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 6:30 am, it is cloudy and 71 degrees in Townsend.  The high temperature will be in the low 90’s for several days.  We have only a slight chance for rain through Saturday.


Little River is flowing at 61 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.27 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 161 cfs.  The water temperature is 71.2 degrees this morning.

These dry conditions are getting worrisome.  Low, warm water is affecting the fishing and the chance for fires is elevating.


There is no doubt, fishing will be better in the higher elevations.  Due to low water and hot temperatures, it is important that you find a backcountry shaded stream where the water is cooler.  Fish the choppy water in riffles and runs.  Fishing will be best early and late.  These are not ideal fishing conditions but that’s what we have and you have to make the best of it.  Anglers who know how to fish low water will do best.  This is an opportunity for those who don’t know, to learn.

I would use a Yellow Sally stonefly pattern for a dry fly and a Pink or Green Weenie for subsurface fishing.


These rivers are low and difficult to fish from canoes and kayaks except way downstream.  Wading is probably your best option on Little River below Townsend.  Go very early or late.  Tubers are packed in Little River through town. 


Tailwater fishing is a good choice right now.  The Clinch River is fishing well for trout.  Smallmouth bass fishing on the Holston is good.  The Caney Fork is fishing well.  I’m not sure about the French Broad.  That is a good smallmouth river and it is probably fishing well too.   


These animals are on the move and showing up during the day on roads.  Yesterday, a cub was hit by a vehicle, near the Chimney Tops Trailhead.  The mother and another cub were reunited with the injured cub. The Park Service has no information about the injured cub at this point.

Yesterday, I was driving from Apple Valley Farm to our house.  I had just activated my signal to turn onto Old Tuckaleechee Road at the Campground Methodist Church.  Out of nowhere, a large bear ran across Highway 321, right in front of me.  His or her head was down and that bear was moving fast.  This is a 5-lane highway. Nobody came close to hitting the bear.  My truck was the closest one to the bear and I would not have hit it even if I had not slowed down to turn. 

I hit the brakes, mainly because I thought a cub may be following.  There wasn’t one.  The bear stopped on the side of the road and looked back from where it had come.  The look on it’s face appeared to be relief.  Whew!  I made it!

Behind me, in my rear view mirror, I could see cars slamming on their brakes too, to avoid hitting me. 

I drove home but noticed cars stopping behind me, where the bear crossed the road.  I should have pulled over to see my first bear jam in Townsend.  I was two miles from home where we see bears fairly often, but I’ve never seen one run across the main highway in town.  I have seen them in campgrounds, in town.

It happens more often than you would think.  Cars, trucks and motorcycles do hit bears.  I’ve come close a few times, once, pulling our boat.  You have to be alert around here.  You never know where they will come from and when. They are usually running very fast.  It happens quickly.  A bear can run 30 miles per hour.

If yesterday had been a Friday evening, Saturday or Sunday, when traffic is heavy, someone could have hit that bear.  I hope I never see that happen.

We like our bears and we don’t want to see them hurt.

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

Byron Begley
June 16, 2015

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