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 6:33 am, the temperature is 67 degrees.  Light rain fell off and on all night.  We are under a flash flood watch.  Today, we have a 100% chance for rain and scattered thunderstorms. 


Little River is flowing at 363 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.29 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 124 cfs. The water temperature is 64.4 degrees this morning.

We do not take beginner fly fishing students to the river if the gauge is reading 2.5 feet or higher.  Right now, Little River is flowing below that number and falling.


Well, right now, I would say, “Go”.  You may encounter some stained water in some streams but that could be beneficial to you.  It should be cloudy today.  That makes for much better fishing.  The water temperatures are cool.  This may be the perfect day.

However, since we do not know where or when of even if, thunderstorms might appear, you should be watchful and aware, streams could rise quickly.  The ground is saturated.  Rain is expected.  I would fish from the road side of any stream.

This seems like a nymphing day to me, because of the higher than normal flows.  The flows we have now are what we usually see in the Spring.  Trout should be very active due to that and the cooler water temperatures.   

A few streams in the Smokies or just outside the Park have flow gauges. You can see above what Little River looks like for now.  Looking around the area I found big differences in flow compared to normal. 

Tellico River is flowing at 1,680 cfs.  Median flow for this date is 121 cfs. That is a substantial difference.

Cataloochee Creek is flowing at 81 cfs.  Median flow is 63 cfs.  That looks good.

Oconaluftee River at the Birdstown gauge indicates flow at 750 cfs right now.  Median flow for that site for this date is 307 cfs.

Whatever you decide to do, be careful and constantly alert for rising water.


I refer to the rainfall numbers at the Knoxville Airport.  Since January 1, their website is reporting 24.58 inches.  Normal for this period is 25.93 inches.

We have had a lot of rain lately.  Since June 1st, rainfall amounts to 7.10 inches at the Airport.  Normal for that period is 4.49 inches, a 2.61 inch increase.
We have been classified as being in a moderate drought through last Tuesday.  I think we will be reclassified, due to the amount of rain we have had lately.  The US Drought Monitor map will be updated this Tuesday and released Thursday morning.

We will be assured of good fishing over the next few days in many Smoky Mountain streams.  Unless we get a flood today, the future looks bright. Temperatures will be about normal.  Rain chances will be lower than we have seen lately, though they do exist every day over the next 10 days.  Right now, I’m feeling very good about the fishing conditions, looking ahead.


Paula and I were sitting out on our lower covered front porch last night.  We have two driveways.  The lower driveway runs in front of our house.  The lower porch is about 40 feet from the lower driveway and 15 feet higher than the drive.  Next to that driveway is our boat house.  That is where I park my truck.

Paula went into the house and I was just sitting there looking at the trees and watching the hummingbirds.  I saw movement. A very large bear, walked slowly between my truck and the boat house, then continued down the driveway right in front of me.  Paula came out of the house and the bear looked up at us.  It stopped, but didn’t seem startled.  He definitely saw us.  We were just 40 to 50 feet away.

I went into the house to get my camera.  “Dang, it was down in my truck.”  I went back outside and the bear was still there, looking up at us.  I did not walk down to my truck to get the camera.  Finally, the bear walked slowly down the drive, and turned left in the field.  I guess he ambled down the barn.

Bears probably walk by our house every day, mostly at night.  One tore down and destroyed a large bird feeder a few weeks ago.  The bird feeder was empty, no food.  Another, or maybe the same bear was behind our house a few days later and we saw that one.  He or she was 10 feet from our back door.  A bear ran across the road in front of me two weeks ago.  And now, this one walked by. 

We live in a dense forest.  During the warm months, when leaves are on the trees, we can’t see very far from our house.  We just see trees.  So, we have not seen many bears over the past 20+ years.  Our neighbors do.  We hear about that all the time.

I’ll never forget the time a bear tried to break into our house.  I heard the noise, saw the bear and her cub through the window, I went outside and ran them away.  Ironically, that happened on July 4th, a few years ago.  Last year we saw a mother and two cubs, again, right behind the house, 10 feet away. We know they are there.  We just don’t see them often.

I really enjoy living with these animals and especially like seeing them.  We have never felt threatened by them.  So far, they have never showed up when we are grilling out or smoking meat in the smokers. That will surely happen at some point. Maybe they are out in the forest, watching us.  We just share the forest with them, they don’t bother us, and we don’t bother them.  We get along fine, so far.

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

Byron Begley
July 5, 2015

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