Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and 63 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic was very light on my 2.1 mile commute.  This is a week after a National Holiday.  We are always quiet around here before and after a holiday.

Little River is flowing at 153 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 191 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:45 am is 63.2 degrees below the confluence of all three prongs of Little River.

Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains is excellent.  Evenings are particularly excellent.  Water levels are slightly below normal.  Water temperatures are very good.  Rainbow, brown and brook trout are taking dry flies well.  We are recommending any Yellow Sally Stonefly pattern, olive or yellow Elk Hair Caddis, Light Cahills or a Yellow Parachute Adams.  The original Parachute Adams is working well too.  Nymphs selection should certainly include a Bead Head Pheasant Tail in sizes #14 and #16. It may be time for a Green Weenie.

We are expecting rain Sunday afternoon and on Monday.  The odds are very good that we will get some precipitation in the form of thunderstorms.  Weather through Sunday afternoon looks great in the forecast.

The lowland rivers are fishing well for smallmouth bass and rock bass.  Those streams are at a good level for fishing.  Water temperature and water clarity are also good.

Fly fishing in the lakes for smallmouth bass has been tough for everyone this year.  High water, cold water and even low water have made it hard to find the smallies.  However, fishing for largemouth bass and bluegill has been pretty good.  Paula and I fished a lake yesterday afternoon and caught a few of both.  They were hitting a Chartreuse Knucklehead.  We ran into Joe, Jack and Anthony.  They said the fishing was slow.  We also saw John and the launch ramp.  He caught a few good bluegills.

We planned to fish a small lake in the Tellico area yesterday.  Ronnie called me Tuesday afternoon after fishing there and said it was slow.  We were hoping to catch the shellcrackers on the beds.  He said he saw plenty of beds but no fish on them.  We missed it.

Jack, Joe, Anthony, Paula and I were sitting in the shade yesterday with our boats pulled up together.  We were just talking.  We heard this loud noise, either a boat or airplane headed our way.  I never heard such a noise.  We finally saw it.  It was a boat.  This boat had to be 25+ feet long.  It was skimming across the surface of the lake with probably 10% of it’s hull in the water.  We could not talk for about 5 minutes due to the noise.  It drove by 4 times.  It threw almost no wake.  Jack and I just shook our heads.  I asked, “Where do you mount a trolling motor on a boat like that?”   Why would you want a loud boat?  

Fishing in the area tailwaters for trout has been good.  We are hearing from lots of anglers who have been fishing the Clinch River below Norris Dam.  Generation schedules have been more friendly lately.  Most angers are using Sulphur patterns or small nymphs.  The generation schedule on the Clinch looks good today.  There is no generation scheduled between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm.  Check before you go.  That could change.  Water in our lakes is still high, at the top of TVA’s operating guides due to the rain we have had this Spring.  But, the high water is really normal for this time of year.  TVA tries to keep the lakes high during the peak boating season.

It appears TVA plans to run water all day at Cherokee Dam.  They also have two, 1 hour pulses scheduled for Douglas Dam at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  Other than that, current information indicates the generators will be off all day.  Check before you go.

Before long or even now we will be fishing with terrestrials in the Smokies.  Stonefly, caddis and mayfly activity tapers off some during the Summer.  Many fly fishermen switch to ants, beetles and inchworm patterns.  Ant patterns are hard to see but they work well.  We are telling customer to use the ant as a dropper.  A good idea is to drop the ant off a high-vis beetle just a few inches back.  That way, you can watch the beetle and know approximately where the ant is.  It works.  Keep that in mind.

For once this year we are hoping for rain.  We don’t really need more water in the Smokies streams right now but a little to prop up the flows would be nice. We get nervous around here when we don’t get rain for a few days.  That brings back memories of the drought that lasted for two years.  The worst was 2008 if my memory is correct.  It doesn’t seem that long ago.

This year has been one of the wettest I can remember.  We also had a cold Spring.  Fishing conditions were not good anywhere this Spring early on, especially on weekends when most anglers fish.  Weather is normal now and fishing has been very good in our area, including the lakes, tailwaters and lowland rivers, for the past few weeks.

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

Byron Begley
May 30, 2013

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