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.  It is sunny and 70 degrees in Townsend this morning.

We will most likely have thunderstorms today, tonight and tomorrow.  The chance is 70% today.  I hope it happens.  The streams in the Smoky Mountains are very low.

Little River is flowing at 58 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.33 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 136 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:10 am is 72 degrees below the confluence of the three prongs of Little River, just inside the Park from Townsend. 

So, we have low and warm water in the lower elevations.  Fishermen are catching trout but they are doing much better in the higher elevation streams.  Bill told me yesterday, the water was several degrees cooler above Elkmont where he fished a couple of days ago.  I think he said he found water temperatures to be in the low to mid 60’s there.

That’s where you need to go, higher up in the mountains.  The water is low and the trout are spooky.  You need to stay hidden from the trout.  They won’t eat when they are scared.  Seeing a big human stomping around scares them to death.

Dry flies with nymph droppers are working well.  I would use a yellow dry fly.  Mine would be a Neversink Caddis.  My dropper would be a Green or Pink Weenie.  Fishing will be best early and late in the day.

We’ll have to wait and see what the weather brings us.  Hopefully, it will be higher water.  It’s going to be a little cooler this week.  That will be nice.

The Great Smoky Mountains fisheries crew and Trout Unlimited volunteers began their stream population sampling on Lynn Camp Prong yesterday.  It will continue this week unless the storms interfere. 

So far, they have good news.  They are capturing young of the year brook trout.  The spawn appears to have been successful.  Last year, the newly hatched trout were washed out by high water.  The populations did not increase. 

Lynn Camp Prong, the largest tributary to the Middle Prong of the Little River has been closed to fishing for several years.  This is the largest brook trout re-introduction project in the Smokies so far.  I believe we will eventually have 9 miles of easy access, mid-elevation wild brook trout water to fish when it is re-opened.  The fisheries biologists need to feel confident, there is a sustainable population of brookies before they allow fishing.  The news I heard yesterday is very promising.  Maybe it will open next year.

I’m in a hurry because I have to be at the Heritage Center this morning.  I am going to talk about fly fishing to a bunch of kids.  I have no idea how many there will be and no clue about their ages.  So, I couldn’t plan for this.  I think I’ll be in the auditorium which holds about 200 people.  We may do some casting, which will be fun.  I bet we’ll talk about trout and trout streams in the Smokies. 

This could end up being a science class, a fishing class or a combination of both.  If you think about it, fly fishing is science in many ways.  We think about biology.  We practice physics.  We rely on weather and air temperature.  Trout need cold water to survive.  They need lots of oxygen.

I don’t know what I will say or do.  I know one thing.  That two hours will fly by and I can talk about fly fishing for a lot longer than that. 

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

Byron Begley
June 24, 2014


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