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.  At 5:46 am, it is very dark outside, raining lightly and the temperature is 66.6 degrees. A small thunderstorm hovered over our house, yesterday afternoon and dropped some heavy rain for a short period of time.  I could see dark storm clouds over Cades Cove, which is not far and viewable from here.  The rain missed much of the Park.  Some streams rose briefly. All streams that have a USGS gauge showed some signs of higher water yesterday, but not for long.

It will be abnormally warm today, about 88 degrees.  The cold front and rain will arrive Wednesday and last for several days.  The high temperatures will be around 80 degrees.  Lows will be in the 60’s until next weekend, when it will drop into the 50’s, unless the forecast changes.  We have a high chance for rain and thunderstorms Wednesday and Thursday.  I’m glad to see that coming, both the rain and normal temperatures.  That will be great for fly fishing.

Little River is flowing at 40 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.14 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 98 cfs.  The water temperature is 68.9 degrees this morning.

If you fish in the Smoky Mountains today, go to the higher elevations where the water is cooler.  I would use dry flies and hit the choppy, broken water.  I would fish high above Elkmont or way up Lynn Camp Prong.  Another option would be driving toward Newfound Gap on Highway 441, and fish one of the streams up there.  There isn’t much water.  There is not usually much water in early September, but now, it is much lower than normal.

You may be able to squeeze in some tailwater trout fishing this morning on the Clinch and Holston Rivers, if you are wading or boating.  They will be generating at the dams at times, mostly later in the morning.  Check the TVA website and see if you can work with their generation schedule.

I think the lakes will be very crowded today.  I don’t know that for a fact because I have not fished on a weekend or holiday for over 20 years.  I’m just going by hearsay. 

I think we were busy at the store yesterday.  I didn’t go in but I talked to Dan and Paul a couple of times.  Instead, I sat down at this computer at 6:30 am and worked until 3:30 pm.  I didn’t eat lunch or take much of a break all day.  There were some projects that needed to get done so I just started working and didn’t stop for 9 hours.  One of my friends called and wanted me to meet him. I was not going to quit until the job was done and I did it.

I designed several web pages during the past two days.  One of them was an article written by Dan Munger about his fishing trip to British Columbia two weeks ago.  Dan is an excellent writer.  His photography is awesome.  You will be able to read it when you get our e-newsletter Wednesday.  We usually send out newsletters on Tuesday and occasionally later in the week.  But, some people were not working this weekend or today.  So, Tuesday will be like a Monday to them.  Their e-mail boxes will be packed with mail.  If you have not subscribed to our newsletter, you can do it now by typing in your e-mail address in the box below. 

Fall is coming soon and I’m glad.  It’s about time. This has been a hot Summer.  The flows have been low in the streams often.  Cool cloudy days, cooler water, and plenty of it, is what I’ve been waiting for. 

The brown and brook trout will be colored up for the spawn.  They will be active.  Fishing in the Smokies will be much better.  The mountains during peak of the Fall colors will be spectacular.  The lakes will be void of pleasure boaters. 

The waters in the Gulf of Mexico will cool.  The nights in the south will be cooler.  Redfish will be active and feeding in shallow water.  I’m looking forward to that.

Avid fly fishermen who travel, will be coming to the Smoky Mountains.  Most fishermen travel here from the East US.  When the water is cold in the Northeast, and the trout become sluggish, those fishermen can come here and find very active trout in the Southeast. Fishermen from the deep South will be visiting in greater numbers.  They have had a hot Summer there too.

Many will be camping in the backountry or in the developed campgrounds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Some of the best times of my life were spent sleeping on the ground in the Park with my fly rod leaned against a tree. 

I can’t remember all the times we loaded canoes and floated for days down a river, and camped along the way.  I did a lot of that when I was younger.  My old ABS canoe is at the barn and filthy right now.  I’m planning to move it to the boathouse and clean her up.  It’s time to put that canoe back into service.  The slick mahogany gunwales are in good shape.  I re-finished them a few years ago.  One of the cane seats needs to be repaired.

ABS or Royalex canoes are not made today.  Royalex is not made anymore.  What a shame. 

Fishing kayaks are the rage right now.  We have two really nice fishing kayaks, and a trailer to tow them.  Paula and I kayak fished two weeks ago on a small lake.  They are fun and effective fishing machines.  Your profile is so low, because you are sitting almost at water level, the fish don’t see you.  You can sneak up on them.  We bought ours in 2008 to use in the Gulf.  They are great for that.  We use our fishing boat most of the time, here on the lakes. The kayaks just sit in the boathouse waiting for their day.

I have two problems with fishing kayaks.  One is, you are fishing alone.  I would rather fish with someone else in the boat.  To me, that is more fun.  When someone catches a fish, the excitement is shared by two people.  The second problem is, my stuff is behind me and hard to get to in a kayak.  Gear is more accessible in a canoe.

If you want to try something really fun, rent a canoe at River John’s and float Little River.  The fishing is fantastic.  Wait until we get more water.  It’s too low right now, at least for me.  John Mollish rents nice canoes and will handle the shuttle, all for $40 per day.  If you have your own canoe or kayak, he will shuttle you for $20. His best float is approximately 7 miles from Perry’s Mill to River John’s island. You will catch smallmouth bass, rock bass and bluegill.  Floating Little River in the Fall is a wonderful experience.  I’m putting that on our Fall bucket list.

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

Byron Begley
September 7, 2015

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