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.  It is raining and the temperature is 64 degrees this morning.  I have bad news and good news.  The bad news is, it is probably going to rain all weekend.  The good news is, it is probably going to rain all weekend.

That’s bad news for campers, photographers and tourists.  This is excellent news for fly fishermen.  The chance for rain is 80% today and tomorrow and 60% Sunday.  We may see thunderstorms tomorrow.

The streams are very low for now.  Little River is flowing at 42 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.21 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 118 cfs, three times what we have at this point.  The water temperature at 7:55 am is 68.3 degrees.

I would go fishing today.  I would also watch the water levels continuously.  Nymphing would be a good idea.  It is overcast, practically dark out there.  Fishing could be excellent. 

We’ll have to see what happens.  This band of rain is coming our way from Louisiana, through Mississippi and Alabama and bearing down on us.  The radar indicates heavy rain approaching later unless something drastic happens.  Right now, we should get a good soaking rain, which is desperately needed.

Some of the lakes in our area are low, namely Norris and Cherokee.  Douglas Lake is full, right where it should be this time of year.  Melton Hill, Fort Loudon and Tellico Lake are at the level they should be this time of year. 

The water level in Lake Cumberland is 8.65 feet below full pool.  Lakes reports Center Hill is 17 feet below full pool.  I suspect that is due to the ongoing dam repairs.  They say Dale Hollow Lake is 4 feet below full pool.

I really enjoy fly fishing in lakes.  It can be very productive at times, especially when the fish are in shallow water.  When we are fishing on a lake, we seldom see other fly fishermen.  I believe the lake fish see very few flies.  And, they don’t seem to be spooked when a very light fly hits the water.  It seems natural, unlike the sound of a plug or spinner bait landing on the surface.

I like the option of sitting down in a comfortable boat seat and driving to the next fishing spot.   

There are times we do very well fly fishing on lakes.  There are also times when we can’t buy a fish. 

Paula and I fish on weekdays only, never on weekends.  So, at least in our mind, the lakes are not crowded.  Often we are the only rig parked at the ramp.  Sometimes, we don’t see another boat.  Usually, we see a handful of boats throughout the day but not many.

I think, the reason for that is, we have so many surface acres or square miles of impounded water here, with a relatively small population. 

Something else we don’t see many of around here are boat and motor dealers.  I drive to Morristown for parts and service for our Mercury outboard.  That is an hour and a half each way.  Someone asked me recently, “Where is the nearest Johnson Outboard dealer?” Well, you can probably have your Johnson worked on at an Evinrude dealer because the brand “Johnson” is gone. 

You would think boat and motor dealers would be scattered throughout Knoxville.  They are not. There is an Evinrude dealer in Clinton, not far from Knoxville.

Most boat and motor dealers, in our area, are located outside the larger city of Knoxville. 

Bass Pro Shops sells boats and Mercury motors.  They are located fairly close to Knoxville.  When I visit that store, the service department is always busy.

The closest Yamaha dealer to us is in Madisonville.  They have a good reputation and I could probably get there in 45 minutes. They sell a lot of boats and motors in our area.

If you want to buy a kayak or canoe, the options are endless.  We have a good store 15 minutes from Townsend that sells both.  Knoxville has several stores that sell canoes and kayaks. 

It is amazing, how many people I talk to in the shop, who own and fish from a kayak or canoe.  Fly fishing, canoes and kayaks just seem to go together.  Paula and I have two kayaks and some canoes.  We like the kayaks best right now.  That may change some day.  Canoes are excellent boats to explore and fish out of.   

I know lots of people who own drift boats and rafts.  20 years ago, they were few in numbers.  I know a few people here who own flats boats.  They use them on the lakes and tow them to the coast. Personal watercraft are another way to fly fish, in areas too deep to wade.

Our sport is very popular among boat enthusiasts. If you have not tried it, you should.  Working here, we hear all kinds of boat stories from fly fishermen. 

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

Byron Begley
July 18, 2014

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