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.  It is 57 degrees this morning.  Fall is finally here.  Yellow leaves are appearing.  Acorns are dropping, often.  A concrete pad was poured yesterday at our house.  It will be the floor of the boat house.  After the concrete was leveled, the guys waited for it to set up some before finishing.  Acorns dropped into the concrete and partially sank.  They got them out before the concrete became hard.  Building things in the forest creates a lot more problems than building in a field.

Little River is flowing lower than normal at 72 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.39 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 84 cfs.  The water temperature at 5:54 am is 61 degrees.

The water is a little low.  The water temperature is perfect. Fishing is good if you stay hidden from the trout. It will be sunny today so fishing will be best in shaded areas of streams during the day. 

It is going to be somewhat warmer this weekend with highs in the low 80’s and lows in the 50’s.  No rain is expected this weekend.  Rain will return Monday and Tuesday.

Stimulators, Neversink Caddis and both popular colors of Weenies are catching plenty of trout.  The fish are not picky though.  Many fly patterns will work. 

Due to the low water levels, stealth is very important.  You will see anglers wearing camo clothing to blend in with the forest.  That will increase your chances.  You can also wear dark, muted colors and accomplish about the same thing.  Don’t wear a white hat or t-shirt.  You probably won’t catch many, if any trout if you do.

It is Fall in the Smokies.  Leaves are beginning to change colors.  What we’re seeing now are yellow hues.  Other trees are shedding leaves.  The mast crop is incredible.  It is better than I’ve seen in years.  The critters in the woods have plenty to eat. 

When the mast crop is like we are seeing now, black bears have a higher chance for more cubs.  Twins will be born this Winter.  Occasionally, triplets will be born.  On rare occasions, a sow bear can have four cubs.

Unless we have a severe Winter, when some cubs die, this place will be crawling with young bears in the Spring.     

The soft mast has been heavy this year as well.  In the Smokies and elsewhere, dinner is served.

Within Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it is estimated there are approximately 1,600 bears or two per square mile.  More recent studies could show higher numbers.  Many bears live outside the Park too.  We live in Dry Valley near Townsend.  Dry Valley is sparsely inhabited by humans.  It is actually a very large wilderness area bordering Cades Cove.  We have a lot of bears living in Dry Valley and areas nearby. 

People who live here know how to live with bears.  It’s not rocket science.  We all keep garbage inside.  We don’t leave dog food outside. That’s about all you have to do.  We see bears occasionally, but they don’t bother us and we don’t bother them.  A bear sighting around the house is a happy event, not something that changes the way we behave.  There are a lot more bears living here than we think.  These animals stay away from humans.

I have to admit I did change my behavior yesterday.  Paula was boiling leftover lobster, all day in a huge pot on the stove to make stock for cooking in the future.  I was off yesterday.  She left to visit friends.  Our doors and windows were open except for the screens.  I decided to take a nap.  I could smell that lobster when I was outside.  I decided to close the doors and windows before taking the nap.  I didn’t want to be wakened by a bear in the house.     

There have been exceptions over the years.  We had a sow and two cubs living nearby that caused all kinds of problems.  They were humanized.  The sow was aggressive.  She made dangerous approaches at our neighbors.  I carried a gun when I walked our dogs at night.  Eventually, they were trapped and moved away.

One family not far from us started dumping garbage in a sink hole years ago.  We saw bears around here often.  Once they stopped dumping garbage, the bears were seldom seen again.

What we don’t have, but I hope to see soon, are elk.  I’m not sure why the elk herd has not expanded to this area but it probably won’t be long.  Once they find Cades Cove, our lives will change.  We’ll have them around us and we’ll see more tourists in Cades Cove. As the crow flies, they are not far away from the Cove.

Bald Eagles are back.  We are seeing more of them.  Nests have been found and people are talking about them.  I know exactly where a new nest is located.  We’ll see it soon, by boat or kayak.

Wild turkeys outnumber the people here.  We see more turkeys than any other animal.  They outnumber the squirrels and rabbits.  They are everywhere. 

Living in the forest with all of these critters is a life I enjoy and have longed for most of my life.  I always wanted to live near wild trout streams too.  There is no doubt, we’ve got plenty of those.

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

Byron Begley
September 25, 2014

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