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.  It is 6:12 am and the temperature is 57.6 degrees.  It is going to be warm during the days this weekend, in the low 80’s.  Nights will be warmer than they have been lately, right around 60 degrees.  Next week will be cooler and the chance for rain increases some.

Little River is flowing at 36 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.07 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 71 cfs.  The water temperature is 63.7 degrees.

I would plan on fishing the mid elevations streams this weekend.  The low elevations streams may peak at near 70 degrees during this time, until early next week.  The high elevation streams are cold, but the water is so low, I think you will do best in the middle.  Try near Elkmont, the upper Middle Prong or Lynn Camp Prong.  Abrams Creek will be cool. 

All the streams are low.  Little River is flowing at about half normal.  These are not ideal fishing conditions. We need rain.

You can catch trout in the Smokies, if you use low water tactics.  But, fishing is easier for most people when we have more water.  We are not in a drought.  The latest US Drought Monitor, released yesterday, listed only the very Eastern part of our County as being abnormally dry. Of course that portion of our County is Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

The lowland rivers are flowing below normal.  Little River at the Maryville Gauge is flowing at 72 cfs.  Median flow there today is 124 cfs.

According to the TVA website, there is currently no generation at Norris Dam, but it is expected to begin at 11 am.  The water has been off since 3 am.  You may be able to squeeze in some wade fishing there this morning.  Check the TVA website before you go.

The lakes are probably fishing well in the evenings and early in the morning.  I have not heard or been in over a week.  Watch for shad of the surface when the sun is off the water.  Gamefish are feeding on the baitfish well.  Cast poppers or streamers to the bank for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and bluegill.  Fish the shaded banks on sunny days, if you can find them.  Otherwise, cloudy days are best or go early and late.

I’m going into the shop this morning to photograph more BoogleBug poppers.  Dan has been building that small department and it is now not so small.  We have a BoogleBug Popper Store on our online store.  You can see it by CLICKING HERE.  There are currently 15 different items of these great poppers, and I’ll be adding more this afternoon.

Photographing BoogleBugs is not easy.  They are so shiny.  The problem is glare.  We have a photo studio with big soft box flash units mounted to various  booms and stands.  I mount a popper in the holder and start shooting, with the strobes in different locations.  I keep moving the strobes and turning the power up and down until I finally get a good picture, with glare where I want it and no glare where I don’t. 

Dan Munger sent me a sales report on this category and it shows promise.  You can buy these poppers online from several sources.  The prices vary from $4.99 to $6.00.  We hit right in the middle at $5.50.  Since we have a “Free Ground Shipping” policy, even if you only order one popper, we had to do that.  People do order just one popper.

Dan has been re-stocking about every other week. 

These are excellent poppers that are extremely durable.  The finish is a flexible epoxy, probably the same that is used on rod wraps by the rod manufacturing industry.  Dan, Paula and I have been using them a lot, and we have not had one fail yet.  I think they are worth the cost and more, because they hold up so well.  And, bass and bluegill love them.

Popper season is long in the South.  A lot of our mail order customers live in the South.

I did something yesterday I have not done in probably 40 years or longer.  I bought some spinning tackle. I am or was, an exclusively practicing fly fisherman.  I don’t use conventional tackle.  All of the tackle I ordered yesterday, is designed for surf fishing. Jack told me to buy Stren Magnathin 16# test mono.  I couldn’t find it at Bass Pro or Cabelas.  I ordered 2,500 yards directly from Stren and that cost over $70 with shipping.  Daniel ordered some TFO surf rods for us.  Everything else came from Bass Pro.  Those Penn reels cost $160.  I was shocked.  I found others that cost a lot more.

Several of us are going to the coast this fall.  We are taking our kayaks and fly fishing gear.  This time, if the wind keeps us off the water, we will have a fallback plan, surf fishing with bait.  I haven’t fished with bait, since sometime in the last century.  I had some surf spinning rods but loaned them to my father years ago.  He used them at his beach house in South Carolina.  Hurricane Hugo took part of his house and my surf tackle and there is no telling where it ended up. 

So, if the wind blows, we’ll all be sitting in our folding lawn chairs on the beach.  The rods will be held in PVC rod holders, buried in the sand. I guess we’ll just sit there, having fun and waiting for something to happen. That sure as heck beats sitting in the house, watching the wind blow.  I’m really looking forward to this.  Jack said he would help me put line on the reels.

I’m not one to sit around waiting for something to happen.  But, the older I get, the better that sounds.  Walter Babb and I joke about that often.  We talk about sitting in the boat or in a chair on the bank, all day, during our golden years, watching our bobbers.

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

Byron Begley
September 18, 2015 

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