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P.O. Box 505
Townsend, Tennessee 37882
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Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina
Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. At 5:43 am, the temperature is 58.6 degrees. I walked outside and I’ll tell you what, it’s chilly out there.
It will be sunny today, with a high temperature between 80 and 86 degrees, depending on where you are at the peak this afternoon. The higher elevations will be cooler. Tonight’s low will be in the mid 50’s to low 60’s. Tomorrow and Tuesday’s forecast is about the same. We have a chance for afternoon thunderstorms Tuesday and Wednesday.
Little River is flowing at 100 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.63 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 137 cfs. The water temperature is 68.4 degrees.
Fishing is good in the Great Smoky Mountains. The streams are flowing lower than normal. Normal this time of year is fairly low. That requires stealth. Stay hidden from the trout. Wear muted clothing that blends in with the forest. Fish the choppy water. Hit the pockets in riffles and the runs where riffles enter pools.
We are recommending using a dry and dropper. The dry fly that is certainly working is a Yellow Sally Stonefly pattern. That could be a small yellow Stimulator, Yellow Elk Hair Caddis, or Yellow Neversink Caddis. There are many other Yellow Sally Stonefly patterns that will produce for you. The Neversink Caddis is our best seller this time of year. The trout think it is a stonefly. Below the dry, drop a Green Weenie. This combination will work about anywhere in the Smokies, during the Summer. Other flies will probably do well. Foam beetles are a great option. Fishing a Green Weenie alone and weighted is another good option.
It is tourist season. You will find people swimming and tubing on the larger rivers near roads. Hiking a short distance into the backcountry can make a huge difference. I would fish the mid to high elevation streams. The water will be colder. Fishing will be better.
The lowland rivers are flowing low. I would go early and late for the best fishing. During the day, cast to the shaded banks. You can catch smallmouth bass, rock bass and panfish on these rivers right now. Fishing may not be great, just fair, or typical of what you would expect during the Summer. I would use poppers.
Smallmouth fishing is very good on the tailwaters. The bass are taking poppers at times, and subsurface flies at other times. Try a crawfish pattern, or a streamer. I would use poppers or foam floating flies. I love to watch those smallmouth bass rise to the surface and sip or slam a floating fly or popper. But, at times, only sub-surface flies will work.
There will be long periods of no flow or low flow on some of the tailwaters today. Unless TVA changes their mind, there will be one generator in operation on the Clinch River after 10 am. TVA will probably be generating less on the Caney Fork and Holston Rivers. Check the TVA website yourself before going. Determine if their schedule works with yours, where and when you will be fishing.
Anglers are doing best using long leaders, light tippet and tiny flies at times on the tailwaters. Shawn Madison made an interesting comment on our message board about using small knots. I suppose, when fishing low water and small midges, the size of the knot makes a difference. I would never have thought about that. Shawn is an excellent fisherman and I believe what he says. He came up with a knot that is small and works for him. Also, you may want to test tying improved clinch knots with less wraps. Like I said, I never thought about it, but it does make sense.
Stewart Crane sent me an e-mail, describing a recent day he spent on the South Holston. The sulphurs are on the water and fishing is very good. He used long leaders, up to 15 feet long. The trout are not taking a fly that is not presented well. By well, he means, “Show them the fly first, not the leader”.
I have fly fished in streams where many anglers pound the water all day. The trout are picky, and difficult to catch. I was told by a local expert on a stream in Pennsylvania, years ago, to fish dry flies downstream. The idea, is to feed the fly to the trout first, so they do not see the tippet first. It worked for me.
I’ve used that trick on the Green River in Utah. Now that is a tailwater that gets a lot of attention from anglers and the trout are picky. Sometimes, if you don’t present the fly first, with absolutely no drag, you won’t catch trout. Making what I’ve heard called a “Parachute Cast” and feeding the fly first, downstream worked well there.
If you don’t use this tactic, give it a try.
Now that I think about it, I do the same thing when fishing for smallmouth bass on lowland rivers and tailwaters. Actually, I do this more than I thought. In some cases, mending your line and leader will accomplish the same result. Sometimes it won’t.
I guess I’ve been doing this for a long time, and just forgot. Heck, I’ve done the same thing fishing for salmon too.
There is an illegal method, used to catch salmon and I can’t think of what it is called this morning. Spawning salmon, lie in the river, facing upstream, with their mouths open. Fishermen position themselves upstream from the fish, feed a nymph or streamer downstream, directly in front of the salmon. The anglers intentionally, feed the fly into the salmon’s mouth. (That requires skill and luck) They watch the fly go in their mouth. Then, they set the hook.
Hey, that’s cheating! It’s also illegal. I bet that would be hard to prove in court.
I’ve seen this happen and it has happened to me. You can be drifting a nymph or streamer through a pod of salmon. Your leader drifts into the fish’s mouth, which is open. Your fly is dragged to the salmon’s mouth. You hook the salmon on the outside of the mouth or maybe in their mouth. I believe that happens more often than anglers think. It’s probably happened to me more often than I know.
You would not believe how many salmon are snagged by accident. Sometimes your fly is drifting through a pod of 50 or more fish that weigh 20 pounds or more. And sometimes, you snag the fish, somewhere other than the fish’s mouth. When that happens, I break them off and they return to the spot where they were snagged.
The thrill is watching a salmon chase down your fly and eat it. Or, they move over and eat your nymph as it passes by. Now that is not cheating.
Hey Dads. Have a great Father’s Day.
I hope you all have a great day and thank you for being here with us.