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 dark and 69 degrees on the outskirts of Townsend, Tennessee.  The holiday weekend is over.  Townsend will be quiet today.  The tourism business (and fishing business) takes a dive in September. I’m not sure why, it just does.  Maybe it’s football fever.  That will change soon, as cool temperatures arrive and the forest begins to take on Fall colors.  It won’t be long.

Little River is flowing at 67 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.35 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 81 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:58 am is 71 degrees just inside the Park.  That number topped out at 74.5 degrees yesterday.  That is very warm.  I don’t remember a reading that high all year.

It is going to be hot and probably wet all week.  I’m ready for some rain.  Today’s high may reach 92 degrees.  The heat wave will continue for the balance of the week.  A high to moderate chance for rain exists all week, mostly in the form of scattered afternoon thunderstorms.  It should be cooler beginning Sunday.  We are all looking forward to that.

If you go fishing in the Smokies, you should certainly go to the higher elevation streams where the water is cool.  Fishing will be better.  Trout in the lower elevations are not going to be living in their preferred temperature range.  Long periods of heat, like we are seeing now have an adverse effect on the trout’s health.  They are stressed in the lower elevations.  Go high for your enjoyment and the fish’s benefit. 

The warm water contains less dissolved oxygen.  That’s not usually a problem in these high gradient streams.  It’s probably not a problem here now.  Water flows are pretty good, not that much less than normal. 

If you find cool water, and you can, the trout will be eager.  Fishing will be better when we have that afternoon cloud cover that should be sporadically blanketing the Smokies in the afternoons.  Fishing early and late is a good idea.  Go after work or before work.  Dry flies and nymphs are both working.  Green Weenies are hot right now.  Sourwood worms are active in the forest.  When they fall in the water, the trout get a good meal.  I think the trout are looking for them.

I am thinking and talking about Fall fishing.  Jack and I talked about that yesterday.  Neither of us have fished much this year.  We’ve both been busy working on remodeling this house.  He has had other things going on.  I’ve been busy at work. 

Lots of Americans are thinking about football.  It is amazing what an impact that sport has on our daily lives.  For instance, on Saturdays, people don’t go fishing much in the South and maybe other parts of the country too during football season.  Their favorite teams are playing, usually on Saturdays.  When the University of Tennessee has a Saturday game, customer traffic is very low at the shop.  We have more customer traffic when UT plays away. 

Visiting anglers from other states are active on the streams most Saturdays until their team plays on TV.  Then, they take a break from fishing to watch the game.  Our store is very much lacking in customers on Saturday afternoon during football season.

I like watching college football too.  I just don’t get to do it very often.  I am always working on Saturdays.  It’s been that way much of my life.

Jack started talking about Bo Jackson yesterday.  I had all but forgotten about Bo.  Bo knows!  Most people would agree, Bo Jackson was probably the most naturally talented athlete in the world during our time.  Unfortunately, an injury took him out of the football and baseball games at the age of 28. Jack and I watched the documentary about Bo early yesterday evening.  It lasts over an hour.  You can find it on YouTube.  It’s worth watching.  HERE’S THE LINK.

So, with the coming of football season, comes the onset of fall fly fishing.  Leaves will be turning soon.  The nights will be cool.  That happens this month in Tennessee.  Further north, it will happen sooner and to a larger degree.

More people will be fly fishing until Winter.  October and November can be stellar fly fishing months in the Smokies.  Brown trout and brook trout spawn.  All trout get active as the water temperatures drop, if they don’t drop too much.  Trout in the tailwaters are active too.  We see more big browns in the Fall. 

One of my favorite months before moving here over 20 years ago, was December.  I lived in Nashville and fished the Caney Fork River.  There, I caught more larger brown trout in December than in most months.

I’m ready for Fall and I bet you are too. 

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

Byron Begley
September 2, 2014

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