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

NOTE:  Little River Road between Metcalf Bottoms and the Townsend “Y” is still closed due to storm damage.  Laurel Creek Road to Cades Cove and the Cades Cove Loop Road are open.  Foothills Parkway West is open.  Rich Mountain Road and Forge Creek Road are closed.

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and the weather stations report the temperature to be 81 to 82 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I bet it’s cooler than that.  We don’t always agree.  My readings are usually a little cooler.  I forgot to look this morning.

Townsend is busy at 7:55 am.  Finally, our visitors will be able to visit Cades Cove, which is one thing most of them came here to do while they are on vacation.  The road to the Cove has been closed for two days.  Imagine how disappointed our visitors have been.  Anglers have been disappointed too. 

You still can’t get to Elkmont without going through Gatlinburg.  I don’t think you can.  But, you can get to the Middle Prong of the Little River.  That stream will see some fishing action today.  I don’t know about the entrance at Metcalf Bottoms.  I heard it was a mess over there. The West Prong of the Little River and Abrams Creek will be accessible from Townsend today.  Maybe the Little River Road will open in a while.

We got two rain events last night in the Little River watershed.  There were two good up-ticks on the flow graph as a result.  Currently, the flow in Little River is 117 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 121 cfs.  The water temperature is 73.3 degrees at 8:00 am at the "Y".

After today we will enjoy cooler temperatures and rain for about 10 days if the folks who predict the weather are correct.  They are usually pretty close.  Expect lows in the 60’s and highs in the 80’s for several days.  It is going to be hot today, 95 degrees.

Fishing is going to be much better today due to the higher water.  And, barring any floods, the water will be even higher over the next few days.  The water will be cooler too.  Though fishing has been fairly good if you know how to cope with low flows, everyone will see the fishing improve in the Smoky Mountains.

Smallmouth bass fishing in the lowland streams will be better too unless the water is stained. 

Smallmouth bass fishing in the tailwaters is very good right now.  The bass are taking poppers and Wiggle Minnows. 

Willow flies are active on the lakes or at least a couple of them that I know about.  I have no personal knowledge but I will.  Fort Loudoun has been fishing well.  Anglers are catching all species on the surface.  This is a good opportunity for fly fishermen. 

I’m going to do everything I can to go fishing on Thursday.  I will certainly take some big light colored mayfly imitations in case those willow flies are active where I am fishing.  When these huge mayflies are on the water you never know what you are going to catch.  You might catch smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, crappie, bluegill, shellcrackers, carp and catfish.  I’ll probably catch catfish.  I seem to be getting good at that.  Week before last I caught three or four fishing for bluegill with a Dragon nymph.  Paula only caught one catfish.  I also caught the largest one.

I am tying some #6 Rubber Legged Dragons at night.  I am using large bead chain eyes to get the flies down where the larger bluegill and smallmouth bass are lurking.  These flies work great.  I tie mine on a Tiemco 2457 in sizes #6 and #8.  I might tie some #4 flies for smallmouth.  My favorite colors are rust, chartreuse and black.  They are fairly easy to cast using a 12 foot 2X or 3X leader and they get down deep.  That is why I’m catching catfish. 

Last Fall I was fishing for smallmouth bass in Dale Hollow Lake using a sinking fly line and a large Puglisi Threadfin Shad pattern.  I hooked and landed a 8 pound flathead catfish.  I thought I had a world record smallie on a fly.  I remember getting the thing up to the surface and saying, “It’s a danged catfish”.  It was still fun though.   

On Wednesday, we are holding a meeting with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) at Laurel Lake.  This will be our second meeting with the agency.

A group of us are trying to re-build the dam that was breached 20 years ago for safety and lack of funding reasons.  I hope to learn about all the environmental assessments that we will have to do before moving forward.  The dam renovation will have to be designed by engineers and geotechnical testing will be required on the lake bed and existing dam. 

Building a new lake or restoring one that has been removed is not as easy as it used to be.  Dam safety is a high priority these days.  Nobody wants to be responsible for a disaster.  Neither do I.

Also, the drained lake has established new wetlands that must be mitigated.  Additionally, agencies are more concerned about the environmental impacts downstream than they were many years ago.  This lake would have some effect on the water temperature and nutrient discharge into Little River.  As Chairman of the group, I share the concerns that TDEC has about safety and water quality in Little River.

New impoundments are going to be rare in the future. 

How many of you have the DNS Changer computer virus.  Well, I guess if you did you would not be reading this page today.  I checked both of my Macs yesterday and last night.  Mine were clean.  This morning the FBI turned off the servers that have been routing your internet searches for the last few years if your were infected.  Now, they believe everyone has had the chance to check and clean their computers.  Why did I wait until the day before to check my computers?  I didn’t know about it.  But, the news was all over the web yesterday.  I hope yours is clean. I think the FBI caught 7 conspirators. 

Get ready for some good fishing.  Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
July 8, 2012

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