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 Mountians.  It is sunny and 67 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic is very light on the roads.

Josh Pfeiffer was just pulling into our parking lot when I got here.  He and I talked as he waited for his client.  He has been very busy floating the tailwaters.  Today he is guiding in the Smokies.  The guides are taking their clients to higher elevation streams where the water is cooler.

Little River is flowing at 55 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.31 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 137 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:15 am is 69.7 degrees.

If you go fishing today or through the weekend, go high in the Smokies.  The water will be low.  Higher up, the water will be cooler.  Try dry flies, especially yellow sally stonefly patterns.  You might choose a #16 Yellow Stimulator or Neversink Caddis.  There are many other choices.  A Yellow Elk Hair Caddis will work.  For a nymph I would use a one that does not have a shiny bead.  They don’t work as well for me when the water is low.  Of course a Green Weenie or Pink Weenie will produce for you.

It looks like rain will be in the forecast again starting Monday.  Between now and then, it is going to be hot, up to 90 degrees.

Bill just returned from a two-day trip fishing on the Cumberland River in Kentucky.  He and his buddies fished with guides Rocky Cox and Hagan Wonn.  They had a good trip.  Fishing was slow the first day and excellent the second day.

I was fishing with Hagan one day a few years ago on the Cumberland and hooked the largest trout of my life.  That 6X tippet wouldn’t hold him.  It is a day I will never forget and I think about it often.  When that big brown trout swam by the boat and we saw it, we were both in shock.  When the fish broke off I laughed.  Hagan seemed surprised at my reaction.  “Hey, I fooled him and got to seem him, that’s enough for me.”  A picture of me holding that fish would have been nice to have.  That trout’s image is still burned in my mind forever.  I think it was as long as my leg.  Only Hagan could dispute that.

Frank and I are fishing with Hagan in August.  I can’t wait.

Everybody is hearing the annual cicadas but nobody is catching fish on them as far as I know.  At home, on my days off, I hear them.  When they start dying, and falling into the rivers, the game will be on. 

Smallmouth bass and trout, especially in the larger rivers, will be gulping them down.  I caught some very nice smallmouth bass last year on cicada patterns.  They were tied with a white belly and olive back.  I’ve got some huge Knuckleheads tied up to match that awesome meal for fish.  It’s just not time, not yet.  When it is time, I’m ready.

You can do an internet search on “Annual Cicadas” and click the “Image” button.  From what I can tell, the colors vary depending on where you are.  Though olive and white might be good colors here, they could be similar but different somewhere else.  I plan to tie some other colors before we go to the Cumberland River in August.

Hoppers can be excellent flies to use on larger lowland rivers and tailwaters.  Big black beetles work too.  I use a black Knucklehead for a large beetle imitation.  I was fishing with a black Knucklehead on the Holston River recently.  The fish didn’t want it.  I switched to yellow, and they ate them up.  Sometimes I do well with chartreuse.  Don’t ask me why one color works well one day and another works better the next.  I have no idea.  But, for that reason, I’m willing to change colors often.

When I was a kid, I loved popper fishing in the evenings for bluegill on our farm ponds.  I still love doing it.  I started fly fishing on the farm ponds exactly 52 years ago today.  I got my first fly rod as a gift on my 11th birthday.  At that time, we had to buy cork poppers.  I learned later in life how to make my own.  I always had a variety of colors. 

Again, some colors work best on different days or that is my observation.  I don’t know why.

There are many things about fly fishing we will never understand completely.

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

Byron Begley
July 11, 2014

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