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 6:25 am, the temperature is already 71 degrees.  It is going to be hot again today, in the low 90’s.  This heat wave will continue through Friday, at least.


Little River is flowing at 68 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.31 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 153 cfs.  The water temperature is a very warm 70.9 degrees now near the Park boundary at Townsend.


First, the water is low, almost a low as it has been all year.  Second, the water temperatures are warm in the lower elevations.  You have two negative conditions to deal with.

I would hike into the backcountry at a mid to low elevation stream.  Lynn Camp Prong and the East Prong above the Elkmont Campground are good options today.  You can hike miles at both of these locations, find shaded water and cooler temperatures.  I would avoid streams on roads.  They are more open.  The sun will be bright.  It’s going to be hot.

Trout will be in the riffles and choppy water, trying to stay hidden.  I would keep things simple and use a dry fly, while fishing the shaded streams.  Good patterns to use now are Yellow Neversink Caddis, Yellow Stimulator and Rob’s Hellbender.  Paul told me yesterday, they are recommending Rob’s fly to customers and feedback is excellent.  The fly was invented by Rob Fightmaster and is tied by Holly Flies.  It is a very good imitation of a Yellow Sally stonefly. 

Wear muted clothing and use light tippet for better results.  Drink plenty of water.


Paula and I hope to fish one of the lakes this week.  We may use kayaks.  It’s going to be so hot, a wet kayak might feel good.  I don’t expect fishing in shallow water to be good this week.  Go early and late.


These rivers are fishing very well.  The Clinch River is fishing awesome.  That’s one of the coldest tailwaters I’ve ever fished.  I saw a photo of a friend of mine holding a beautiful rainbow he caught there last week.  It looked to be 20” to 22” long and it was fat.  I haven’t heard much lately from the Holston.  The Caney Fork is fishing very good.


The restoration of this small creek is finished according to a news release from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, dated June 3rd.  Re-construction on this project began last Fall.  Paula and I watched the progress.  Huge equipment and rocks were brought in.  Invasive exotic plants were removed.  The stream was changed to a meander from it’s former channelized state.  You can see from the photo below, it looks natural.  You should have seen it before.  It looked awful. The length of the recovered section is less than a mile long.  Chilogatee Creek runs along the Foothills Parkway, into the Little Tennessee River at Chilhowee Lake. 

Biologists told me, one of the construction workers fished during his lunch hour and caught rainbow trout.  He also said there will be two parking spaces for fishermen and visitors on Happy Valley Road.  I may check it out this week.  I doubt if this stream will be a year round trout fishery.  I do think trout will spawn in Chilogatee Creek as well as other species.

It lies within Great Smoky Mountains National Park and all Park fishing regulations will apply.  CLICK HERE to read the entire news release.  This is a low elevation stream.

Chilogatee Creek Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Chilogatee Creek - National Park Service Photo


The bears are active and the Park has posted an alert.  This is the black bear mating season.  The Park is packed with people on vacation.  We’ve seen bears at our house already this year.  Bear/human incidents have been reported, even an attack by a bear on a young man camping in a hammock.  Some trails, backcountry campsites and a shelter are closed due to bear activity.  Other than that, it’s normal around here.  If you visit this park on a regular basis, you are going to see bears. There is a chance you will find yourself very close to one.  If you live outside the Park in the forest, you will see bears.  We do our best, to co-exist. 

The Park Service has a very good page on their website you should read.  On this page is some very important information, you should understand.  CLICK HERE to read it.

Stay cool this week if possible.  Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
June 15, 2015

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