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 6:22 am, it is overcast and 66 degrees outside.  Today’s high will be around 80 degrees.  The chance for thunderstorms today range from 50% to 100% depending on which weather website you believe.  I think I believe the 100% rain model today.

Little River is flowing very low at 82 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.39 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 190 cfs.  The water temperature is 67.3 degrees this morning.

Fishing is fairly good, despite the low water.  I have received several e-mail reports from customers who fished here last weekend.  Those, who knew how to fish low water did very well.  After all, it is May.  May is one of the best fishing months of the year.  Aquatic insects are mating and present on the water often, but most often in the evenings.

I know I sound like a broken record, but, use low water tactics and you will catch trout.  Wear muted clothing.  Fish the choppy water in riffles and runs.  Hit those areas where a riffle enters a pool, where water is chocked full of bubbles.  Those trout are there and they are hungry.

Dry flies and nymphs will work.  I would use a Yellow Neversink Caddis or Yellow Stimulator, both in size #16.  Light colored sulphur or Cahills will work too.  Drop a small bead head nymph off the dry if you want.  That usually doubles your chances.  Or, just fish a nymph.


My friends are telling me lake fishing is good for bass, carp and bluegill.  Paula and I just decided to go tomorrow and not today due to the weather forecast.  Dan and Amanda are catching some nice carp on flies.  Look at the post Dan made on our message board in April by CLICKING HERE.  Ron said the bluegill fishing is hot. 

Paula and I have had a tough Spring because one of our favorite lakes, Chilhowee has been lowered 4.6 feet for dam testing.  The dam is leaking.  Rumor has it that the lake will be drained completely though I have not verified that with the owners.  It’s a tough lake to fish anyway, but now, just launching a boat is an ordeal.  We like that lake because it is close to home.  Now, we are forced to learn new waters. Tomorrow, we’re going where Dan goes.


They are low. Doug, Rufus and David floated Little River, way downstream, a week or so ago.  Doug said the fishing was slower than he has ever experienced.  These guys are good fishermen.  They were floating in canoes and kayaks. 


The tailwaters are fishing well for trout and smallmouth bass.  Generation schedules have been good to fishermen lately.  Josh Pfeiffer and Gary Troutman have been catching some nice smallmouth on the tailwaters.  To me, they are both experts.  Check out Gary’s report posted on our message board May 26th.  He had an awesome smallmouth day.  CLICK HERE.


It has been dry lately in the Smokies.  We are not experiencing a drought.  In one hour, this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor will be released.  I’m looking forward to seeing the changes from last week and predictions for the coming week. 

Doug came over yesterday to see the boat house.  He needs one.  He is a consultant who does a lot of his work in California.  That region has been in an exceptional drought for years.  Reservoirs in California are at 64% (acre-feet) less than average and 1.6 million acre feet less than a year ago. Those numbers are derived from 154 reservoirs.

On a weekend, while off and working there, he hiked in one of the National Parks.  He said the ground was like walking on powder.  He met a biologist who described the drought to him.  I hope I’m getting this right.  Tree rings show, that this drought is the worst.  The worst before this one, lasted 100 years.  I may have misunderstood Doug but that’s what I remember him telling me.  He has his doctorate in math and he is good at explaining mathematical data.


Last winter, I cleared the low growth in the forest behind our house so we can see more wildlife.  I had 40 large trees, that are considered of low importance to wildlife, and had the potential to fall on our house, removed.  There are plenty left.  The change was not noticeable. I plan to do the same thing all around our house, not deep into the woods, just 50 to 100 feet or so.  The wooded part of our land is over 10 acres. This project will affect only 2 acres.

The improvement is dramatic.  We see more animals.  The forest and our house are still shaded, as before, but we can see more wildlife.  We have thousands of acres of dense forest all around us, not including Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is about two miles away. 

Paula bought a 50 pound mineral block last Fall, and I placed it about 50 feet from the back of our house.  The deer found it quickly.  They formed a path to it from the dense forest.  We see deer there often now.  I was talking to Doug on the phone yesterday, while watching those deer as we spoke.

We saw a bear back there day before yesterday.  That bear walked right by the mineral block and didn’t even give it a sniff.  So, this is a good way to attract deer, without attracting bears.  If you live in the woods, I highly recommend you buy one of these mineral blocks.  Ours is 6 months old and over half of it remains.  I forget what it cost but it was not expensive.

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

Byron Begley
May 28, 2015

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