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 6:26 am, it is cloudy and 66 degrees.  Today, we have a 79% chance for thunderstorms.  The high temperature will be around 86 degrees.

Little River is flowing low, but I have no idea how low.  The United States Geological Survey (USGS) website is down and has been for a while. I get Little River’s flow and temperature information from that site.  I even checked pages for rivers in California and Michigan.  It is not just our region. is down.  Maybe they will get it going before this report is finished.


I talked to a lot of customers yesterday.  Most reported good fishing, despite low water.  A couple of folks said fishing was not good for them.  Mark, Betsy and I were standing outside talking at about 5 pm.  One customer walked by and said fishing was great.  Jules, a guide in the Smokies pulled in with a client.  They had a great day.  Trout are taking dry flies and nymphs.  

We need rain in the worst way, and the chance for that is good today, tomorrow and Tuesday.  Since I’m going fishing Wednesday, that will increase the odds of bad weather, or good weather depending on how you view thunderstorms and wind.  It follows me wherever I go, when fishing.


The lowland rivers are low.  I’ve been hearing about slow fishing on lower Little River.  Wayne was in the shop last night at closing time.  He and his wife have a home on Little River downstream.  He said the same thing I heard from other friends.  “Even the redeye bass are not biting”.  Dave lives on the river.  He had the same comment recently.  Rufus and Doug floated the river a week ago.  Slow fishing!  All we need is rain.  Kayak and canoe floating is also tough on these rivers due to low water.


Tailwater fishermen had a tough early Spring.  Frequent and heavy generation at TVA and Corps of Engineers dams kept them off the rivers.  Now that the flows have stabilized, fishing is great for trout and smallmouth bass.


It seems like everyone is interested in fly fishing more or learning to fly fish.  It’s been crazy at the shop.  Our classes are filling fast.  Anglers are buying new rods and reels.  They are bringing in their reels to be checked out and brought back to perfect working order.  We do that a lot and don’t charge for it.  Our customers know we do it.  It’s always been that way.  Customers are bringing in broken rods, and having us ship them to our manufacturers for repair or replacement. 

I am getting a lot of e-mail, from customers traveling to other areas of America to fish. 

And, many of those e-mails have something to do with fishing for other species, not just trout.  I can’t back it up with data, but there also seems to be more interest in fly fishing for warmwater species like smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, stripers, bluegill and saltwater species. This weekend, I have had a several conversations with customers about redfish and speckled trout fishing in Florida and South Carolina.

I don’t know why, and I don’t know if other fly shops are seeing the same thing.  I do know there is an increased level of fly fishing enthusiasm and our store business is better than it has been in years, beginning last October. 


I first saw this story on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Twitter page.  A Jeep overturned on Parsons Branch Road Friday evening.  That road begins in Cades Cove and is a one-way outlet to the Tail of the Dragon.  Evidently, two people were trapped in or under the vehicle.  The wrecker, needed to assist, had to back up the road from Highway 129.  The Jeep was rented in Gatlinburg according to Twitter.  The driver was airlifted to the hospital and charged with DUI, open container violation, driving without a seat belt and reckless driving. Two passengers were transported by ambulance to the hospital.  There were six people in the Jeep. You can read more on the WBIR Channel 10 website by CLICKING HERE.  Read the Twitter Page by CLICK HERE.


You will also see many posts by the Park on their Twitter page concerning bear activity.  It seems higher than usual.  One aggressive bear had to be killed by rangers a week ago.  We have already seen one bear behind our house this Spring and another visited during the night and tore down our empty bird feeder.  I grilled out night before last and stayed within sight of the grill until its job was done.  I’m surprised by this, but, our grill and smokers have never been attacked by a bear. You would think they would be of “high interest” to bears.  No, they prefer empty bird feeders and plastic apples in windowsills.


As usual, we are open from 9 am until 5 pm this Sunday.  Come on by.  The USGS website is still down.

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

Byron Begley
May 31, 2015

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