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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is 5:42 am and the temperature is 57 degrees.  Our night temperatures will be in the 50’s for a couple of days. Got to love that.  Highs will be in the low 80’s.  No rain is expected until Sunday.  The long term weather forecast is not what I want to read.  The heat may return next week. 

Little River is flowing at 59 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.26 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 105 cfs.  The water temperature is 69.4 degrees this morning.

Fly fishing for trout in the Smoky Mountains is fair.  The water is low and in the lower elevations, it is warm.  That can be described as “usual” in late August. Tellico River, in the Cherokee National Forest is flowing above normal.  The rain that has missed us over the past few weeks, seems to have found the National Forest nearby.  Tellico River has been flowing above normal often, lately.

Fishing will be best in the mid to high elevation streams.  You will need to blend in with the forest so the trout don’t see you, to be successful.  Stay low and wear muted clothing.  Trout will be hiding in the faster water or nearby, to avoid being seen by predators. 

Find shaded water.  The sun will be bright.  I would use dry flies, probably a foam beetle.  Green or Pink Weenies will work too.

Both Norris and Cherokee Dams will be generating today with a short 2-hour break at Cherokee.

You may have noticed, I’m working on the design on this page.  I’m trying to clean it up.  The links to the dam websites are now in two columns, below this text.  That looks better.  I added some USGS Stream Gauge links yesterday.  That’s new.  All the ads are on the left.  I’m planning to change them out more often.  Maybe you like the ads or maybe you don’t.  Please keep in mind, if we don’t sell tackle, we won’t stay in business.  If we were to go out of business, there would not be a fishing report here.  We all appreciate you buying from us and keeping us going now for over 20 years. 

Fly fishing in the lakes is best late in the day, when the sun is off the water.  Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and bluegill are taking poppers, near the banks and in shallow water, late or on cloudy days.

There are dozens of Puglisi Threadfin Shad on my desk right now.  We buy them from Enrico Puglisi.  I use a Sharpie marker to place the dot behind the eye.  I also color the tail lightly using a Chartreuse Prismacolor marker.  Then, I package them to be sold.

This is a killer fly for trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass white bass and carp. They even work in tailwaters for trout, though I don’t think threadfin shad live in the cold water directly below dams. Still, they work.

I tie my own and have for many years. They are time consuming to tie.  You can see the two sizes we sell in the Smallmouth Bass category of our online store by CLICKING HERE.  They are on page 3.  I use the Micro most of the time.

I also tie Puglisi flies, in larger sizes and colors for saltwater fly fishing in the Gulf.  Some of the larger flies take an hour to tie.  We all hate to lose those.

Elk are in rut in the Park.  You need to be careful around those animals right now.  The bulls are agitated and dangerous.  Biologists and seasonal helpers are trying to keep the elk away from the public using paint ball guns.  They use the same guns to run bears away from people too. 

And, even more interesting, the paint balls are filled with fish oil based clear paint.  Fish oil?  I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I assume, fish oil is about the same weight as paint, so the projectile is balanced with the weapon.  I suppose Park Officials don’t want wild elk and bears running around, viewed by the public, with fluorescent orange or yellow spots on their fur.  You can read the story on the WBIR website by CLICKING HERE.

The National Park Service celebrated it’s 99th birthday, yesterday.  Not long ago, Great Smoky Mountains National Park celebrated it’s 75th birthday.  I found an interesting article on the subject, with a local slant, on the Daily Times website.  You can read it by CLICKING HERE.  Visitation in our Park is up 8% this year.

It won’t be long, just weeks away.  Brown and brook trout will be considering mating.  What an exciting time of  the year.  You will be seeing large brown trout in rivers, and wonder, “where have they been”.  I think they hide during the day and feed at night.  Experts will verify that assumption. 

Some of my buddies and I used to go to Yellowstone, and fish the last week of October, when the brown trout were spawning.  We caught a lot of big rainbows too,  They followed the brown trout and fed on the dislodged eggs. 

The last week of October, on the Madison River, is not normally a comfortable experience.  It is usually cold and snowing.  We even camped one week at Madison Junction.  Nighttime lows were in single digits that week. I remember one day, the high temperature was 8 degrees. I always had several pair of fleece gloves with me at all times.  I stuffed chemical hand warmers in my pockets.  It was miserable.  The fishing was awesome.

Brown trout in the tailwaters  here, get active too.  I used to fish the Caney Fork River, below Center Hill Dam, on a regular basis.  I lived in Nashville at the time.  I tried to fish the Caney every week.  My best fishing month of the year was usually December.  Jack’s favorite two months to fish in the Smokies are December and January. 

So, don’t put your gear away when the weather turns cold.  You are missing some great fly fishing for trout. 

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

Byron Begley
August 25, 2015

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