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 5:52 am, a tiny thunderstorm is active in our area, and the temperature is 75 degrees.  It is going to be hot today, in the low 90’s. The chance for rain is 30% today.


Little River is flowing at 232 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.96 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 117 cfs.  The water temperature is 67.8 degrees, near Townsend.


Fishing is good due to the higher than normal flows.  Little River is flowing at twice normal for this date.  Normal is low.  Water temperatures are warm in the low elevations and they will warm further today and over the next few days.  Fishing will be best in the mid to high elevation streams, early and late.

During the day, fish the shaded streams.  Dry flies and nymphs will produce strikes.  I would use a black foam beetle, Yellow Sally Stonefly or Yellow Stimulator as a dry fly.  Green or Pink Weenies are good choices for sub-surface fishing.  Other patterns will work.  Terrestrials are an important food source for trout right now. 


There are tailwater fishing opportunities today.  Check the TVA website before going.  Norris and Cherokee Lakes are at full Summer pool. 


There is not doubt, fly fishing and conventional fishing from kayaks is becoming very popular.  Fishing kayak sales are booming.  Paula and I bought our fishing kayaks in 2009.  We use them for the most part for saltwater fishing.  We tow them to Florida on a trailer.  Most people transport them on racks mounted to cars and trucks.

These boats are perfect for shallow water fishing.  They draft almost nothing.  The can be rigged by you, for a custom preference.  You should see how people rig these boats.  Big people can buy big boats, that are stable.  You can even stand and fish in some models.

They perform well in small rivers and tailwaters, lakes and ponds and in our case, in bays and open ocean.  We’ve been offshore 2 ½ miles in ours.  Jack and I encountered 3-foot swells once.  That was not by choice.  But, the boats did fine.

One thing I have noticed is, you can get very close to fish.  They are not easily spooked.  I think that is because of the low profile, especially when the angler is sitting.  We have found, you don’t have to cast far.  I’m always amazed at how many fish you see, sitting in a kayak.  I’ve had redfish, speckled trout, sharks, rays, Spanish mackerel, and other species, swim right next to my boat.  Once, a porpoise surfaced a few feet from my boat. 

I believe fish think kayaks are a drifting log or seaweed.  This week, Paula and I had two baby beavers swim right up to the kayaks we were fishing from.  One was swimming inches away from me.  I could have touched it.  I didn’t.

If you are interested in this fun and productive way to fly fish, you should read the free online magazine called Southern Kayak Fishing. I read every issue.  You can view the July issue by CLICKING HERE.  There is an article about Little River and Josh Pfeiffer in this one.

The editor is Ed Mashburn. He and the staff do a great job.


We are officially out of the grips of a drought, in East Tennessee.  Rainfall for the year is nearly normal, thanks to the rain that fell in June and July.  The latest U.S. Drought monitor was released Thursday.  You can view it by CLICKING HERE.  Just a few weeks ago, we were considered to be in a “Moderate Drought”.

Parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Florida are still listed as being in a Moderate Drought.  Unfortunately, the far west states are not faring well, especially Nevada, California and other nearby states.  It is very dry out there.

The long term weather forecast for Townsend, through August 1st, predicts hot temperatures hovering around 90 degrees during the day.  Night temperatures will probably be in the high 60’s to low 70’s.

Chances for rain range from 20% to 80%.  This can change of course. 

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

Byron Begley
July 18, 2015

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