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 6:36 am, and the temperature is 72.9 degrees in Townsend, Tennessee.  We have a low chance for isolated thunderstorms today.  Through the weekend, we should expect hot temperatures, hovering around 90 degrees, and absolutely no rain.  In fact, rain is not mentioned in the forecast seriously until next Thursday.  It’s going to seem like August.  It will be August.


Little River is flowing at 114 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.54 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 129 cfs.  The water temperature is 72.1 degrees this morning just inside the Park at the Townsend entrance.  Yesterday, the temperature peaked at 75 degrees.


Your best option today, and through the weekend, is to fish in the high elevations.  The water temperatures are cool up there.  Fishing will be best early and late.  Use your low water tactics.  Blend in, don’t wade much, concentrate on the faster water and use lighter tippet.  Fishing should be good in the high elevations, but not as easy as it was just a week ago, when the water levels were higher.


If you are wading today, your best bet would be on the Clinch River right now. If you are on the Holston, you may have opportunities today for a while.  This afternoon, both dams will be generating. Plan your fishing trip accordingly and check the TVA website yourself before going.

Hopefully, there will be some lower water opportunities this weekend.


You should do well, fishing our tailwaters for smallmouth bass, if you are using a vessel of some sort.  It could be a drift boat, jet boat, kayak or canoe.  August is a great month to fish the Holston and French Broad for smallies.  If the water can be waded, try that. 


Go early or late.  Fishing for bass and bluegill in the evenings can be productive and fun.  Use poppers or sub-surface flies.  Launch your boat, kayak or canoe, when the sun is off the water.  If you do not have a boat, kayak or canoe, go to one of the many TWRA or TVA public use areas and fish from the bank.

You may find schools of gamefish feeding on threadfin shad in the evenings, or maybe early in the mornings, when there is no sun on the water. Two weeks ago, that type of action was excellent.  It may have tapered off now.


Have you ever tried using a weighted nymph for bluegill?  All you do is cast out, using a long leader, and let the fly sink.  Keep your line and leader tight.  Sometimes, the larger “bull” bluegill are several feet below the small guys.  I use one of many versions of the Carter’s Rubber Legged Dragon, that I tie myself.  When your fly reaches the colder, deeper water, that’s where the larger fish often lurk. 


Paula and I don’t use our boat much this time of year.  Frankly, it’s a lot of trouble, hooking it up, driving to the lake, launching, and fishing for a short period of time.  During the heat of the summer, I hate being in mid-day sun, when it is hot as heck, and fishing is slow.  I know a lot of fishermen who are fishing at night.  I’m not a big fan of that either.   

On the other hand, simplifying it all, with smaller boats, and kayaks for instance, seems like a better use of time right now. Preparation time is minimal.  You need a box of flies and a fly rod.  You need a small cooler with plenty of water.  Launch and go.


I’ve spent much of the week in my cave, here at home, working on the website, mostly writing.  I’m working on a big project.  Someone referred me to a “cubical dweller” yesterday.  I think it was Paul.  Part of the project is building, merchandising and marketing warmwater fly fishing, including ordering and maintaining a sustained assortment of the best flies to use.

Yesterday, I was at the shop, for a short time, packaging a bunch of Puglisi Threadfin Shad, a pattern we have not stocked this year.  Halfway through the job, a customer ordered one dozen. 

We began stocking BoogleBug poppers over a week ago.  They are now for sale online.  Today we will be ordering more, to fill in what we sold.  Additionally, each time we order to re-stock, we will also order more colors and sizes.  I’ll photograph the new poppers, and put them on our online store.  All of these poppers are or will also be available in the shop if you don’t order online, or you can call us to order.

Daniel and Dan have a great system for shipping flies.  Remember, we don’t charge for shipping.  In their shipping department, they have all kinds of shipping supplies, just for flies.  I saw all of that yesterday and looked at everything carefully, and saw stuff I never noticed before.

They have a digital scale, used to weigh everything they ship.  A designated computer, accesses our account with the US Post Office.  They print labels, that are USPS ready and stick them on the packages.  Complete orders are placed in an area, ready to go to the Post Office, which is conveniently located next to our store.  We bought the lot, where the shop was built, for many reasons.  One of the most compelling reasons was, it is next to the post office. 

A deadline looms all day long, the time the post office closes for the day. When every order is processed, away they go to the post office next door.  They drop the packages off, and have someone scan a barcode on one sheet of paper.  It’s quick and efficient.

Some items ship at a lower cost through UPS.  We have computer access to the UPS website too.  Those items get a UPS ready label and the brown truck picks them up.

There is a lot of “Stuff” going on behind the scenes at Little River Outfitters.  It’s a lot more than you can imagine.

We have 9 computers, maybe 10.  Four were destroyed and one damaged when we were struck by lightning two weeks ago.  We lost other essential smaller devices too.  We could not sell fishing licenses for a week.  For two days, we had to process all credit card payments through our payment gateway, online.  Our credit card processing equipment was fried.  1 of our 7 phone lines stopped working after the storm.  That line was fixed yesterday. Our IT guy spent I don’t know how many hours, trying to straighten everything out. 

Like I said, there is a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes.

I’m off today but I’m not going fishing.  I will at least start out boat motor and let it run for a few minutes, which is a good thing to do.  I’m also moving some furniture out of the man cave, so Paula and I can move the electric piano in.  That thing is heavy and has to be partially disassembled.  Unfortunately, it is currently upstairs in the loft.

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

Byron Begley (Cave/Cubical Dweller)
July 30, 2015  

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