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 6:08 am, the temperature is 69 degrees. We have a 40% chance for showers today and possibly thunderstorms after 5 pm. The high temperature is expected to be in the low to mid 80’s.


Thunderstorms hit us and heavy rain fell early yesterday evening. The Knoxville Airport reports rainfall there at 1.57”. Power outages and downed trees were reported in our area.

Little River is flowing at 181 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.80 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 146 cfs. The water temperature is 67.3 degrees this morning.

At this point, I don’t know if the water is clear but I suspect it is in the Park section of Little River. This is the first time in a while, that the flow is higher than median flow. We have a chance for rain in the form of afternoon thunderstorms all week though the chance is low tomorrow.


The water conditions are good, at least in our watershed. Fishing should be much improved for a couple of days or longer if the rain persists. If we don’t get rain, Little River and other streams are likely to recede quickly.

Dry flies and nymphs will work well, but, this time of year, dry flies are preferred by most anglers. Though the streams are flowing higher than normal today, they are not flowing too high to fish and not much higher than normal. There may be exceptions in other watersheds.

I would use any yellow bodied dry fly. A Yellow Neversink Caddis or Yellow Stimulator will work well. Any dark bead head nymph, or weighted nymph is recommended. Green Weenies are a good option. Terrestrial dry flies, such as beetles and ants will produce for you. Fishing should be good today.


Jack came over to our house yesterday evening. He fished with Joe on the Little Tennessee River this weekend. He said he caught about 20 smallmouth bass on a Byron’s Knucklehead. He was using the black version. Jack said all the bass were large and heavy. He had a monster smallmouth break him off. The bass were hitting on top all day, and Saturday was a sunny day.

Paula and I have decided to take our boat to the same location to fish tomorrow. Imagine that!


North Carolina hiker, 62 year old Jenny Bennett was reported missing Sunday. Her car was found at the Porters Creek trailhead. Her body was found yesterday morning. You can read the story on the WBIR website by CLICKING HERE. This story is very sad.


Great Smoky Mountains National Park personnel are searching for the bear, that attacked a 16 year old boy who was camping with his father on Hazel Creek. The boy was dragged from his hammock at about 10:30 pm Saturday. His father ran the bear off. Both father and son walked over 4 miles to Fontana Lake, where they were driven by boat to Cable Cove. From there, they were flown by helicopter to a hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. The boy was listed in stable condition and expected to make a complete recovery.

Searcher have hair samples of the bear. When found and matched with those samples, the bear will likely be euthanized. You can read more about this on the Daily Times website by CLICKING HERE.

Trails and backcountry campsites have been closed in the area.


The shuttles from Sugarlands to Elkmont, and the synchronous firefly event was cancelled last night due to thunderstorms. Though safety was the main reason for the cancellation, it was reported that the fireflies probably would not have displayed anyway. This was a huge letdown for many people, including some customers I talked to yesterday. Tonight will be the last scheduled shuttle event this year.


There are many people visiting our National Park and Townsend. It’s that time of year. When this many people, visit the Park, more bad things happen. We have more accidents on the roads, more incidents with wildlife and more accidents on the trails. More people get lost while hiking during tourist season. It’s because, there are more people.

Some people don’t know, or forget, this Park is a vast wilderness area. People do, wander off trails, and get lost. Sometimes they are injured. Most are eventually found. Some are never found. In some cases, getting lost and never found is intentional.

Sad events, like the death of Jenny Bennett, happen, though she was a very experienced hiker. We don’t know what happened to her, not yet. She was hiking alone, which I’ve done many times. Not only have I hiked alone, but I’ve been wading in slick streams fishing, miles from a road, and unseen by other people. I don’t do that anymore, mainly due to my age.

The bear attack at Hazel Creek was rare. It happens every few years, and we can remember all of those incidents. The boy and his father did nothing wrong. They did not provoke the bear. They were careful and took all precautions for their safety. Still, it happened.

I think, only one person has been killed by a bear in the Park. In fact, I was talking to a friend of hers this weekend. That happened maybe 12 or more years ago. None of us will forget that terrible tragedy. This Park is over 75 years old and it’s only happened once, as far as I know.

Tourists are often swatted or bitten by bears when the try to get too close to the animal. We hear about that fairly often. Locals know better and keep their distance.

I remember when a local man accidentlly unearthed a yellow jacket nest while he was fishing. He was stung about 100 times and died. We’ll never forget that terrible day.

I don’t know of one time, when a fisherman drowned in the Park. Kayakers have drowned and I remember when a hiker fell in Abrams Creek and drowned. If a fisherman drowned, I would know it and remember. I don’t.

I don’t consider the Smokies a dangerous place, if you are careful. I’m always careful and have never been injured or lost in the Park. I’ve been very close to bears too many times to remember them all. I’ve never felt threatened, just nervous. But, there are some unexplained and odd things that happen, like they have this week.

This is a week we won’t forget.

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

Byron Begley
June 9, 2015


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