Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  We were fogged in at our house this morning but in town the visibility was clear.  I saw more traffic than usual.  This week has been slow for businesses in Townsend.  It is the week after a Holiday.  The restaurant parking lots were full of cars early.  This was a good sign.  On weekends I get out a lot earlier than most tourists but today they were out early too.

Little River looks awesome.  A small cell of thunderstorms hovered over our area for a while last night and it rained pretty hard.  We had ¾” of water in our gauge this morning.  The river is slightly discolored in town.  That is perfect for fishing.  Flow is currently 201 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 128 cfs.  There is not much of a chance for rain until the middle of next week.  The water temperature at the swinging bridge was 70 degrees at 7:40 am.  That’s about what it has been every morning since the summer heat fell upon us.

Fishing should be excellent, especially in the higher elevation streams with good shade.  This is a perfect day to hike up above Elkmont.  Head up Thunderhead Prong.  Drive up the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River and fish the tributaries up there.  I don’t know what the stream conditions are like up there.  The Sevierville Gauge is non-functional due to non-funding.  That gauge used to give us the flow rate for all prongs of the river.  But, my guess is you can find some good flows up high.  That storm was small and fairly stationery.  It might not have made it to the high peaks in the Smokies. 

I would use dry flies, ants, beetles and yellow stimulators or any Yellow Sally pattern.  Drop a Green Weenie off of that or fish the fly weighted and deeper. 

This is a good opportunity for you to fish the Smokies, at least in the Little River watershed where we know for sure the flow is very good.  I bet Abrams Creek has some good flow too and the water will be cooler above and below the Abrams Falls trailhead.  I would expect some heavy traffic up there today.  Cars can’t enter until 10:00 am.  The loop is open to hikers and bikers only until 10:00.

The stripers and white bass are hitting on the surface at Fort Loudon Lake.  I’ve been hearing lots of stories.  One man told me yesterday this is the best “jumps” fishing he has seen in years.  The schools of tiny threadfin shad are huge.  One guy told me the surface activity was explosive as far as you could see.  Now that is some action I would like to partake in. 

I can’t believe, in two days, I will be 60 years old.  I got a shot back to my childhood yesterday.  I talked to a customer, a great guy who still does a lot of stuff I did when I was young.  He’s a fly fisherman, but he also indulges in other fishing and hunting sports that I grew up doing.  And, I’m proud of him for it. 

First, he likes to gig frogs.  And, he hunts with hounds.  But this one got me.  He and a buddy tried fishing with jugs in the Little Tennessee River last week.  Jug fishing was common for me in my early years.  You simply tie some line on a Clorox bottle and bait the hook with a small bluegill or in his case, a large one.  These guys put out about 20 jugs.  You wait a while and watch the jugs.  When one takes off, you chase it down in a boat.  I had a long hook on a broom stick when I was a kid, to snag the jug. 

They caught over 100 pounds of catfish.  And they almost landed a 30+ striper.  Their net was not big enough and the fish got away at the boat. 

Now, I’m going to stick with fly fishing though I’ve got to admit that jug fishing would be a blast.  It is my job to talk about fly fishing.  Most of you, if if not all of you, don’t fish with jugs. 

Most of my jug fishing as a kid was for snapping turtles, a sport completely different from catching fish.  I used chicken gizzards for bait.  We ate the turtles of course.  They are excellent table fare.  Over the past 57 years I’ve done almost every kind of fishing you can imagine.  I got into fly fishing almost exactly 49 years ago on my birthday.  That sport finally stuck completely and exclusively about 30 years ago.  I don’t even know where my spinning and bait casting tackle is hiding now.

I admit sometimes when I’m tired of casting an 8 weight, to relax I let a streamer just drift behind the boat that is powered by the trolling motor.  Some people would call that trolling.  I call it resting with the possibility of catching a fish.  Heck, in ten years I might be reporting to you here that I spent the day on the lake trolling for walleye.  As I get older I tend to relax more. 

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

Byron Begley
July 9, 2011 

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Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday May 21 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 22 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday June 11 – Beginner Day One
Saturday June 25 – Beginner Day One
Sunday June 26 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday July 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday July 23 – Beginner Day One
Sunday July 24 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday September 10 – Beginner Day One
Saturday September 24 – Beginner Day One
Sunday September 25 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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