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 overcast and 58 degrees in Townsend, Tennessee this morning.  There was no fog at 7:15 am when I drove to work.  There was quite a bit of traffic, mostly parents driving their kids to Townsend Elementary School. 

Little River is flowing at 68 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.46 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 84 cfs.  The water temperature this morning is 56 degrees.

Fishing in the Smokies is good.  Not only are the guides having good days, anyone who knows how to fish when the streams are low are doing really well.  I’ve seen some pictures of some nice brown trout that have been caught over the last few days.  Most of the larger ones are in the 15-inch to 17-inch range.  I have not heard of any monsters being caught.  Not yet.

The key to success right now, when fishing in the Smokies is stealth, light tippets and small nymphs.  Just about everybody is doing better with nymphs.  If you go today, try a Prince, Tellico, Hare’s Ear, Copper John or Pheasant Tail.  I would use size #16.  If you can manage two flies, use them.  Select two nymphs and let them drift through the deep runs and in the riffles.  One nymph should be tied on about 16 inches behind the first fly.  That is the 2-fly legal description in the National Park.  They have to be 16” apart.  I don’t know if more than that is legal.  I think less than that would be illegal. 

Look at the tail of the pools for browns.  Brook trout may be in the tails of pools too.  The brook trout are going to be hitting about anything.  The brown trout will be more selective and prone to wariness.   

Paula and I spent part of the day yesterday on the lake. It was windy.  Nothing was happening for us and fishing was difficult due to the wind and leaves on the water.  The lake was white capping at one point so we retreated to the ramp.  It was rough out there.  Our boat is a 16 foot deep V so rough water is not a problem unless we were to encounter 3 or 4 foot waves.  It was not that bad yesterday.

We tossed Game Changers using 9 weight rods.  I tested several new flies tied in this configuration.  Some were tied using Puglisi Fibers instead of Minnow Wrap.  I did not trim enough fibers from the fly.  They did not sink much.  Even one fly I tied using two Gamakatsu #1 stinger hooks would not sink.  Those tied with Minnow Wrap worked perfect.  They swam along about a foot under the surface.  I want to use Puglisi Fibers so I can tie these flies without the pearl flash in the body.  We fish gin clear water and I think the flies tied with flash often spook the trout or smallmouth bass.

The leaf colors yesterday were incredible.  I took some photographs and I’ll share them later.  I remember when the leaves peaked during the 2nd week in October.  It seems to be getting later each year.  A week ago, we had some nice colors on the mountains, but nothing like yesterday.  Like everything else this year, everything is running late.

Today is the 23rd anniversary of Paula and my first date with each other.  I was 39 years old and she was 29.  We still go fly fishing together almost every week. We have been married 19 ½ years.  Time flies.  On our first dating anniversary, we backpacked into campsite 18 on the West Prong of Little River.  We got a heavy snow that day which was expected.  We went anyway.  We had a great time and caught some trout.  We don’t get many snowfalls in October anymore.  Yesterday, the temperature on the lake was 72 degrees.

Hey, we’ve got some rain on the way.  The chance tonight is 100% and tomorrow it is 60%.  We could use some rain.  High temperatures both today and tomorrow are predicted to be 73 degrees.

So, we are expecting very good fishing this weekend.  It is going to be cooler on Saturday and Sunday.

Don’t forget, Walter Babb and Brian Courtney will be here Saturday for our Free Fly Tying Demonstrations.  They will be tying in separate locations in the store between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  You don’t need a reservation.  There is no cost.  Just show up.  These guys are pros and you will learn a lot about tying trout flies and fishing them.

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

Byron Begley
October 31, 2013

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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