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. It is another beautiful day in East Tennessee. Fall is a great time of year here. I enjoy the cool nights and the warm comfortable days. October is a busy time in the Smokies. People from all over the region make their Fall pilgrimages to the mountains.

Water levels in the Little River system are excellent. This morning the gauge is giving a reading of 1.73 feet or 173 c.f.s. The daily normal is 80 c.f.s. Water temperatures dropped again overnight down to a chilly 57 F this morning. Water temps rise throughout the day but that is definitely wader weather to me.

Fishing reports have generally been good. Joel was out yesterday and said that the trout got very active on Little River once the sun got on the water. He was fishing nymphs. Most anglers have been using dries. I would but that is mostly because I really enjoy fishing with dry flies. There isn't much in the way of a hatch coming off right now so a well presented attractor fly works. Stimulators, Parachutes, Wulff patterns etc are all good. Nymphs are the usual suspects. Princes, Hares Ear, Copper Johns etc. And of course the Green Weenie.

We have been getting good reports from most streams in the Smokies. The only one I would maybe think twice about going to fish would be Abrams Creek. It isn't that Abrams won't be good fishing...but October traffic on the Cades Cove Loop Road can be a religion-losing experience. Conditions are such that you can really fish about any stream that catches your attention. If you want to hike in, the Little River upstream of the Elkmont Campground is a great destination. There is plenty of water up there and it is teaming with trout. If you aren't feeling like a hike just take one of the pull offs right by the roadside. The main thing is to get out there and enjoy the mountains.

Fy Tyers Weekend is only a few weeks away. I'm trying to get the Fly Tying Department stocked up. That seems like a never ending process. If you have never been to Fly Tyers Weekend it is a fun event that Byron got started last year. It is held just down the road from the Shop at the Tremont Lodge and Resort which is near the Train Museum. Fly Tyers Weekend will two days of fly tying...there is 46 different fly tyers who will be demonstrating everything from tiny midges to large saltwater streamers. Entrance to the fly tying demos is FREE and there is no need to register....just show up.
On Saturday night the Southeastern Council of the FFF is hosting the International Fly Fishing Film Festival. Tickets for the movies are $15 in advance or $18 on the night of the event. BBQ and beer will be avaiable for purchase also.

Project Healing Waters is holding their 2nd annual Smoky Mountain Grand Slam Challenge on Saturday, October 17 on the Clinch River. They have a fund raising banquet with auction of Friday October 16th also. I have included their press release below today's Fishing Report. This is a great event for a great cause.

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

Daniel Drake
October 14, 2015

Respond to

2nd annual Smoky Mountain Grand Slam Challenge set Oct. 17 on Clinch River

Disabled veterans and their sponsors will compete for trophies and prizes on Saturday, Oct. 17 during the 2nd annual Smoky Mountain Grand Slam Challenge on the stretch of Clinch River directly below Norris Dam.
The tournament is hosted each fall by the Knoxville Chapter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Program, a group dedicated to the emotional and physical rehabilitation of disabled active duty military personnel and veterans through fly- fishing and fly-tying education and outings.

Ten teams composed of a veteran, sponsor and river guide will compete for prizes including grand slam (one each of brown, rainbow and brook trout) most total inches of trout, (first, second and third place), largest trout and smallest trout. Veterans and their sponsors may fish, while their guides may not. Trout will be measured by the guides and kept on a scorecard.

Last year, U.S. Army Capt. Mark Johnson, of Johnson City, and his sponsor, Shannon O’Quinn, of the Tennessee Valley Authority, teamed up to win the inaugural tournament after catching all three species of trout in the river. Johnson took top honors for largest trout after landing a 17.75-inch rainbow. They were guided by Mike Bone.

The tournament raised $40,000 in cash donations, as well as a large amount of in- kind donations.

On Friday, Oct. 16, a tournament fundraiser banquet will be held at 6 p.m. at The Foundry in Knoxville. Tickets for the buffet-style meal are $100 each and may be purchased at There will also be a live auction and silent auction during the event.

The tournament will begin Saturday with a 9 a.m. ceremony and put-in at the Miller Island River Access near the intersection of U.S. 441 and River Road a couple of miles below Norris Dam. Fishermen may begin casting at 9:30 a.m. All trout will be returned to the river to be caught again.

Following the tournament, an awards ceremony will be held at the Holiday Inn at World’s Fair Park where the veterans will be staying. For more information contact Steve Thompson of the Knoxville Chapter of PHWFF at

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