Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains
Welcome to the Fishing Report. We had another heavy fog this morning in Townsend. I had heard an old wive's tale that said the number of bad fogs in a certain month meant we'd have that many days of snow in the Winter. I wonder if that conflicts with the Wooly Worm predictions? Either way, it is looking to be another beautiful day in the Smokies.

As promised we had the drawer closed and the lights turned off just after 5pm last night. I made my ritualistic stop at the KOA campground store to grab a Code Red Mt Dew and a Snickers bar. Quick energy for an evening of fishing. Traffic wasn't too bad on the road, most of the people and hot rod cars had already left. The 'ole truck pulled right at the Y so we headed up Tremont. I fought the urge to go to West Prong but I needed to broaden my horizons a bit. Up the gravel on Tremont I bumped along. We need to get a little more of Mr. Obama's stimulous money to fill a few of the potholes up there. They are better than they once were, but there are still some you could lose one of those new Smart cars in.
Driving up the road I began to remember why I prefer fishing during the week. There was a car parked in most every pull off. It is tough to tell if a car is parked for a fisherman or if it is just someone off hiking. I drove all the way to the end of the road. I was kind of thinking that I wanted to fish the water that goes around the final parking area/turn around. With eight cars parked there I didn't want to chance fishing used water so I cruised the turn around and headed back down stream. Finally deciding on a location I grabbed a pull out and rigged up. It is still warm enough to wet wade, or more correctly rock hop, so I just put on my Korkers shoes, grabbed my Fishpond pack and headed out.
I missed a few right out of the gate but then I got a nice little 7 inch bow. It came up to eat a Rubberleg Stimulator. I was surprised by a could a 10 inch bows. The later it got the better the fishing got. Trout were sitting pretty much where they ought to be. I had a couple of spots that I just looked at and thought, there should be a fish over there... drifting the fly through...and sure enough one ate. I was fishing pretty close in, tight lining the dry most of the time. Water levels were low making it easy to clamor around on the rocks, staying out of the water. The most productive water was pockets that were just deeper than the water around it. It didn't have to be too deep, but just enough to provide that extra cover. The best spots were places with some depth, good current motion but the water still looked clear and slick.
Towards the end, I had switched to an Orange Wulff because a nice rainbow had obliterated my Stimulator, I got to a great series of pockets/pools. There was pleanty of big rocks for cover and some deeper water for the trout. I got a couple of smaller rainbows and moved up to a deeper pocket that had two distinct currents coming around a large rock at the head. I got a smaller rainbow towards the tail of the pool and picked up a 10 inch bow from the current on the left. Releasing it back in I swooshed the fly around in the water to clean it off. I had to squeeze all the water out of it to try to make it float just a little longer (the Shimizaki is in the front pouch of my waders back in the truck). I cast in the bigger current coming in the right side of the pocket. The leader rolled out, dropping the fly just on the inside of the seam. It drifted back slowly as I raised the rod up to take out the slack. I saw a dark shape slide back in the water. In slow motion it rose up, swallowed the mangled little fly and headed back for the protect depths. With a quick raise of the rod tip and he was on. Measured against the rod he was a solid 11 inches. I figured with a great fish like that....and losing the fly in a tree in the next pool I would call it a night before it was too dark to climb back up to the road.

Ok, back to business. Water is low in the Smokies but still very fishable. Stay low and fish the moving water. Local guide Sean McKay of Smoky Mountain Troutfitters had some clients on the river yesterday and picked up some fish early using small nymphs and later in the day they went up high and had a good day of brook trout fishing on dries.
Dries and nymphs, I would go with smaller sizes. Stealth and presentation are key with the current water levels. Water temps are good. They are cool but still comfortable to wet wade.

Get out and fish if you get the chance!

Have a great day.  Thanks for reading the Fishing report!

Daniel Drake
September 20, 2010

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