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 and the Great Smoky Mountains.  At 5:32 am, the temperature is 59.4 degrees.  It is going to be another bright sunny and warm day with a high temperature in the mid-80’s.  Sunday will be cooler, and continue to be cooler next week.  A chance for rain is in the forecast through most of next week.

Little River is flowing low at 33 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.05 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 72 cfs.  The water temperature is 64.4 degrees this morning.

The streams are low and the trout are spooky.  Anglers are reporting catching trout.  They know how to fish low water.  These are not ideal conditions for fishing.  We need rain.

If you go today, pick a stream and try to concentrate on shaded areas if you can find them.  The sun will be bright and that, combined with low water creates a challenge. You may do better fishing in the backcountry.

You will need to be very stealthy.  Wear muted clothing and stay low.  Fish the broken water.  Fish the shaded areas.  Hope we get some rain.

You may squeeze in some good fly fishing for trout on the Holston today.  The generators should be off except for one hour until 3 pm.  Depending on where you like to fish, wade fishing may be an option today at some point.  Check the TVA website and see if it works for you.

If you live in Middle Tennessee, look at the generation schedule at Center Hill Dam.  I could work with that schedule when I fished there often.  You will probably have to go early or late to miss the higher flows.  Check the TVA website.

The Harpeth and Stones Rivers in Middle Tennessee are both flowing above normal.  Normal is low this time of year.  You might fish there if you like warmwater fly fishing.  

The Elk River below Tims Ford Dam is fishing well and I don’t see any generation scheduled today there on the TVA site.  That is a popular trout tailwater in Middle Tennessee and it is located close to Northern Alabama.

The lakes have been fishing well early and late.  Cast poppers to the shaded banks.  Watch for schools of shad on the surface early and late.  The threadfin shad population is good this year, better than I’ve seen or heard in a long time.  They are often on the surface when the sun is off the water.  If the water is slick, you can easily see them from a distance.  Watch for gamefish attacking the bait balls.  Use a Puglisi Threadfin Shad pattern and don’t make any noise in your boat.  That type of fly fishing is a lot of fun.

We have a Nymphing Tactics Class today and it is full.  Tomorrow, we are holding a Free Beginner 101 class that lasts 2 hours.  I think it is full too. 

I read an article about visitation in Great Smoky Mountains National Park this morning.  Visitation for the year is up about 5%.  Visitation this Summer is down slightly.

Every business owner in Townsend, I’ve talked to, except for a couple, have had a good year.  It has been a tough decade though.  Low gasoline prices have been a contributing factor to this year’s growth.  We can’t help but wonder if there will be another Government shutdown in October.  The last one was devastating to our economy here, which is tourism and Great Smoky Mountains National Park dependent.  The Park closed for two weeks in October that year.  After that one, some businesses closed too, forever.  Our economy is dependent on a strong Fall business. 

Our own Fall Festival and Old Timers Day will be held next weekend on Friday and Saturday.  The Nawger Nob Arts and Crafts Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday.  And, the Blue Ribbon Country Fair will be held on Saturday.  Little River Railroad Days will be held Saturday.  I hope I didn’t leave anything out.  There will be a lot going on in Townsend next weekend.  Paula is planning her baking entries for the Country Fair, right now, as I write, this early in the morning.  She is actually filling out her entry forms.  The actual baking will happen Friday.

Chilhowee Lake has been dropped to 15.2 feet below full pool as of this morning.  The drawdown will continue until the lake is lowered by at least 40 feet, to the original river bed or below.  The lake is being lowered about 1 foot per day.  Seepage in the dam will be tested and repair, if needed, will be done.  Nobody knows how long this will take. 

This small, 1,200 acre impoundment is close to our house.  Paula and I used to fish there often.  The lake was drained for the same reason in 2008. Chilhowee is one of several impoundments on the Little Tennessee River.

Thankfully, we have about 8 other lakes around here to choose from.

It’s going to be a pretty day in Tennessee.  Get out and fly fish if you can. I’ll be working on our website all weekend. 

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

Byron Begley
September 19, 2015

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