106 Town Square Drive
P.O. Box 505
Townsend, Tennessee 37882
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Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina
Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. At 5:42 am, the temperature is 68.5 degrees.
It is going to be another hot week, with high temperatures in the high 80’s to low 90’s. Lows will be in the high 60’s to 70 degrees. We have a low chance for afternoon thunderstorms today and a 50% chance tomorrow. The chance increases to 60% Thursday and Friday.
Little River is flowing at 68 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.46 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 132 cfs. The water temperature is 73.9 degrees this morning.
Fishing conditions are not what we would like to see in the Smokies. Flow in Little River is much lower than normal. Other streams are likely the same. The water is warm in the low elevations.
If you fish in the Smoky Mountains today, you should drive or hike to higher elevations where the water is cooler. Trout caught in warm water have a lower chance for survival when released.
Wherever you go, you will probably find low flows. Look for plunge pools and cast to the choppy water at the head of the pools. It is going to be partly sunny to sunny for a few days. Find shaded water to fish. Stay hidden and dress to blend in with the forest. Dry flies will probably work for you. You may want to drop a nymph off the dry. I would use Yellow Sally Stonefly or foam beetles for the dry fly.
The tailwaters may be a good option today. Some will be generating and others will be generating sporadically. Check the TVA website to view the schedules, then decide what to do.
Fly fishing on the lakes could be an option. It is going to be hot and uncomfortable. Go early or late. Cast to the banks with poppers or streamers. Watch the water for baitfish and gamefish feeding on them. You may see that, especially when the sun is off the water, in the mornings and late evenings.
Lowland rivers are flowing very low.
I got an e-mail from Brookfield Energy Partners, owners of Smoky Mountain Hydro. They own Chilhowee Dam. The e-mail was sent yesterday, on Sunday.
I asked for the status of repairing the dam and filling the lake.
I learned that they are in the procurement process. I suppose that means they are hiring contractors and buying material. They expect to begin repairing the dam soon. They believe the lake will be re-filled next year.
There is no timeline at this point, because the start date has not been determined. Once repairs begin, they will have a better idea when the job will be finished, and the lake re-filled.
This response came from the Director of Stakeholder Relations. He said, when a start date is determined, he will notify the media and the public.
There have been rumors that the lake will never be re-filled. That is not true, according to Brookfield. The lake is now down 29.97 feet below full pool. I was there last week. At the lower end of the reservoir, it looks like a wide, shallow river. Water is flowing at times, when they are generating at Calderwood Dam. That flow is flushed into Tellico Lake through the floodgates at Chilhowee Dam. Fishing, boating and walking on the Chilhowee lake bed is prohibited.
Daniel told me we had 15 students attend our Free Orvis Beginner Fly Fishing 101 Class yesterday. He said there were two instructors. This is a 2-hour free class, an introduction to fly fishing. These classes are scheduled through August and September. I think we will release a new schedule for these classes beyond September. You can read more by CLICKING HERE.
Our regular beginner one and two day classes are curtailed in August, which is normal, but will resume in September and October. You can learn more about those by CLICKING HERE.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some Fall-like temperatures and rain. Some normal August temperatures would be a huge improvement.
Fall fly fishing can be very good in the Smoky Mountains. Flows and temperatures determine that. August and September are fairly wet months. We normally do not get much rain in October, but it is much cooler.
Fly fishing in shallow water gets much better in the Fall, on our lakes. But, late Summer can be very good too. Plankton rises to the surface during times of low light, early, late or cloudy days. Shad follow the plankton to the surface. Threadfin shad feed on plankton. When the shad are at the surface, the gamefish follow.
Those gamefish can be largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, stripers, white bass or trout. When these gamefish attack schools of shad, you can have the time of your life. Some of our lakes are cool in the upper reaches, below dams. This time of year, that’s where I will be. I like to use a Puglisi Threadfin Shad pattern. I tie those in sizes ranging from 1” long to 2” long and larger. I use a 6 weight to 8 weight fly rod. In the clear, cooler lakes, this fly is deadly. You can read more about tying this fly by CLICKING HERE.
I like to launch the boat about 5 pm and fish until dark. That’s what I plan to do over the next few weeks.
Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.