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 62 degrees in Townsend and the sky is clear.  This is Monday morning in August.  I came to work at 7:30 am.  There were cars everywhere.  The Best Western parking lot was full.  Last night, Paula, Mouse, Frank and I went to Smok’n Joes for dinner.  We had to wait 15 minutes on a Sunday night…in August.  They said they have been slammed this weekend.  Our store has been super-busy, way up from last year. 

It is supposed to be slow.  Kids are going back to school.  What we are seeing in town defies all tourism history wisdom.  It can’t be explained.  July was the same way.  Everybody in the tourism business is scratching their heads and enjoying the new found prosperity.  Maybe it’s the weather.  Maybe it’s the economy.

Little River is flowing fairly low at 87 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.49 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 130 cfs. The water temperature this morning is 66.2 degrees.

Fishing has been very good but with the water levels dropping, it won’t be as easy.  Stealth, presentation and light tippets (6X) will improve your odds.  I would use dry flies.  I like them when the water is low.  Hit the pockets and seams near faster water.  The trout are looking for a place to hide. 

Choppy water offers them that place.  They need to stay in the slower water to conserve energy.  But, they will swim out in the faster water to grab a meal. If they see a bug, floating fast down a run and they go after it, they don’t have much time to inspect the meal.  Is it the real thing?  Is it an imitation with a hook on it?  Often, they are likely to throw caution in the wind and make a split second decision.  That is favorable to us.  That is not so favorable to the trout.

The current slows down in front of large rocks.  Trout hide there.  Of course, the current is slower behind rocks or what fishermen call pockets.  If you can keep a dry fly floating behind or in front of a rock, without drag, all it takes is a few seconds for a trout to spot your fly and eat it.  That’s hard to do.  The current gains strength further behind the rock and pulls your fly out of the pocket.  You’ve got to get close to make that happen in many cases. 

Frank and Mouse drove up to the Middle Prong when they got here yesterday.  They said every place you could park was occupied.  People are traveling and they are certainly enjoying Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

I don’t know if this surge can be sustained.  Maybe it will crash next week.  We’ll see.

My buddies are with Josh today floating either the Holston or French Broad rivers for smallmouth bass.  Fly fishing for smallmouth bass has been gaining popularity for a few years.  I started fishing almost exclusively for smallmouth bass 5 years ago. I know a lot of people who started way before then.  I hear more and more people talking about trying this more often than I used to.

When Josh Pfeiffer started guiding I suggested that he specialize in smallmouth bass.  I knew he liked fishing for them.  He’s done it most of his life.  But, he is a great trout guide too.  Over time, his reputation as a brown fish guide got around to the few anglers who fished for them back then. I don't know if my advice to pursue smallies had anything to do with it. Maybe he was planning it all along. It worked!  

Now, Josh has a very good business based on his knowledge and experience, not to mention his personality. He’s a really nice guy. Go to his website HERE.  You will see some pictures of big trout.  But, they are overwhelmed by the photos of smallmouth bass.  Mike Bone and Randy Ratliff are guiding smallmouth bass anglers when requested.  This sport is catching on.

Bob Clouser is a smallmouth bass guide.  He and Harry Murray probably started the surge in the sport, decades ago.  I can’t think of anyone before them who made smallies a specialty to the fly fishing world.  There are probably some I don’t know about.

I know a lot of anglers who are either out west or are getting ready to go.  I know several who are preparing to go to Alaska.  I’m meeting with one this afternoon. He is a government official and we’re meeting about government issues but he said he needed to buy a fly rod while he is here.

I am adding new fly tying demonstrators to the list for Fly Tyer’s Weekend that will be held November 8th and 9th.  One of them confirmed yesterday.  If you read our message board, you know him.  His name is Shawn Madison.  I am really looking forward to spending time with Shawn at the event.  He lives in Norris, Tennessee and loves to fish the Clinch River.

The beginning of the Fly Tyer’s Weekend web pages is my current project.  CLICK HERE to see the beginning of the first page.  There will be about 5 pages dedicated to Fly Tyer’s Weekend.  Save the page as a bookmark and watch the progress.  It should be finished by the end of the week. 

I have contacted some fly tyers who have not responded.  Maybe they are on fishing trips.  I have more to contact.  Our goal is to have 40 fly tyers demonstrating on that weekend.  It will be held at the newly remodeled Tremont Lodge and Resort.  Their new website is supposed to be finished this week. 

It is going to be sunny and dry until the weekend.  Hopefully, we will get some more stream improvement rain soon.

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

Byron Begley
August 4, 2014

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