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 5:56 am, the temperature is 73 degrees.  It is going to be hot today, possibly 94 degrees.  Yesterday’s high, as reported at the Knoxville Airport, was 93 degrees.

This heat wave, will be gone this weekend.  Expect high temperatures near 80 degrees and lows in the 60’s, Saturday and Sunday.  The chance for rain will be fairly high this weekend.


Little River is flowing at 50 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.21 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 151 cfs.  The water temperature is currently 73 degrees.

Daytime water temperatures are rising to near 78 degrees in Little River, in the lower elevations.  Fishing for trout in 78 degree water is not advisable.  The trout are stressed enough without us adding more by hooking and fighting them. 

For now, go fishing in the higher elevations of the Park.  Check the water temperature with your thermometer.  Look for water temperatures below 65 degrees.


Fishing is pretty good, but you will need to stay hidden, fish the turbulent water in riffles and runs, and get a good drift.  A dry fly, nymph or a combination of both will work.


You may encounter higher water in some Smokies streams today.  Flash floods occurred in the Little Pigeon watershed yesterday causing all kinds of problems.  Here are some quotes from the Park Service Twitter page:

“People are stranded trying to go in or out of Cosby Entrance Roads high water brought on by flash flooding”

“So far no property damage other than foot bridges due to flash flooding in Cosby.  Water dropped about 3 feet already.”

“The curve before picnic area on Cosby Road has a 4 foot eroded section of road that is 4-5 ft deep.”

“6 foot wall of water is heading down Ramsey Cascades.”

“Anyone in water in Greenbrier needs to get out now.  Numerous rangers responding to the emergency.”

“Never seen anything like it, is how wall of water rushing through Greenbrier is being described.”

The afternoon and evening thunderstorms we get this time of year can be dangerous.  Imagine a 6 foot high wall of water coming at you!  Flash floods happen unexpectedly and quickly.


Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is raising license costs by 19%, on average July 1st.  Additionally, there will now be a guide license fee.  This is the first increase in over a decade.  As an example, a resident hunting/fishing annual license will increase from $28 to $34.  You can read a story about this on WBIR’s website by CLICKING HERE.


Everything is going well at the shop.  Daniel is on vacation.  Dan is in charge.  I’m making the deposits and journal entries this week, tying Knuckleheads and working on the school pages of our website. 

My buddy Frank Bryant, owner of Chota came to the shop yesterday.  He told me about an 11” bluegill a friend of his caught in a pond.  I never caught one that large.  He talked to Paul for a while.  They have been friends for many years.  Dan, Frank and I met about business stuff and took some product photos in our studio.  We always have a good time with Frank.  He and I fished together for a day, a few weeks ago, on the Cumberland Plateau.  We plan to do that again soon.

Smallmouth bass fishing is very good right now in the tailwaters.  I talked to Josh Pfeiffer yesterday, and he filled me in.  I’ll be fishing with Josh in 3 weeks.  Can’t wait.  Josh has not had a day off from guiding for three weeks, until yesterday. 

I don’t know if or where Paula and I will fish this week.  We haven’t talked about it.  This heat is keeping us and many other people, close to the air conditioning.  This weekend is going to be nice, but we don’t fish on weekends.  I bet we’ll end up kayaking somewhere, Thursday or Friday, and fishing while we are there. 

Ronnie, our Police Chief, told me about a solid white raccoon people have been seeing and I know where it’s territory is.  He was whispering when he told me about it.  We don’t want to see anything happen to that rare animal. I haven’t seen it but I hope to.

We have not seen any wild turkey babies this year.  I suspect, the obvious growth in the raccoon population here is to blame.  We usually start seeing the hen turkeys and their young in May.  We usually see them almost every day.  Not this year. 

I remember when raccoon hunting was very popular in our valley.  Young guys would drive around during the middle of the night, tracking their hounds with electronic devices.  I knew many of them personally.  They often kept me awake at night, but I didn’t mind. 

Those young guys grew up, started families and stopped hunting.  Now, we don’t see raccoon hunters at all.  Evidently, this sport is in decline, and the raccoon populations are booming.  Some counties in Tennessee don’t have a fall turkey season now, because the turkey populations are in decline.  Raccoons are to blame.

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

Byron Begley
June 23, 2015

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