Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  Well I’ll be a son of a gun, it is raining and it’s raining hard.  We captured more than an inch of rain so fair in our gauge at the shop.  And that started about 7:30 this morning.  The rain is still coming down.  I feel blessed this morning.  We all should.

The rain will continue off and on today and tomorrow.  Little River is rising.  Currently the flow is 115 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Normal for this date is 116 cfs.  The river will rise further today.  Chuck was out with a student yesterday afternoon in the Park.  At one point the river became turbid due to a small thunderstorm somewhere up stream.  If you look at the radar, the Park is getting hammered right now in our watershed.  The heaviest rain is about over for now.  In about 30 minutes this cell will be in North Carolina, just a few miles away.  But right now, it’s ours.

Fishing will pick up in the Park.  It’s still going to be hot and the water will be warm.  Your best bet is to be on the upper Middle Prong or upper East Prong of Little River at daybreak tomorrow morning.  Then, move up to the higher elevations later unless it’s cloudy.  Watch the water temperature.  Try to fish where the temperature is 65 degrees or less.  You will do better in the shaded riffles.  Dry flies or nymphs will work.

Today, I would hike up the Little River above Elkmont and on to Fish Camp Prong or higher.  You may encounter some high water so be careful.  The water will be colored too.  But when it starts to clear a little and until the water gets warm fishing might be really good.  I can’t predict what the streams will do today.  It is raining right now even harder than before.  And this rain is pounding Little River up high on the East Prong.  So you might find high muddy water for a while.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we get over 3 inches of rain out of this.  I bet we do.

I’ve talked to some anglers who are fishing the lakes.  They are reporting slower than usual fishing.  Right now the same rules apply on the lakes as they do in the Park.  Be there at daybreak or fish until dark.  It’s “Dog Days”, whatever that means.  To me it means fishing early and late.

My buddy Jack Gregory always makes sure I’m up at 4:00 am when we go fishing.  If we are in Florida, Tennessee or anywhere else, if you are with Jack you better go to bed early.  Then you better be ready to fish all day long until almost dark.  He doesn’t get tired.  He loves to fly fish.  He always catches a lot more fish than I do.  He keeps his fly in the water a lot.  He doesn’t false cast hardly at all.  His fly just stays in the water somehow all day.  It is something to watch. 

I stopped by the Visitors Center this morning and drove by Chad Rochelle’s office too before work. I’m getting started on Troutfest 2011.  Jack, Rufus and I met yesterday to do some planning for our first Troutfest Committee meeting to be held in August.  We are going to have more committee members than before and at that first meeting we will have some special guests.  I’m hoping to hold that meeting at the Laurel Valley Country Club.  Our meeting room at the shop won’t be large enough.  We are planning for 6 committee meetings beginning in August and into May.  Most of our team know their jobs, they are aware of changes they want to make.  There are going to be some new initiatives to increase attendance and profits.  I am planning to recruit some professional help in those areas. 

Like I said yesterday, Jack wants to increase our attendance to 5,000 people.  I want to increase our profit to $100,000.  Rufus wants to do both.  I think our team is ready and with the addition of new committee members and professional help, I believe we will accomplish those goals.  We are planning to donate $45,000 directly to the National Park Fisheries Department and to the Fisheries Fund held by Friends of the Smokies using funds earned at Troutfest 2010 and a grant from Trout Unlimited National.  That is of course pending a vote by the board of directors of the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Last year we donated $40,000.

The rain just stopped.  It looks like the sun is coming out now.  Little River is flowing at 131 cfs and still rising. 

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

Byron Begley
July 19, 2010

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