Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It is foggy and 49 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Cool temperatures have arrived and I’m glad.  Not only does it feel like Fall, it looks like Fall.  The leaves are turning and some are falling.  The driveways at our house are covered with them.  Where I live, we don’t rake leaves and never have.  We leave them alone to make more dirt.  I love this time of year.

Little River is flowing at 136 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.76 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 76 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:45 am is 58 degrees.  That is the ideal temperature for trout.  The spring creek behind our house stays at about 58 degrees all year.  The old trout farm upstream raised trout in 58 degree water at one time.  58 is perfect.

Fishing in the Smokies is very good to excellent.  I’m hearing a few reports from anglers who have fished there during the past few days.  There have not been many of them due to the Park being closed. 

At this point, rangers are allowing people to enter the Park at the Townsend entrance as long as you are “hoofing it”.  Cars and bicycles are being turned away.  I talked to some rangers there yesterday.  They said they are letting people in but warning them, there is not ample staff working in the Park for a search and rescue operation.  So, don’t get lost and don’t get hurt.  They told me they are allowing fishermen in the Park.

This has to be some kind of easing of the restrictions enacted when the Park closed last week.  At that time, the word was, “Entering the Park would be considered trespassing”.  Highway 441 has been open all along but pulling off the road was not allowed.  It is now, at least in some spots, especially overlooks.  I read somewhere that bathrooms had been opened at least in one location along Highway 441. 

There is probably an official word and a more realistic approach.  Right now, I’m going to assume it’s OK to enter the Park and fish.  You should talk to a Ranger at an entrance to be sure this un-official policy is still valid.  Now that the word is out, I can visualize parking problems.  We have parking in Townsend near the entrance.  There is some parking at the barriers where the rangers are located.  You could park in the bike trail lot.  Check with the Heritage Center.  You might be able to park there and walk in.

Metcalf Bottoms might be an option.  I can’t remember what the parking situation is at the Park line and I don’t know where that area is actually barricaded.  I’ve never thought about it.  My guess is, parking it is very limited.

I would walk in the Townsend entrance, talk to a Ranger, then walk up the Middle Prong or West Prong. 

I stopped at the Foothills Parkway entrance yesterday.  It is still locked up.

Fishing in the tailwaters is awesome for smallmouth bass.  Trout fishing is good too.  Bill said he fished the South Holston last week and did fair.  He caught several rainbows but not one brown trout which is unusual.  He talked to a guide who had floated with clients.  They caught over 50 trout that day and all but 2 or 3 were rainbows.

Wade fishing below Norris, Cherokee and Douglas Dams do not look promising today. There is going to be lots of generation going on.  The generation schedule on the Hiwassee doesn’t look good either.

Fly fishing for trout in the Cherokee National Forest is something you should consider. 

The lakes are cooling and will continue to do so.  Fishing is improving on the lakes.  The lowland rivers are fishing better too.  Flows are pretty good and the water temperatures are great. 

You’ve got a lot of opportunities right now. 

It has been 36 hours since I have seen, listened to or read any news.  I have been weaned without any negative side effects or withdrawal symptoms.  I have not visited any news websites.  I did not check the Wall Street Journal after the markets closed yesterday.  I didn’t read the Op-Eds in the New York Times.  Instead of listening to a news channel on TV, Paula and I tuned in to the Food Channel last night.

I have no idea what’s going on in Washington.  I don’t want to know.  I’ve been fretting about the possibility of a government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate and it occurred to me that I can’t do anything about it until the next National election.  So, I shut it off and feel much better.

I am a news hound.  I became addicted to current events many years ago.  Most discussions with customers and friends always includes something about what is going on in the world outside Townsend, Tennessee.  I have cut myself off “cold turkey”.  My anxiety level dropped from 100 points to zero immediately.

One of my good buddies called me last Monday to see if I was going on the boar and bear hunt this past weekend.  He went.  I stayed here and worked.  We would have gone together if I had gone.  I mentioned something about the Park closing.  He did not know anything about it.  Evidently, the people he works with never mentioned it and he doesn’t watch or read the news.  Maybe that’s why he is so happy all the time.  Now, I know what it feels like.  It feels good.

I am scheduled to be off today but I came to work.  I’ve got a lot of stuff going on.  Kent Edmonds is coming today.  He is a sales rep, a guide and inventor of the famous Stealth Bomber fly.  I’m glad I’m going to be here.  Kent and I always have a good time.  Daniel orders from all of his companies so for me it’s just going to be a friendship meeting.  I’m looking forward to it.

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

Byron Begley
October 8, 2013

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