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 6:20 am, dark outside and 63 degrees on the outskirts of Townsend this morning.  A strong thunderstorm moved through here at about 4:30 pm yesterday.  It rained hard.  Later in the night, it rained again. I guess, sometime during the middle of the night, more rain came.

Right now, Little River is rising.  Flow is 217 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.93 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 120 cfs.  The water temperature is 67.8 degrees.

My guess is, the river is stained, maybe not too bad in the Park or in town, but certainly downstream.  And, you could find stained water in the Smokies, at least for a while.  The weather radar is a blank screen.  No more rain for now. We do have a 20% chance to 40% chance every day through Monday.  That will probably be in the form of scattered thunderstorms in the afternoons, typical in August.

It is going to be hot over the next few days with highs in the high 80’s to low 90’s.

Since water levels are very good, fishing will be good.  In the lower elevations, the water will be warm most of the week.  I would plan on fishing the higher elevations, at Elkmont or above or any stream that is located at around 2,000 feet elevation.  You should find cooler water there.  The trout will be more active and less stressed.

If you find water that is slightly off color today, I would use a nymph or a Green Weenie.  Try a bead head nymph like a Prince, Tellico or Hare’s Ear.  If the water is clear, try dry flies.  Nothing beats a Yellow Neversink Caddis. 

Everybody I talk to who is in business here is longing for Fall.  It’s been a slow week.  Early August was great.  Not so now. 

I heard, from a reliable source, Dancing Bear Lodge is coming back.  Sadly for all of us, the main lodge at Dancing Bear burned to the ground November 14th 2013.  The owners decided not to re-build.  Townsend lost a treasure, a property that drew visitors to our town. 

Evidently, someone from Nashville bought the property and intends to re-build the lodge and open next Spring.  The new owner bought the beautiful property with the remaining cabins and plan to move forward.  I don’t know if it will still be called Dancing Bear.  I think it should.  The new owner, according to my source is in the bed and breakfast business in Chattanooga. 

This is great news. 

So, we have two new lodges, Tremont Lodge and Resort, and now Dancing Bear.

When the owners of Dancing Bear bought that lodge it was called Maple Leaf Lodge.  They decided to change the name.  I thought Dancing Bear was a bad idea.  How many fishermen would stay in a place named after a dancing animal?  How about “Trout Bum Lodge, maybe the Angler’s Inn.  Well, I was wrong again. 

The name came from a painting of dancing bears that was hung proudly behind the front desk.  And you know what?  When you hear that name, you won’t forget it.  The lodge did well and fishermen came in the shop and said they were staying at Dancing Bear Lodge and they were proud of it.  It was a great place.  Everyone loved it, including the name.  The owners did the right thing.  I probably would have gone broke.  I know nothing about the hospitality business.

A man, who will remain nameless, came in the store one day last year.  I was winding fly line on a customer’s reel.  I was trying to concentrate on my job at hand.  He started talking to me, trying to convince me to open a distillery in one of his buildings.  A distillery?  He must have been desperate for a tenant. 

Of course I laughed and told him he must be kidding.  He was not kidding.  He persisted. 

I finally told him, “I’m not doing what I do for money”.  And, at 62 years old, I have no intention of learning a new business, especially a moonshine distillery business.  How much fun would that be?  Second, I hate moonshine.  It tastes too much like corn. He finally gave up and left. 

Paula, Frank, Mouse and I ate in a local restaurant on a Sunday this month.  The place was packed.  This is a great restaurant.  The problem was, they were about out of food.  They serve the kind of food that takes a long time to prepare.  When we sat down, someone told us everything they were out of.  And, the main course we got was a tiny portion, not what they usually serve.  They got fooled like all of us did.  Nobody expected August to be busy.  We’ve been out of a lot of stuff too.  It started in July.  Business was booming and it caught us by surprise.  Then, August came and it happened again.

I left that restaurant thinking, “good for them”.  Business was way better than expected.  I wasn’t hungry.  They loaded me up with French fries. 

Running a business in Townsend is not easy in many ways.  But, I can’t think of a better place to live and work.  I am at the point in my life when I want to work where I live and live where I work.  My commute to work takes 5 minutes.  I may see 20 vehicles when I drive in. 

It just happened last week.  My “Change Your Oil” light came on in my truck.  I looked at the sticker on my windshield.  My oil was changeed December 10th, 2013.  So, I’ve driven 3,000 miles since December and it is August.  I like that.  I put $50 worth of gas in it and it lasts a couple of weeks, more or less.  I don’t really track it.  We take Paula’s car on long trips.  It’s practically new.  My truck is a 2001 model with 140,000 hard miles on it.  I still love my truck.  Driving it evokes many memories of great fishing trips.

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

Byron Begley
August 21, 2014

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