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 cool outside, 55 degrees.  Dew is falling like rain.  Though it is still dark, I can tell it is very foggy. 

Acorns are dropping in huge numbers around our house.  Jack and a framing crew worked in front of the house yesterday building the boat house. One of the guys seemed to always be the target.  He was popped in the head by acorns all day long.  They hit the metal roof on the house, trucks, cars and the ground. 

Thank goodness all the walnut trees are at least 100 feet from the house.  Walnuts are extremely large this year.  If they were falling around the house, we would all be wearing helmets.  I’m serious.  Those things look like tennis balls, hard as heck tennis balls.

Little River is flowing lower than normal at 58 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.31 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 79 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:15 am is 62.2 degrees.

It is October today.  Fall has definitely arrived.  I spent a few hours working on the Middle Prong of Little River yesterday afternoon.  It was beautiful up there.  We were doing a photo shoot for Chota.  I saw several fishermen’s vehicles parked along the gravel road and several anglers in the water.  Though I know the water is low, it looked very fishable to me.

I saw a couple of fishermen doing exactly the wrong thing.  They were standing in the middle of the stream making long casts.  That won’t work.  That is the most common mistake fishermen who are new to this area make.  What they should be doing is sneaking up on faster water and making short casts.  I know, because I made the same mistake years ago.   

The leaves are dropping and some are turning yellow.  From what I see in the lower elevations, the leaf season has not begun.  They could be changing in the higher elevations.

If you fish today you should do fine.  Fishing would be better if we had more water.  What I saw on the Middle Prong yesterday looked perfect for dry flies.  It would be a good idea to fish a dry and a dropper.  The trout may be hesitant to take the dry since the water is low but they would probably grab a nymph or Green Weenie. 

The water temperature is perfect, right in the trout’s “high activity” zone.  When the water is at this temperature, there is plenty of dissolved oxygen and the trout’s metabolism is in high gear.  They are hungry and they will be feeding.

Lower than normal water will require you to fish only certain areas in a stream.  Slow pools are out of the question.  The trout will be hiding in the faster water in flow breaks and attacking any food that flows by unless they see you.  There is less water to fish so you will have to pick the right spots.

Rain is in the forecast tomorrow night and Friday.  The National Weather Service is predicting a 90% chance for thunderstorms Friday.  Some could be strong and maybe severe.  There is a hazardous weather outlook posted.  Strong winds and heavy rainfall are the concerns.

This weekend is going to be unbelievable.  It will be sunny during the day.  High temperatures will be in the 60’s Saturday and Sunday.  Lows will be in the 40’s.  Saturday night, the low will be close if not in the high 30’s.  It will be cold in the high elevations.

This weekend will be, what we long for all Summer.  If we don’t get too much rain, fly fishing in the Smokies will be excellent.  Keep an eye on this report and the USGS flow gauge.  We’ll be wearing some layers in the mornings.  I’m looking forward to that.  It’s been a while.

If you love camping, this is your weekend.  The chance for rain is almost zero.  You never know in the mountains though. 

You will see plenty of hikers this weekend.  People will be riding bicycles everywhere.  Cades Cove will be packed.  Don’t go fishing there unless you don’t mind slow traffic.

We are already seeing a lot more activity in Townsend, even at mid-week. Older people, those with grown kids are taking their Fall vacations.  This is not leaf season but it’s close.  We’ll see changes in the forest every day for a month.

We usually don’t have frost in October down here in the valley.  I suspect we’ll have frost in the higher elevations this weekend, probably Saturday night.  That’s a guess of course.  We have had snow in October, especially higher up.

Get ready for one of the most beautiful weekends of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains.  I know, there are some very important college football games that will be played across the country.  But now, thanks to modern technology, we can watch the re-runs and fish during the game.  I work on Saturday and Sunday, every week.  I’m used to watching re-runs.

If you miss a day of fishing, there is no re-run.  That day is gone forever.

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

Byron Begley
October 1, 2014

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