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 in Townsend, Tennessee.  At 5:55 am, it is a chilly 55.8 degrees. Many of the windows are open in our house.  This is my day off and I would like to have slept later.  When the windows are open, I hear that car drive up our private gravel road, delivering one of our two neighbor’s newspaper at 5 am.  You probably don’t know what it is like, living on a gravel road.  It is noisy, when someone drives on it.  That is a good for security. Thankfully only three of us live here so we don’t hear much.  We are 1/3 of a mile from a paved road so we don’t hear most traffic on that road.  It’s almost always quiet in here. A sign down near Old Cades Cove Road reads, “Enter by Permission Only”.  That keeps people out.

I don’t see any rain in the forecast until Monday and Tuesday.  Some of the days over the next 10 will be warm but the nights will be cool.  You can tell, Fall is not far off.

Little River is flowing at 36 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.07 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 73 cfs.  The water temperature is 62.2 degrees this morning.

I think fishing will be best in the mid to lower elevations, where the rivers are larger, with more flow.  The low water we have in the Smoky Mountains makes it hard for some people to catch trout.  Others do well.  Success depends on knowing how to fish low water.  The trout are active and packed into areas of stream that offer cover, usually by broken water.  So, when you hit the right spot, a lot of trout are going to see your fly.  The problem is, they may see you too.  These trout are wild.  If they see you, they probably won’t take your fly. 

So, blend in, stay low, don’t cast a shadow, fish short so you can get a good drift and you will do fine. It’s not as easy as it sounds.  I have a problem staying low these days.

It looks like TVA will be generating at Norris Dam most of the day.  You may have some wade fishing opportunities on the Holston, fishing for trout.  Check that schedule and see if it works for you. TVA’s schedule at Center Hill Dam does not look good for wade fishing much of the day.

I have not fished the Elk River below Tims Ford in years.  I do check the generation schedule occasionally.  They never seem to be generating there.  I don’t know why.  It’s the same at Normandy Dam.  Both always seem to have constant flows.  Maybe one of my friends in Middle Tennessee or Alabama can set me straight.

Dan Munger will give the program at Tennessee Valley Fly Fishers meeting tonight in Huntsville, Alabama.  I hope a lot of you turn out for the meeting.  I promise it will be a good one.  Check out the TVFF website by CLICKING HERE. They have an excellent, up to date website.  What a great club they are.  I know a lot of the members, and have for many years. If you live near Huntsville, you should join TVFF and get involved.

Like me, those folks fly fish for everything that swims. 

Lately, I’ve been writing about some of my favorite fly fishing destinations.  This week, I wrote about Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania and Dutch John, Utah. Remember, I don’t always base my opinion of a great fly fishing destination just on the fishing.  There are other reasons to enjoy a destination, like accommodations, fly shops, food, culture, scenery, people and history.

Here’s another one for you.  Let’s have a show of hands.  How many of you have been to Roscoe, New York.  That didn’t work.  I can’t see you. 

I’ve been to Roscoe many times.  Roscoe is located in the Catskills.  When you drive into town, a banner stretches across the main street and reads, “Welcome to Trout Town USA”.  Many consider Roscoe to be the home of American fly fishing. This pretty town is set in an area that reminds me of Townsend, though the buildings are mostly historic and the rivers there were described by well known anglers, with names like Theodore Gordon. 

Paula and I both know Joan Wulff.  She has a home near Roscoe.  We’ve been to her home. We attended her Fly Fishing Instructors School.  Walter Babb and I took that class together, after Paula attended the first one.

We always ate at the famous Roscoe Diner. We used to see Paul Jorgensen eating there almost every night.  I’ve had dinner with Joan there a couple of times.  There is one lady I met and will never forget, Mary Dette Clark.  Mary owned Dette’s Fly Shop.  Her parents were famous Catskills fly tyers and ran that shop before Mary.  I asked Mary to tie a dozen flies for me and she agreed.  I got them in the mail about a year later, with a hand written invoice in the box.  I immediately sent her a check. I still have the flies, somewhere. 

You have probably read about the famous rivers, Beaverkill, Willomemoc Creek and all branches of the Delaware.  The rivers are beautiful and fly fishing for trout is excellent, especially in the Spring.  We have fished all the famous spots you may have read about.

One day I met a man who was sitting in a lawn chair on the bank of the Beaverkill River.  His son was fly fishing in the river a few feet away.  I can’t for the life of me think of that man’s name right now.  I introduced him to Walter, who recognized him and they talked for a long time.  What got my attention, when we met, was his age and his career story.  He made bamboo fly rods and worked for Jim Payne.

I met another man on the Beaverkill and we talked a while.  I saw him again at Mary Dette’s fly shop.  He told me he made bamboo fly rods and showed me a few of them.  His name was Bob Summers.

Visit the Catskills Fly Fishing Museum while you are there.

If you are a fly fisherman, and you probably are, and you have not visited Roscoe, New York, you should.  It is an experience that can’t be described.  You have to be there to understand.

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

Byron Begley
September 17, 2015  

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