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 a beautiful morning.  The sky is clear and the temperature is 64 degrees in Townsend, Tennessee.  I saw the man and his dog at the intersection of Old Tuckaleechee and Highway 321.  That big dog sits in the back of the man’s pickup truck.  The dog is big and the dog is good looking.  I got so see him “close up” this morning.

I know, to some it’s not a big deal to see a man driving a pickup truck with a dog in the back.  To me, it’s the way I start my workday.  I see Little River every morning.  That is a very good start.  Then, I get here, usually around 7:45 am.  After switching out the backup drives and putting my lunch in the refrigerator I click on this iMac and begin. 

I’ve been here doing this, almost every morning, since before 2007. Check out the archives below.  They go back to May 1st 2009.  But actually they go back to February 1st, 2007.  CLICK HERE TO READ THAT ONE.  That was the day I announced the Lynn Camp Prong Brook Trout Restoration Project.  I was 55 years old when I wrote that report.  I am 63 years old now. 

They looked different back then.  I’m pretty sure the Fishing Report began way before that, probably 2005.  I didn’t archive in the beginning.  I did print out copies and kept them in 3-ring binders but threw them away eventually.  I have the text saved though.

Little River is flowing at 79 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.45 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 116 cfs. The water temperature is 67 degrees at 7:55 am.

Fishing is fair.  Anglers were reporting varying catch rates this weekend.  They were also reporting crowded conditions near the roads.  Daniel told me one fisherman said fishing was slow. He only caught 6 or 7.  And, he didn’t fish a full day.  To some, that’s a good day.  To others, it isn’t. 

Right now, until the weekend, you will need to concentrate your efforts on the faster moving water.  The water is kind of low right now.  The trout are hiding.  I would use dry flies and try to keep them in the pockets behind rocks where the current has slowed but the trout still have the cover of moving, choppy water nearby.  Wear muted clothing and fish close.  Seams, near strong current are good spots to fish.  I like the areas where a riffle enters a pool.  Those spots are kind of like small waterfalls.  The current slows but the water is churning with bubbles.  Trout like to hide there and it is easy to get a good drift out of those areas and back downstream to you.

I would fish early and late.

Everything here is going to change.  We have a 40% chance for rain tomorrow.  That chance increases to 60% Friday, 60% Saturday, 50% Sunday, 50% Monday and 60% Tuesday.  I don’t think there is any doubt that we will get some rain over the next few days.  I hope we don’t get too much and see the streams get blown out.

A forecast like this is detrimental to the tourism business.  Many people don’t like to camp or hike in the rain.  They don’t like sitting in a motel room or cabin watching the rain fall.  Many fishermen do like the rain.  I do.  I love clouds and rain.  So, you probably won’t see the crowds next weekend like we’ve had recently.  Townsend and the Park has been jam packed with people lately.  That’s great for the tourism business.  Our town has enjoyed a good tourist season this Summer.  Everyone I have talked to said business has been good.

I like camping in the rain if we have shelter other than just a tent.  Camping in the rain is fun and relaxing.  The campgrounds and backcountry sites are usually not crowded.  Paula and I have not camped in years but we still have all the gear, including a big canvas wall tent.  We are remodeling our house and getting rid of things we don’t need.  We discussed our camping stuff just last week.  We’re keeping all of it.  Who knows, we might decide to start camping again.  After all, we have some awesome campgrounds, some of the best I’ve ever seen, located 5 minutes from our house.

We camped on our honeymoon over 20 years ago.  We used to backpack in the Smokies and may do that again.  You never know.  I had a physical yesterday and my doctor says I’m good to go. 

One of our customers, who has become a friend of mine over the years, is camping with his son at campsite 23 this weekend.  We have been chatting on our message board about the trip.  He asked for input from the members on where to go.  I recommended Campsite 23 on the Goshen Prong Trail.  Others offered the same advice.  I love that place. 

Frank, Mouse, Dwayne and I camped there a few years ago.  We left a truck at the Elkmont Campground and Paula dropped us off a Clingman’s Dome.  They whole trip was down hill.  I like that.  My knees don’t like that.  Anyway, it rained.  We were slipping and sliding down the trail for miles.  Frank fell and landed on his backpack.  He looked like a turtle, trying to right itself.  He wasn’t hurt to bad.  I’m sure I fell too, more than once.  We were both beat up pretty bad when we got to the bottom of the mountain. 

Once we got to the campsite, the fun began. The rain stopped for the rest of the trip.  We fished, swam, cooked and had a blast for 3 days.  I think we might have had a few cocktails too.  In fact, I’m positive we did. 

Frank called me early this morning.  He and Mouse floated the Holston with Josh yesterday.  He said the fishing was slower than it was the day he and I floated last month.  They caught about 30 smallies, the largest being 17 inches.  That is a good day in my book.  We’ve had two excellent days with Josh this year and caught around 100 fish each day.  That doesn’t happen on every fishing trip. 

They drove back to Kentucky last night after a long day of fishing.  Frank said he is worn out.  They had a great time.  Frank and I are floating the Cumberland River for two days with Hagan this month and I can’t wait.  Frank and I met in 1957 when we started the first grade together.

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

Byron Begley
August 5, 2014 

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