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 6:01 am, there are some clouds in the dark sky and the temperature is 72 degrees.  High temperatures during the week will be near 90 with lows in the 60’s to low 70’s.  Rain chances are high some days, especially, Tuesday and Thursday.  We have a chance for rain almost every day this week.


Little River is flowing at 184 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.81 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 122 cfs.  The water temperature is 68 degrees this morning.


Fishing is good if you go to the mid to high elevations.  I talked to some anglers yesterday who reported good fishing.  Trout are taking dry flies.  Terrestrials are aan excelent choice.  Try a foam beetle or ant.  Still, the Yellow #16 Neversink Caddis is working well.  It usually does.  Green Weenies will always be a good Summer choice for sub-surface fishing.  Use the Pink Weenie if you are targeting brook trout.  They prefer that color for some reason.

Try Lynn Camp Prong, further upstream from the cascade.  Hike a couple of miles. Above Elkmont is another good choice.  The further you go upstream, the cooler the water will be.  Any tributaries to the West Prong of the Little Pigeon will be fishing well, in the higher elevations.

These hot days will warm the water further in the low elevations streams.  I would stay away from those rivers.


They are fishing well, especially the Clinch and Holston.  Muddy water this week caused slow fishing for smallmouth bass in the lower reaches of the French Broad and probably the Holston River too.  Maybe they have cleared by now.  Check the TVA website for generation schedules before going to any tailwater.  The lakes are full of water.  TVA will be generating at times, maybe often.


Largemouth bass and bluegill fishing is best early and late.  It’s too hot and uncomfortable during the day anyway.  If you do fish during the day, hit the shaded banks.  Fort Loudoun lake was muddy Friday. 


Sponsored by Senators Alexander and Corker, this act would designate about 20,000 acres in the Cherokee National Forest as “wilderness areas”, giving that land the highest protection on federal lands.  The bill is waiting to be presented to Congress. You can read more on the Daily Times website by CLICKING HERE.


250 new fly fishing products were showcased this week at the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Orlando.  Angling Trade Magazine chose several of their favorite new products.  Their favorite saltwater rod is the Scott Meridian.  Best freshwater rod is the new Sage MOD (Moderate Action).  Their favorite waders are the Simms Warriors and Quiet Waders.  Top on the list for freshwater reels is the Orvis Hydros, which has been re-engineered for 2016.

Voted best of show by attendees varied somewhat from the AT Magazine voting.  Fishpond won two top awards in the new product category, the Summit Sling and the Thunderhead Sling.  Rio took both freshwater and saltwater line categories.  The $100 Hatch Nipper won the Accessory category.  Simms Intruder Boot won the Wading Boot award.

Best of Show went to the Scott Meridian fly rod.  You can read more on the Angling Trade website by CLICKING HERE.


It is another Summer Sunday.  We are open today, as usual.

I’m thinking about where to fish this week.  Lower Little River is high on my list.  I am talking about way downstream, where we can use our larger boat.  Or, maybe we could take the kayaks out for an evening.  I always work on weekends, and take a day off during the week.  There are less people on the water on weekdays.  There are more people in the shop on weekends.  Sunday is a very busy day for us, though not as active as Saturday.

I saw a poll on the internet, targeted to the fly fishing industry folks, about IGFA Line Class Record Chasing.  The International Game Fish Association (IGFA), records fly fishing world records.  You can make an entry without killing the fish.  It is a complicated process, which includes sending your scales and leader to IGFA.  Look the records up. You might be amazed at what size fish can win a line class record.

For instance, I found the 8-pound tippet line class world record smallmouth bass weighed only 5 pounds, 9 ounces.  The 16-pound record smallie weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces.  I didn’t verify these records through multiple sources, but I’ve read many accounts and they seem to corroborate each other.

I have friends who have caught smallmouth bass fly fishing world records.  I haven’t.  My largest smallie caught on a fly weighed only 5.0 pounds on a Boga Grip.  I always use 8 to 10 pound tippet. 

My friends and I all seem to think the same way.  Why turn a world record in?  I would not.  First, you have to tell the whole world where you caught it.  And, it would be a lot of trouble for nothing.  Maybe, knowing you did it would be nice.  That would be enough for me.  I would want a “grip and grin” photo too.

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

Byron Begley
July 19, 2015

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