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 dark outside and peaceful at 6:19 am.  There were absolutely no sounds outside when I walked out.  In a few minutes, the birds will start singing.  I love being outside when the forest comes alive early in the mornings.

The temperature is 70 degrees right now, but later today, it will be in the mid 90’s.  We have a chance for severe thunderstorms tonight.  It will be cool tomorrow, with a high temperature of 80 degrees. When did 80 degrees become cool?  This year.

The low temperature tomorrow night is predicted to be in the 50’s.  That is going to be nice.  Rain should begin tonight and continue through tomorrow.  It will be cooler with a good chance for rain several days next week.


Hopefully, this will change over the next few days, but right now, Little River is very low and warm.  Flow is currently 41 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.15 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 121 cfs.  The water temperature is 73.5 degrees this morning.


Today, you will likely encounter very low water.  And, due to high water temperatures in the low elevations, you should fish higher in the mountains.  I would use a dry fly and a dropper and fish in the faster water.  Hit the pockets in riffles and choppy runs.  If the sun is shining, fish the shaded areas of streams.  Blend in and stay hidden. 

You should be on the lookout for quickly rising water, especially later today and tomorrow.  We have a chance for flash flooding in the Park, according to some weather models.  Cold air is moving south and will collide with moist air from the gulf.  This is a situation you need to be aware of. Be careful.


Fly Tyers Weekend will be held in Townsend, at Tremont Lodge and Resort, on November 7th and 8th.

Anthony Hipps is working diligently to line up fly tyers for this event.  I think he has 20 tyers committed so far. His goal is to have 46 tyers demonstrating, in shifts, all weekend.

He even asked me to tie Knuckleheads.  I don’t like tying in front of an audience.  I don’t think I’m a very good fly tyer.  In this case, I believe I can do it.  I’ve tied over 1,000 of them so far this year.  I’ll be the one who looks nervous.

The lodge and our shop are partnering with the Southeastern Council of the Fly Fishing Federation for this year’s event. 


Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is requiring fishing guides to buy a license effective July 1st.  The cost for a resident guide will be $150 per year.  If I remember correctly, the fee for guides living outside Tennessee will be $450.  Don’t hold me to that!

My question is, do guides or particularly instructors, need the Tennessee Guide License in the National Park?

We have a permit to teach in the Smokies, paid for by us and issued by the National Park. 

TWRA is checking on this for me.  I contacted one of my friends there yesterday.  Most of our instructors, who teach our students in the Park are professional guides.  They will have the license anyway.  But, two of our instructors are not guides.  From what I can tell, teaching fly fishing is the same as guiding, as defined by TWRA.

Also, the Tennessee Council of Trout Unlimited holds a kids fishing camp in the Park and outside the Park, and there is a fee involved.   Assisting someone, catching a fish, for a fee, pretty much makes them a guide under the TWRA definition.  I’m sure TU volunteers will be exempt. All that will require is a phone call.  We’ll get it all cleared up by July 1st.


There is no news of interest pertaining to the Park today.  I have a list of websites I visit every morning, before writing this report.  I could not find anything.  Sometimes, no news is good news.  I did read, traffic is heavy in the Park.  Rangers responded to a report of traffic backed up on the Spur.  It turned out, there was no accident, just lots of vehicles. 

I’ll be at the shop for a while today doing some bookkeeping stuff.  Daniel is still on vacation.  Dan is running the shop.

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

Byron Begley
June 26, 2015

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