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 foggy and damp outside this morning.  The thermometer on our front porch is reading 68 degrees, warmer than what the airport is reporting at 64 degrees.  I heard a few bursts of wind earlier.

A small band of rain is headed our way from the south.  Other than that, the chance for rain today is low.

Little River’s water level bounced around yesterday due to some short lived strong showers.  Right now, flow is 230 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.98 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 70 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:42 am is 63 degrees. 

Fishing today may be good today.  The water levels are fairly high though Little River is what we consider fishable and similar to normal Spring flows.  Yesterday, anglers reported high stained water on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.  The Little River probably fished well though, like I said, the water levels bounced around. 

The water is high enough that care should be taken, especially if the water rises further.  Care should be taken anytime of course. 

Tonight and tomorrow does not look good for anglers.  We are under a high wind watch tonight and tomorrow.  Winds of 20 to 35 miles per hour are expected.  Gusts to 60 miles per hour may occur. Strong thunderstorms and heavy rain are coming.  The chance for rain is 40% tonight and 100% tomorrow.  Rain may be heavy along with the wind.  Flooding is a possibility.

If you are off this week, and many people are, be careful out there tonight and tomorrow.  The campgrounds in the Smokies are probably full at this point.  This is the fall leaf looking season.  Tourists are in town and in the Park. 

I would not be camping in the Park tonight.  Those who are, probably do not have internet service.  They may not know what is coming.  I would imagine the Park Service is letting campers know of the imminent danger from wind and storms.  The Park Service is warning people on their Twitter account.  I doubt if people can read it if they are camping in the forest.

Their Twitter page also mentioned that an ambulance was responding to an injured fisherman at Tremont 18 hours ago.  That’s all they said.  Chances are, the fisherman was in our store yesterday.  I hope she or he is OK.  I can’t find anything in the local news about this.

Smokies visitors are being warned by the Park Service about the aggressive elk.  The rut is in full peak progress right now.  These animals are huge and dangerous.  Don’t get close to them.  I’ve been around elk during the rut.  They are very unpredictable. 

Our elk are used to humans.  Unlike the wild herds in the West that are hunted, these elk feel comfortable around people, way too comfortable.  I don’t know of any serious human injuries here caused by elk.  This time of year, rangers spend a lot of their time keeping people away from the animals. 

We wonder why the Park Service does not re-introduce the wood bison.  On the other hand, we think about the consequences if they did. Wood bison is currently listed as a threatened species.  Can’t you just see the fields in Cades Cove inhabited by wood bison?  They lived here at one time, along with the elk. 

It’s probably just a matter of time before the elk herd finds Cades Cove.  When that happens, I believe an already popular small valley, that already receives 2 million visitors per year, would explode with people wanting to see the elk in that beautiful place.

The introduction of wood bison would only magnify the problem.  Wood bison is the largest terrestrial animal in North America, with bulls weighing as much as 2,000 pounds.  If we had a herd of wood bison in Cades Cove, people would get hurt. 

Managing the crowds in the Cove, just trying to keep people away from black bears is tough enough.  My neighbor is one of the volunteers who patrols the cove on his bicycle, trying to keep traffic moving and breaking up “bear jams”.  If you piled bison and elk, in with the deer and bears, I think we would have a big problem just a few miles from here.  I don’t believe we’ll see wood bison in the Park unless some huge changes are made to isolate animals from humans.  I do believe we’ll see elk there someday.

It is 7:30 am and I can hear Jack and the framing guys outside.  They plan to start building the new carport, just outside my window here in the man cave.  They may work today but I bet they won’t tomorrow.

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

Byron Begley
October 13, 2014

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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