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.  The sky is clear and the temperature is 71 degrees in Townsend. 

There is a good-looking lineup of antique tractors at the Visitors Center.  If you are in town today, go by and look at these beautiful machines.  Talk to the owners.  These people are proud of the work they have accomplished.  They have a passion for it. 

Restoring old tractors is a passion that goes right to the heart of American agriculture. To me, they are a symbol of the greatness we should all share. The first successful gasoline tractor was invented in 1902.

The trout streams in the lower elevations of the Smokies are low and warm.  I heard one temperature reading yesterday that came from the Middle Prong of Little River.  It was 74 degrees.  Right now, at 7:55 am, the water temperature at the “Y” is 71 degrees.

Flow is very low in Little River at 68 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.39 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 133 cfs.

The trout are spooky in this low water.  They are not easy to catch.  They are not happy in 70+ degree water. 

If you go fishing today, go high.  Cooler water can be found on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River and it’s tributaries. Access is pretty good up there.  Or, you could hoof it up the Little River Trail above Elkmont Campground.  Keep walking.  At about 4 miles you will find Fish Camp Prong.  I don’t know for sure, but that water is probably cool.  If not, keep walking.  Hike up the East Prong of Little River toward Three Forks or continue up Fish Camp Prong. 

There are many other trails that will take you to some beautiful backcountry streams that are cool.  The water may be low, most probably are.  You will need to blend in, stay low and hit the pockets and deeper runs.  I would use a dry fly, anything yellow.  A foam beetle is another good choice.  Don’t forget your Green Weenies.

There is a chance for rain every day for a while.  That chance increases to 50% on Tuesday.  We need rain.  We are not officially in a drought.  Not yet.  If we don’t get some rain soon, we will be talking about that awful word.

Try a lowland river, using poppers for bluegill, red-breasts, smallmouth bass and rock bass.  I bet you’ve got one of those nearby, even in cities. 

Pond fishing may be pretty good, early in the mornings and in the evenings.  Chunk some poppers on the water and enjoy yourself.

I’m planning to fish a lake with Paula next week.  I’m not expecting much action from big smallmouth bass.  You never know.  Or, I don’t know. Maybe some of you do know.  I don’t want to know.  It’s the “not knowing” that makes this sport so much fun.  If you have a slow day, you paid your dues.  Your day will come.  That’s how I look at it.  I always have.

We have a beginner fly fishing class today and tomorrow.  I think today is an almost full class and tomorrow is full for sure.  Our school business has been great.  Daniel and Rob planned some new classes this year and we are also holding a fly tying class or two during the Summer.  We tried that once or twice a few years ago.  There was no interest in learning to tie flies in the hot months, or that’s what we thought.  Well, there is interest now.

The reason for the interest is the internet.  We are now able to reach so many people that we could not advertise to years ago.  Now, we reach out to 3,000 to 10,000 people in a day.  All we have to do is type and push buttons.  The cost per person reached is practically nothing. 

It took us 8 years to get to this point.  And, it took a lot of our time, thousands of hours.  This fishing report takes at least 360 hours per year to maintain daily.  We made capital investments in technology, big investments.  But, the incremental cost, when spread out over 1.5 million visitors in a year is insignificant.

You can either curse or embrace the internet.  We embraced it.  We are preparing to hug a little tighter in the future beginning Monday.

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

Byron Begley
June 21, 2014

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