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 5:47 am, it is cloudy and 66 degrees.  This will be the best day to fish this week.  It should be cloudy most of the day with a high temperature of 83 degrees.  Go early.  Thunderstorms may arrive later today.  Tomorrow doesn’t look as good.  Thunderstorms are predicted all day and some may be severe.  We have a 50% chance for thunderstorms Friday through next Thursday, July 9th.


Little River is flowing at 94 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.45 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 119 cfs. The water temperature is 69.1 degrees this morning.  Expected rain, over the next few days should improve fishing in the mountains. 


You will probably do best fishing in the mid to high elevation streams, where the water is cooler.  Be prepared with Yellow Sally Stonefly patterns for your dry fly.  Green and Pink Weenies will work for sub-surface fishing.  Terrestrials, such as beetles and ants are other good choices.  Trout are not picky about fly selections right now.  It is Summer.  Hatches are sparse, compared to what we see in the Spring. The trout are hungry and looking for a meal.

Watch for rapidly rising water.  A severe thunderstorm dumped inches of rain in Roane County, causing flooding.  The Knoxville Airport reported 1.63 inches of rain yesterday.   


Fly fishermen at our shop are reporting great fishing in tailwaters and on lakes.  The Clinch River has been red hot.  White bass are schooled on the surface of area lakes.  Striper and smallmouth bass fishing is excellent in the tailwaters.  Ponds may be muddy in some areas, due to the rain we’ve been getting.  With all the options, you will be able to find good fishing somewhere in our area.


It has been fairly quiet in Townsend.  That is usually the case, the week before a holiday.  This weekend, will be different.  We’ll see plenty of tourists. 

The City of Townsend will hold it’s annual Independence Day fireworks show.  It is heavily attended by tourists and local people in our County.  The recession years ago, and tight budgets in towns, caused many fireworks shows to be cancelled.  Townsend always held ours.  The City did it by searching for private funding.  As a result of fireworks displays curtailed elsewhere, more residents in our County came to Townsend.  It’s a great show and well attended.  Storms can cause a last minute postponement.  One year recently, the show was moved forward by one week, due to storms.


The title above, is why I left city life and moved to Townsend.  The quest began for me in the late 1980’s, when I bought property here.  Until I talk to someone who lives somewhere else, I tend to forget how good we’ve got it here.  I guess you could call that, “taking it for granted”.

As a fly fisherman, the options here are endless.  First, there are over 800 miles of fishable trout streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  There are many more in the National Forests nearby.  Then, there are the lakes.  I count 8 of them on my list, that are within a short to medium drive from town. 

Below those dams, are tailwaters.  Many are trout inhabited tailwaters, but other species can be found.  They include smallmouth bass, stripers, white bass and other gamefish.  We have lowland rivers, that are not impounded.  Little River flows about 50 miles, with only a handful of low head dams to portage around.  The Little Pigeon River is yet another lowland river that offers excellent fishing for warmwater species.  Tellico River is another. 

And, you know what, except on weekends, it’s not crowded most of the year, anywhere I go fishing.  I don’t fish on weekends so I may have a skewed perspective.

What Townsend has going for it, as a fly fishing destination, is peace and quiet most of the year.  And, we have accommodations suitable for every budget.  We have restaurants and some retail establishments.  What we don’t have is heavy traffic.  We don’t have a crime problem.  We do have very friendly people living here to take care of you. 

When fishing is slow for some weather related reason, there are usually other options nearby, where fishing is good.  The only exception is Winter.  Our Winters are short.  Fly fishing can be slow for most folks, 3 months out of the year.  For others, who love Winter fishing, it is here if you are willing and know what to do.

Paula and I were sitting out on our top-level porch last night, looking at the mountains through the trees.  All we could hear were birds singing.  During the warm months, we can’t see another house.  We both agreed, we will never leave, not for any reason.  This is the only place I have lived in my 64 years, where I could say that.  Everywhere else I have lived, I longed to be somewhere else, somewhere like right here.  We both have lived here longer than anywhere else in our lives, and we’re staying put.

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

Byron Begley
July 1, 2015    

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