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.  At 6:14 am, the temperature is 32.5 degrees.  Warm sunny days and warmer nights will return this week.  Highs will be in the 60’s to 70’s with lows in the 40’s to 50’s through Thursday. By the weekend, highs will reach the upper 70’s.  No rain is expected through Saturday. Rain is expected next week.

Little River is flowing at 103 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.45 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 81 cfs.  The water temperature is a chilly 47.8 degrees.

Fishing will likely be slow in the mountains this morning due to the cold water.  Fishing will improve as the water warms.  I would fish later today.  With warmer temperatures expected this week, and especially this coming weekend, fly fishing in the mountains should be very good.

If you go fishing today in the Smokies, I think you will do better using nymphs.  The trout will be sluggish until the water warms.   

Generation schedules do not look good for wade fishermen on the Clinch or Holston rivers today.

I’ve been away for over a week.  Paula and I got home last night.  I was surprised that we didn’t see colorful trees in the lower elevations.  I read news reports and found that the leaf color is over in the highest elevations, but has not come close to peaking in the lower elevations.  It appears the beautiful views in Cades Cove are a few days away. 

I also read the Park has been extremely busy with tourists.  I have not talked to anyone at the shop in days but I read Daniel’s fishing report last night and it sounds like our store has been very busy. 

Jack, Donna, Ron, Terry, Frank, Freida, Paula and I spent a week in Florida.  We rented a home on the bay.  The weather was perfect, with highs in the 80’s and lows in the 60’s.  The wind was calm for most of the week. 

We fished in the bay the first two days in our kayaks and fishing was fair.  We caught speckled trout and other species on weighted flies.  I used a Sand Shrimp and a Copperhead both days. 

On the third day, Paula and the guys walked to the ocean side of the peninsula to surf fish with spinning rods.  As soon as we got to the beach, my eyes started burning and that got worse all day.  I thought I had sunscreen in my eyes. Frank had the same problem.  Fishing was fairly slow.

We talked to some people we met who were from Tennessee.  They were staying at Mexico Beach, which is an active tourist destination and it was a holiday weekend, not far from where we were.  What they described was horrible.  Dead fish were washing up on the beach. The fish succumbed to a red tide. 

The people we met told us, prisoners were brought in from the county jail to remove the dead fish and help avert a tourism disaster on a holiday weekend.  The prisoners could not keep up.  We were told the city then tried backhoes and front end loaders to scoop up the dead fish.  We drove through Mexico Beach early yesterday morning. There were plenty of cars parked at the motels and rental homes.  The city must have taken care of the dead fish problem.

Ron and I took two kayaks to a spot in the bay I like to fish.  It is a huge thick grass bed in shallow water.  We launched and paddled out from shore. We paddled about 3 miles, fly fishing along the way.  I think we each caught a couple of speckled trout, but not much else.  Fishing was slow.  We paddled to the grass bed and there we found dead fish, floating on the surface.

A red tide is basically an algal bloom that in high concentrations is lethal to fish and causes respiratory problems for humans, including burning eyes.  You can read more about red tide on Wikipedia by CLICKING HERE.

We had a great trip and fishing was fair.  I think fishing would have been much better if the red tide had not been in the area.  The weather was awesome and we ate very well.  We had a great vacation.

It’s always good to be home. I have 961 e-mails to sift through.  Most are junk but there will be plenty to answer.  This week I’ll be working on Fly Tyers Weekend.  The big event will be here before we know it.

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

Byron Begley
October 19, 2015 

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