Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and 69 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic is very light.  The Summer vacationers are at home.  Their kids are in school.  Townsend is a place where young families visit during the Summer.  Older visitors are present in the Spring and Fall.

Little River looked good this morning.  Flow is currently 153 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.82 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 129 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:50 am is 67.4 degrees.

We have a pretty good chance for rain today through Saturday.  I did find 1/4 “ in the gauge this morning.  A band of storms is moving in our direction but it appears on the radar that most of it will be north of us when it moves through.  More storms are showing up on the radar but they are hours from us.  Today might be a great day to fish in our area.

I’ve been off for two days but I know fishing has been good in the Smokies.  The water levels are a little higher than normal.  The streams are in great shape for dry fly fishing.  You could choose plenty of fly patterns that will work.  I would pick a Yellow Stimulator, Yellow Neversink Caddis or a black foam beetle of some sort to use for a dry.  I know I would start with a Green Weenie as a sub-surface offering.

If you are fishing on the Clinch River or Holston below Cherokee Dam right now, you have some great conditions.  TVA says they are not generating at either one of those dams.  However, they will be soon.  Check the TVA website to see their posted generation schedules. 

Paula and I fished on the Little Tennessee River on Tuesday.  Fishing was slow.  Smallmouth bass and other species were not hitting on top. We caught a few fish using Chartreuse and Crawfish Orange Dragons.

The impoundments on the Little Tennessee tend to be ogliogrophic which means the nutrient load is low.  Due to that, there are not large populations of shad in the waters we usually fish.  Downstream on Tellico Lake where the Tellico River meets the Little T, the nutrient load is better.  There are more baitfish there. Tellico River tuns through fam land and picks up nutrients along the way.

I think all of the lakes on the Little T have trout populations.  We have had our best luck fly fishing for trout below Chilhowee Dam.  We don’t catch many trout because we are usually targeting smallmouth bass. 

It was overcast all day Tuesday.  The wind died at about noon.  The water was slick.  We could see fish feeding all around us.  Every time I tried to get close they moved away.  That is frustrating.  I’ve had better luck just sitting in the boat and waiting for trout and smallmouth bass come to us instead of trying to chase them down.  Since there are usually very small baitfish schools, the fish are scattered.

Threadfin shad are filter feeders.  They eat planton.  Plankton is light sensitive.  On cloudy days the plankton rise to the surface.  Threadfin shad follow the plankton to the water’s surface.  Then, the predator fish move to the top to eat the shad.  This also happens early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun is off the water.

A few times I’ve been waiting for surface feeding fish to come our way and caught them by accident.  I always use a small Puglisi Threadfin Shad pattern.  While waiting, I’m usually dangling the fly in the water.  Sometimes I’ve been surprised when a trout or smallmouth bass swims near the boat and grabs my fly that is suspended about 10 feet below the surface.  It doesn’t happen often but it happens.  I’ve caught some nice fish by accident.

We ran into Jack Gregory and Joe Tefeteller on the water.  That does happen often.  As usual, we pull our boats along side and talk.  Tuesday was no different.  We probably talked for an hour.  The water was calm and there was no wind. 

Fish were feeding on the surface all around us.  When one would splash on the surface Jack would identify the species.  “That was a trout”, “that was a smallmouth”.  Joe had a spinning rod rigged with a soft bait of some sort that looked like a shad.  He made casts to a few of the fish.  Jack, Paula and I were more interested in talking.  All of a sudden a huge rainbow trout surfaced maybe 20 feet from the boat.  Joe made one cast but he didn’t know which direction the trout was moving.  Jack and I saw the fish’s head so we knew. The big trout moved on.

I like standing in a boat, on a calm lake when the sun is hidden by the clouds.  We usually don’t catch many fish, but we are “sight fishing” and sometimes we do very well.  Being lucky enough to be fishing when the conditions are like that doesn’t occur for us often. When it does, I’m happy!

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

Byron Begley
August 8, 2013

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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