Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast and 70 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I was backing out of our driveway earlier and saw a wild turkey in my rear-view mirror.  I got closer and noticed she had 4 poults with her.  They looked to be about the size of a small chicken.  They were not afraid of me.  I drove within 15 feet of them.  We have baby wild turkeys all around our house.  I see some almost every morning.

The mountains are in clear view right now.  They look beautiful.  The storms and heavy rain that was predicted kept missing us over the last two days.  On the radar, it appeared the cells would split when they hit our mountain tops.  During the past 24 hours, our rain gauge collected only ¼” of precipitation.

On the other hand, some heavy rain fell in the Park and right on the Little River drainage.  The water rose and peaked around midnight.  Right now, Little River’s flow is 790 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 3.20 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 124 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:45 am is 61.7 degrees.  The water clarity in town is fairly turbid, not muddy, just off color.

This will not be a good day to be doing anything in Little River or on many streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  There is just too much flow for your safety.  This high water comes at a time when visitors to the Smokies are tempted to enter the streams for recreational purposes only to find they made a mistake.  People can get stranded or hurt.   

The Park Service is warning people to stay out of the streams.  The weather forecast indicates we will get more rain and thunderstorms.  Rainfall over the next couple of days could be heavy.  We are listed as being under a flood watch by the National Weather Service.

Fishing downstream in the lowland rivers is not a good idea either.  There, you will find muddy water and plenty of it. 

We don’t have many options today on the area tailwaters.  The lakes are high so TVA is running water often and with plenty of force.

Remember July 5th last year?  We had a storm we will not forget for a long time.  Two people died in Great Smoky Mountains National Park due to downed trees.  Trees were down along escape routes and emergency personnel were hampered due to the destruction.  It was awful around here.  You can read the story on the Knoxnews Website by CLICKING HERE.

I am looking ahead and writing off this week for fishing.  I was off Wednesday and didn’t go fishing because of the threat of bad weather.  What I see next week is a chance for rain every day and cool temperatures.  The chances for rain are much lower than we have seen this week.  Maybe we can all go fishing.  I certainly hope so.

The weather predictors are telling us July will be cooler than normal.  I can tell you this without any professional training or knowledge, we are also going to have plenty of water in our rivers.  July may turn out to be like a normal late Spring.  I’m expecting fishing to be very good unless we keep getting drenched.

Good news for you folks planning a vacation, gasoline prices continue to fall.  The average price for regular gas right now is $3.00 in Tulsa and $3.16 in Knoxville.  Gas prices are still steep in Santa Barbara at $4.21 per gallon.

The Park Service has completed repairs to the bridge at the Chimney Tops Trail.  For now, the trail will be open on weekends only.  I don’t know how this will affect anglers.  The closing of the trail left anglers unsure about access to Road Prong.  I know some people who fished there and had no problems with Rangers.  So, maybe it’s OK to fish there during the week.  I feel pretty sure you can fish Road Prong on weekends.  I don’t think I would fish there this weekend.  That is a very forceful stream when the water is high.

Well, go hiking.  Hire a guide and float a tailwater next week.  Maybe you can fish in the Smokies next week.  Take your boat, canoe or kayak to one of our many fine lakes and fly fish for warmwater species.  Maybe the tailwaters will be turned off at times next week. 

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

Byron Begley
July 5, 2013

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