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 in the Great Smoky Mountains.  At 6:30  am, light rain is falling and the temperature is 60.1 degrees.  Rain is expected all day today and tonight, and possibly tomorrow.  The high temperature today will be 73 degrees.  Expect highs in the 70’s this weekend and lows in the low 60’s.

The rain started falling at 1 am.  It woke me up.  Little River is currently not showing much of a rise in the water level.  Flow is 30 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.02 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 83 cfs.  The water temperature is 66 degrees.

We should see an increase in flows, in the Smoky Mountain streams this weekend.  Water temperatures should drop some.  Fishing will improve.

I would fish the lower elevations where there is more flow.  Try the East Prong of Little River from Metcalf Bottoms to Elkmont and above.  The Middle Prong of Little River and up Lynn Camp Prong would be good options.  I would use nymphs, most likely a Green or Pink Weenie or maybe a Pheasant Tail.  During times when rain is not falling, I might switch to a dry fly.

Weather websites are not predicting heavy rain or flash floods.  Still, you should be on the watch for rising water.  You may find stained water in some streams.  It is hard to say right now, what to expect.  I would expect, improved fishing in East Tennessee.

I quickly glanced at the TVA generation schedules.  It appears they will be generating at Norris Dam all day.  No generation is currently scheduled at Cherokee Dam until 11 am this morning.  You may have a chance for some fishing on the Holston early.  Check the TVA website and make that determination.

It is raining harder right now.  The USGS website is indicating an increase in flow at the Townsend Gauge, thought right now, it is not significant, just barely noticeable. 

WBIR released a story about the drawdown at Chilhowee Lake.  You can read and watch the video by CLICKING HERE.  Chilhowee is an impoundment on the Little Tennessee River.  It was drawn down for dam repair in 2008, though not the extent of this drawdown.  The owners, Brookfield Renewable Energy, will lower the lake this time by 40 feet, which will drain most of the lake to the bottom. 

It is unknown now, how long the lake will remain drained.  Brookfield will be looking for leakage sources and repairing them.  Also, unknown, is how long it will take for the fish populations to recover, after the lake levels are restored. 

Chilhowee is a tough place to fish due to constant fluctuations in the water level, a lack of nutrients to feed baitfish and very clear water.  Paula and I visit Chilhowee often because it is so close to our home.  We always go on weekdays, and usually don’t see many fishermen at all.

Yesterday, I read a chilling story from one of our readers.  He was approached by a bear near Elkmont.  The bear was bold and persistent.  I don’t know how close this bear got to the man, but he did hit the bear twice in the head with a rock, and the bear came back.  The man walked to some women who were watching the confrontation from a parking lot.  The three of them were standing there and the bear came back again.  Seeing three people, must have discouraged the bear and it left.

I’ve been in close proximity to bears many times, as recently as two days ago.  I have never felt threatened.  Often, this has happened on a noisy stream, where both of us, didn’t know the other was nearby.  I’ve had bears walk around our tent.  I’ve surprised bear mothers and cubs at a close distance.  They always run away. 

Actual bear attacks are almost unheard of in the Smokies.  There has been one confirmed bear attack in over 70 years, that was fatal. Most incidents with bears, that ended with a human injury, were caused by a tourist getting too close and being swiped by the bear or bitten. 

This man had a very serious encounter which is uncommon.  We should keep an eye on these animals right now.  They are foraging for food and food is scarce.  Bear populations in our area are at an all time high according to articles I’ve read. 

I am not discouraged from my outside activities in bear country.  If I did, I would have to move from my house.

I’m excited about this rain from a fisherman’s perspective.  It did come at a bad time.  We have many festivals and events going on this weekend in Townsend.  The chance for rain tomorrow is lower than today.  The chance for rain is even lower Sunday.  Hopefully, this rain will move through today.

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

Byron Begley
September 25, 2015

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