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. The temperature is 65 degrees and rain is expected today.  The busy festival weekend is over in Townsend.  I’m guessing the traffic will be much lighter today.

We didn’t get the rain last night we hoped for.  Little River is still flowing somewhat low at 62 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.33 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 90 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:42 am is 64.2 degrees.

This could be a good day to fish in the Smokies.  We should have cloud cover like we had yesterday.  That’s good.  The streams are cool.  Trout will be active.  The lower water presents a challenge as we know.  Blending in with your surroundings is very important.  Try a dry and a dropper.  The trout will likely take the dropper.  Fish the choppy water in riffles and where riffles enter pools.  Fish the deep runs.  You may need a weighted nymph to do that.

It looks like we will have dry and warm days this week and cool nights.  Rain is back in the forecast Friday.

The fourth week of September was busy at the shop and up from last year around 20%.  That trend still continues as it has all Summer. We’re happy about that.

We are expecting a huge increase in business over last October.  Remember last year?  The Park closed for two weeks in October.  Business was awful.

The campgrounds are packed in town and in the Park.  This has been an excellent camping year due to the good weather, especially on weekends.

Fall is here and we will see the mountains change colors soon.  It has not happened.  We are seeing some yellows now but not much.  All the fall foliage maps I’ve seen depict the peak here will be mid-October.  That is usual.  Mid-October is only 2 weeks and 2 days away.  Peak leaf season varies and when depends on the elevations you are viewing. 

Brown trout become active in October preparing to spawn.  During that time you can see the big fish out in the open compared to most months when they are hiding during the day.  Some people fish for the spawning browns.  Others leave them alone and let them spawn unmolested.  Some anglers target the males and let the females do their thing. 

Everyone should be careful not to wade in redds or the spawning beds.  Those eggs and newly hatched trout are our future generation.  Brown trout can live up to 8 years in the Smokies.  Age studies have been conducted on large fish and that is found to be true.

Rainbow and brook trout don’t live nearly that long. A large percentage of brook and rainbow trout die each year from mostly natural causes.  According to fisheries biologists in the Park, fishermen have little impact on the population. 

It is 7:45 am and rain is falling.  It is not heavy rain yet.  Fishing may be very good in the mountains today.

I did some research online last night pertaining to floating and fishing the North Fork of the Cumberland River in Eastern Kentucky.  I saw the river Saturday and it looked to be a good smallmouth river.  Evidently, from what I read, it is.

I found a company that rents canoes, kayaks and offers rafting trips on the whitewater section below Cumberland Falls.  They do offer shuttles if you bring your own boat.

I wouldn’t be interested in kayaking the whitewater section below the falls.  The river, above the falls looked hospitable when I saw it Saturday.

Access is limited.  However, there are two floats you can take, one that is about 20 miles long and the other 5 miles in length. 

I did find one cause for concern on several websites.  At the end of the float, you have to be on the right side of the river.  Also, at that point, you will encounter rapids.  If you tip over, or can’t make it to the right bank, there is a good chance you will be washed over Cumberland Falls. 

I grew up in Kentucky and I’ve seen Cumberland Falls.  I saw plenty of photographs last night of the falls. They say it is a 60 foot drop and I believe it.  Cumberland Falls is touted to be the Niagara Falls of the South. You don’t want to be washed over Cumberland Falls.  Neither do I.  I may give up on this idea. It was fun while it lasted.

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

Byron Begley
September 29, 2014 

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