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 6:27 am, it is overcast and 64 degrees.  We have an 80% chance for thunderstorms today and tonight. The high temperature today is expected to be 80+ degrees.

Thunderstorms with moderate rainfall moved through here early yesterday evening. I have no idea how much rain we got but it wasn’t much.  The Knoxville Airport reported over ½ inch fell there.  We don’t have a rain gauge at our house because there is no open area to put one, except for the field where the barn is located.  It is dark outside when I write this report.  I would really rather not walk or drive down there every morning. I write this report from home.

Little River is flowing at 94 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.45 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 176 cfs.  The water temperature is 66.2 degrees this morning.

The streams are up this morning in the Smokies and more rain is expected.  Every stream I checked, Cataloochee, Oconaluftee, Little Pigeon and Tellico River have similar stream flow charts.  The water went up, and it is falling.  Tellico is now flowing above median flow.

Fishing was very good this weekend.  Most of the people I talked to, who had exceptional fishing, were on the brook trout streams or those with mixed populations of brook and rainbow trout.  Those were mostly locals or people who fish here often and know how to fish in low water conditions.

Anthony came by yesterday.  He did well.  He lives in Walland.  Instead of crouching low, so as not to be seen by the trout, he made longer casts.  That requires skill.  Anthony is Jack’s nephew.  Jack taught him to fly fish.  That makes a difference.

I don’t fish with Jack often, unless we are on a fishing trip.  He works weekdays and fishes on weekends.  I work on weekends and fish on weekdays.  We have fished together only once so far this year.  This Fall, we will fish together for 5 days straight.


Yesterday morning, when I wrote this report, the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) website was down.  That is where I get the flow information for Little River and other streams in the Smokies.  The site was down all day.  Their whole website was down. People across the globe were complaining about it online.  I even read one person’s comment and he lived in Australia.  USGS has an earthquake monitoring system, that operates live and online.  Evidently, a lot of people in the world watch those pages.


The Park service reports good shows above Elkmont of the synchronous firefly.  There will be shuttles, operating from tomorrow through June 9th, taking people to Elkmont to view this phenomenon.  At this time, you will not be allowed to Park at Elkmont unless you are camping there.

The fireflies there are one of 19 species in the Park.  They are the only species in America that can synchronize their flash patterns. You can read more about these fireflies by CLICKING HERE.

People camp at Elkmont, during this time, just to be there to view these fireflies.  I’ve never seen them and live probably 14 miles from there.


I’m going to fish with Frank Bryant Wednesday on the Cumberland Plateau for bluegill.  This will be a long day trip for me.  We’ve been planning this for a couple of weeks.

Frank is the owner and founder of Chota Outdoor Gear.  We have been close friends for many years.  He loves fly fishing for bluegill as much as I do.  A few years ago, we strapped a canoe to his pontoon boat and drove 6 miles from his house on Melton Hill Lake.  Our destination was a large rock quarry, that you can’t see from the lake.  The quarry forms a deep pond.  We pulled up to the shore, and carried his canoe to the quarry.  Then, we floated around most of the day catching bluegill. 

Frank mentioned at one point, the pond was very deep where we were fishing.  I can’t remember exactly how deep.  I think he said 40 feet.  He described the features of the bottom of that pond. I asked, “how do you know”.  He told me he had crawled all over that pond in scuba gear.  Frank is a scuba diver.  The thought of that totally freaked me out.

We were fishing along a bank on the main lake.  Frank pointed to a spot that he said was 30 feet deep, right next to the shore.  Uh Oh, I knew what was coming.  He and a friend were squirrel hunting there years ago, from a canoe.  His buddy dropped a L.C. Smith shotgun into the lake, right there.  Frank paddled to his house and grabbed some tanks and scuba gear.  They paddled back, he dropped into the lake and retrieved the L.C. Smith that was laying on the bottom.

I hope he doesn’t show up at the lake Wednesday, with scuba gear!


I heard lots of good fishing reports from the tailwaters this weekend.  Fishing has been very good an the Clinch and Holston rivers.  Michael told me yesterday he has been fishing with Mike Bone on the Holston.  He hooked a 21 inch rainbow that ran under a log.  Somehow, Mike got his drift boat into position and they got that fish to swim back under the log and landed it.  Boating skill and fishing skill made it happen. I think there was some luck playing into this, as well.

If this rain keeps up, fishing in the Smokies and on the lowland rivers will improve.  The Park has been fishing good.  The lowland rivers have been fishing slow.

Hey, it’s raining again.

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

Byron Begley
June 1, 2015

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