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 this morning.  The forest is wet and it smells so good.  This is a rain forest.  We get a lot of rain here.  Yesterday was no exception.  We’ll get more over the next few days.  It is going to be cooler this weekend, closer to normal but not quite. We are all happy about that.

Our home was built in the forest.  Trees almost touch our house.  We are remodeling and one of the new features is a metal roof that was installed about a month ago.  I’ve never lived under a metal roof.  The rain sounds a little different.  The big difference I’ve noticed is the noise a nut makes when it drops from a tree onto the roof.  Acorns and other nuts are falling.  Further back in the woods, walnuts have fallen.  Jack and I found a tree that had shed many walnuts a couple of weeks ago.  There, the bears are having a feast.  Vegetation is mashed down all around the tree.

Pears and apples have fallen in our neighbor’s orchard.  Yesterday, a doe and her spotted fawn were eating the feast on the ground.

One year, John, one of our neighbors heard a crunching sound.  He said it sounded like someone breaking large limbs.  We walked back to his barn to see what was going on.  There, below a walnut tree, was a large bear, sitting on his haunches, eating walnuts.  John turned around and walked back to his house. 

Can you imagine a large animal, not a squirrel, eating a freshly fallen walnut? I didn’t know bears ate them.  They have strong jaws and teeth.

The long term weather forecast calls for normal temperatures by September 12th with highs in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s.  I hope that actually happens.  When it does, fishing will be good everywhere around us. 

Little River is flowing at 83 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.44 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 99 cfs. The water temperature at 6:33 am is 70.5 degrees.  Yesterday afternoon, Little River rose to 1.75 feet after the brief thunderstorm.  The water levels have been fluctuating up and down almost every day and that should continue. 

Wait a week and fishing will be much better in the lower elevation streams.  Right now, you should fish higher.  Anglers are fishing around and above Elkmont or going higher in the mountains to find cooler water and active trout.  Fishing is good.

Dry flies, nymphs or both are working well.  We are telling our customers to use a Yellow Neversink Caddis and a Green Weenie.  David Knapp is working at the store two days a week.  He is camping at Elkmont.  He fishes there every day he is here.

I heard him telling a customer yesterday about all the green inchworms he is seeing in the forest. He was very adamant about the fact that the trout are looking for and feeding on inchworms or sourwood worms.  He is right. Those little morsels are everywhere you look.  Trout are definitely being caught on Green Weenies.  Use them.

The primary Green Weenie we sell is tied locally.  It is simple to tie.  Ours have a loop of micro chenille tied in at the tail.  They work better than those that don’t have the loop.

Joe Humphreys was at our store a few years ago for a special event we were holding.  He and I were looking at our fly selection.  I learned something new from Joe.  That Green Weenie pattern was first tied by Joe’s good friend, George Harvey.  George lived near State College, Pennsylvania where Joe lives.  They both taught fly fishing at Penn State, George first, then Joe later.

Joe told me the purpose of the chenille loop.  It gives the Green Weenie action.  The fly sways from left to right, then back as is drifts.  Lefty Kreh told me the same thing one day when he was in our shop.  He ties his using red chenille.  After Lefty got home, he called the shop and ordered some red chenille from us. 

I was talking to a customer last week who was buying some Green Weenies.  We sell several different patterns.  He said he used the flies without the loop and they did not work nearly as well as the flies with the loop.  It’s the action that Joe described to me that day, that makes it better.

If you take our beginner fly tying class, the first fly you will tie is that exact Green Weenie.  Even if you don’t tie flies, you could buy a cheap vise and few tools and tie them yourself.  It’s easy.  As far as we can tell, that fly is not offered for sale by the larger fly companies.  So, we have them tied here.

I don’t have the rain gauge readings today.  Because we live in the trees, our rain gauge is at the barn in an open field.  I would go back there in the dark but I don’t want to be bothered by a walnut-eating bear this early in the morning.  I’d say we got one half inch yesterday.

Well I’ll be!  I was getting ready to run this report up to our remote server.  I walked into the kitchen to get another cup of coffee.  It is getting light outside.  I looked out the kitchen window, and there, 20 feet from the house was a bear.  It was looking back and forth from left to right.  I bet he was looking for the acorns that drop from the trees, onto our roof then to the ground.  Paula grabbed her camera and came downstairs to get a picture.  He saw her through the window, turned, and disappeared into the forest. If she got the picture I would show it to you now. If you don't believe me, ask her.

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

Byron Begley
September 5, 2014

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