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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast and 71 degrees in Townsend.  It was foggy at 7:30 but that is lifting now.  We’ll see some sunshine soon.  Traffic is light now but we are seeing lots of activity this month.  For some reason, visitors are here during what is normally a very slow time for tourism.  It could be, since vacations were cancelled in July due to the heat and storm damage, visitors are here this month.  Our business during the first week of August was up over 30% from last year.  I hope that continues.  July was horrible.

July was the hottest month ever recorded in the United States.  The average temperature nationwide was 77.6 degrees which broke the record set in 1936 by .2 degrees.  I believe it.  You can read the article on the KnoxNews website by CLICKING HERE.

August appears to be moving closer to normal.  We are expecting a low Saturday night in the high 50’s.  This is going to be a nice weekend in Townsend unless the weather pattern changes.  You might want to consider a weekend getaway. 

Water flows are average too, at least Little River is average.  Right now the flow is 110 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 110 cfs.  We might get some rain this afternoon.  We will most likely get rain tomorrow.  Then the sun will shine as the cold front moves in for the weekend.  Sounds nice doesn’t it?

The water temperature is falling and it will get even cooler by the weekend.  The story just keeps getting better.  This morning at 7:40 the water temperature was 70.53 degrees.  That is the coolest it has been in a week. 

Fishing in the Smokies has been good.  Normal to higher flows are one reason. Cloudy afternoons have helped.  Yesterday the water color in Little River was slight stained.  That was good for anglers.  It also seems that this has just been a good year for fishing in the Smoky Mountains.  It seems the trout are larger too.  Maybe you are just getting to be better anglers.  When I really got serious about fishing the Smokies with a fly rod 32 years ago, fishing was tough.  Maybe that was because I didn’t know what I was doing.  And, there was no advice to be found around here.  We were on our own, standing in the middle of the rivers and casting as far as we could.  I’m surprised I didn’t give up.  I guess the beauty of this place kept me coming back.  Then I moved here 20 years ago.

Nymphs and dry flies will work.  A combination of the two might work better.  For a dry fly I would choose a beetle or yellow stonefly pattern.  An ant would make a great dropper off the beetle.  A Green Weenie would be another great choice.  If you want to fish deep, tie on a Prince Nymph, Bead Head Pheasant Tail or Green Weenie and add some extra weight. 

I am getting e-mails and shooting back at my fishing buddies.  I’m talking to them personally.  We are all saying, we can’t wait until it gets cooler so we can go fishing again.  Mind you, I do most of my fly fishing from a boat these days.  It might be ours, Doug’s or Rufus’ boat.  There are a few of us who have opted for the comfort of a floating platform.  We are targeting smallmouth bass.  Maybe it’s a phase for me or it might be my lack of balance that I had years ago.  I am reminded every time I wade, “If I fall and break my arm I can’t work”.  I could not fly fish either.  Wading in the lower stretches of the river is easier too.  I still do that but not often.  Since I was a kid I liked being in a boat.  I still do.

I talked to Bruce yesterday.  His company, Dragonfly Screen Graphics does our t-shirt printing.  I’ve known Bruce since the early 1970’s.  I owned a print shop and Bruce worked part-time for a typesetting company.  He was a business student at Vanderbilt at the time.  He graduated and opened Dragonfly. 

We lost track of each other until 1996.  I saw a guy looking at our fly selection in the shop back then and he looked familiar.  I walked over and spoke to him.  He recognized me and asked me what I was doing here.  I told him we owned the fly shop.  I recognized him and I asked what he was doing here.  He took up fly fishing.  That happens fairly often in the shop.  I see old friends that I lost track of long ago but, fly fishing brought us back together.

Bruce and I discussed the new Smokies Streams T-Shirt.  He is printing it this week.  We have 144 of them in his shop.  The new design has about 8 colors I think.  We have another one he will print next that I know has 12 colors.

Ed Mitchell, our County Mayor got a letter for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE).  He scanned it and sent a copy to me yesterday.  Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) alerted the COE that we intend to re-build Laurel Lake.  Since we will be applying for a permit from both TDEC and the COE, TDEC got them involved now so we won’t be slowed down during the permitting process.  The lady from the Corps of Engineers in Nashville said she would visit us here and help us with our permit.   We are moving along nicely.

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

UPDATE 3:41 PM - Some powerful thunderstorms are passing through East Tennessee. We are experiencing heavy rain, lightning and hail. It appears this will last through the night and into the day tomorrow. It would not be prudent to go fishing in the Park at this time. Flash flooding is possible.

Byron Begley
August 9, 2012 

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