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 6:35 am, the temperature is 43.2 degrees. This beautiful Fall weather continues.  Today will be sunny with a high temperature of 76 degrees.  Expect more of the same through Saturday.  We have a chance for rain Sunday.

Little River is flowing at 88 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.38 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 75 cfs.  The water temperature is 50.7 degrees this morning.

Fishing conditions are very good.  The water temperatures are great and flows are slightly above normal.  Normal flow is low this time of year.  You may find leaves in the streams you are fishing.  But overall, we are all happy with the stream levels and temps.

We are seeing plenty of fly fishermen in the shop.  This great weather is bringing them out.

To be successful, fishing under these Fall conditions, stealth is very important. Blend in and stay low.  Nymphs would be my choice but dry flies should work too.  We still have terrestrial insects near and on the water, but not in numbers like we saw a couple of weeks ago.  The trout will be active as the water temperatures in the low to mid elevations are within their preferred range.   

Not only do the streams look good for October trout fishing, the landscape is beautiful.  Leaves are turning in the lower elevations.  Tourists are here in large numbers, enjoying the Fall colors.  Restaurants, campgrounds, cabin rentals, lodges and motels are busy. This is the perfect time to visit Townsend.

I’m hearing many good fishing reports from the lakes too.  We seem to have more shad than I can remember.  Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and stripers are gorging on the shad.  Dan fished Fort Loudoun Lake two days this week and showed me some awesome photos yesterday.  He was using Puglisi Threadfin Shad patterns that closely matched the forage these gamefish are feeding on. 

Get out and enjoy this beautiful Fall.  It won’t be here long. 

The brown trout will remain active for a while.  Post spawn browns are hungry and feed well, even if the water temperatures drop.  They don’t care.  They need food.

Marvin, Anthony, Mike and I are working on the upcoming Fly Tyers Weekend event. It will be held November 7th and 8th at Tremont Lodge in Townsend.  Here, you can watch and talk to fly tyers, all weekend and it is free.  So far, we have 47 fly tyers lined up to demonstrate in shifts.  You can see the biographies and photos of the fly tyers by CLICKING HERE.

This is a two-page section of the Fly Tyers Weekend site.  When you get to the bottom of page 1, click on the “Page 2” button.

Tremont Lodge is offering discounts to Fly Tyers Weekend attendees.  The rooms are limited so make your reservation early.

Also, Saturday night, there will be a showing of the IF4 International Fly Fishing Film Festival movie.  You can buy tickets online or at our store for $15 or pay $18 at the door.  While you are there, you can buy dinner and participate in the auction and raffles, that benefit the Southern Appalachian Fly Fishing Museum.  This is going to be a great event and you should attend if you can.

On July 11th, 1962, my 11th birthday, my parents gave me a new fly rod outfit and fly tying kit.  I will never forget that day. John F. Kennedy was our President. 

They didn’t give me any flies.  To go fishing that day, I had to tie my own.  I had been reading about this sport and hobby, in magazines that really didn’t have much information back then.  But, on that day, without any prior training, I pretty much knew how to tie a streamer.  I tied a couple and went fishing on one of our farm ponds. 

I didn’t know how to cast a fly rod.  I had read about it. Again, I had no prior training. I didn’t know anyone who fly fished.  I lived in Kentucky.

I walked to the pond with my new fly rod, reel, line and two flies I tied.  Somehow, I was able to cast.  Within a few minutes, I was battling a 2 pound largemouth bass on this new outfit and a fly I tied myself.  A few minutes later, I caught another. 

When I look back, that moment was certainly a huge turning point in my life. At the time, I had no idea where this would go.  Tying a fly, casting, and catching a bass seems insignificant to most people.  It was not insignificant to me. 

The places I’ve gone, the fish I’ve caught and the people I’ve met, are all significant.  I never dreamed I would meet Lefty Kreh or Joe Humphreys, much less turn out to be a friend of theirs.  I met many of my best friends, and friendships that “stuck” because of that day when I tied the fly and caught a bass.  I wonder if Paula and I would have married, if it were not for the fact that she loved fly fishing. 

Would I have spent almost 1/3 of my life in the fly fishing business, if it were not for that fly and bass?  I doubt it. I could be living in a big city, selling golf balls, not living in the Smoky Mountains selling flies. 

I talked to John Chesney at the shop yesterday.  He’s a great guy who I have known for years. When we are together, we laugh.  It’s always a treat for me.  Would I have known John and many others if it were not for that day standing on the bank of a pond, with a fly, fly rod and holding that bass?  Probably not.  There are hundreds of people who I know and like, because of that fateful day.  I wouldn’t know Buddy Randolph, Jim Watson and others, who I exchanged e-mail with yesterday, if it were not for that day. 

My close friends who I work with at the shop would be unknowns to me.  We would never have met. I would not know Jack or Ronnie.  Frank and I may have even parted ways at some point if it were not for fly fishing.  Who knows? No, that probably would not have happened. We've been friends since 1957.

I’m happy that I took the step to tie a fly and cast a fly rod that fateful day.  Nobody could dispute, that day was a turning point that later led me in a direction where I find myself today. I am truly blessed.

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

Byron Begley
July 11, 1962

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