today for wade fishing.


They are low for now.  I don’t fish the lowland rivers for smallmouth bass when the water is this low.  When I have, I usually didn’t catch many fish.  Floating Little River, downstream in a canoe or kayak would be tough.  Heck, tubers are having a hard time floating the river right now.  Fishing for trout in the stocked section of Townsend should be done early and late to avoid the tubers.  They must be packed in the river.  All of this will likely change this week.  We need rain in the worst way.  I think we’ll get it.

I think I’ll stay home today and try to catch up tying Knuckleheads.  I have 44 dozen finished flies sitting on my desk right now.  I like that number to be between 50 and 60 dozen.  Fishermen are ordering these flies like crazy. 

I did buy some materials at the shop to tie carp flies.  Dan Munger gave me some of his favorite patterns to use as models. We have a new staff member at the shop.  His name is Andrew.  I found out Thursday Daniel hired him for the Summer.  I went to the shop yesterday to meet him.  He’s a nice young man.  I think Daniel and Dan made a good choice.

Andrew likes fly fishing for carp too.  He showed me some pictures on his phone of huge fish he’s been catching on a fly rod.  This sport has been growing in our area.  I talk to several customers and friends who visit our shop, and have been fly fishing for these large fish.  They are not chumming with bread.  They are stalking the fish and sight fishing for them.  Paula and I tried it last week, and though we didn’t actually land one, we had some follows and an eat.  We didn’t know what we were doing.  But, we both want to learn more.  It’s a heck of a lot of fun.  Dan uses an 8 weight and 10 pound tippet.

I need to rig up a couple of 8 weight rods for us to use.  Maybe I’ll do that today. Paula and I were under-gunned with 6 and 7 weight rods last week.  Those are what we usually use for bass.  Dan broke an 8 weight rod last week, fighting a carp.

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

Byron Begley
May 24, 2015

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