Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is extremely foggy and 31 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I can’t see one mountain from here.  Traffic was very light on my way to work.  Visitors will begin to trickle in today.  The Thanksgiving holiday starts here a few days earlier than one would think.

We are in for a beautiful weekend.  It is going to be cold in the mornings but warming to the 60’s or near that during the day.  There is no mention of rain in the forecast through Monday.

The rivers and creeks are running fine with plenty of water.  Little River is flowing at 165 cubic feet per second (cfs) right now.  Median flow for this date is 138 cfs.  The water temperature at the “Y” was 45.6 degrees at 8:10 am.  The water is crystal clear.

The colder the water, the less suspended solids it can hold.  That is why cold water is clearer in the lakes and streams. 

Yesterday was my day off but I decided to work a few hours before doing something a little more fun.  All the gang from Lexington, Kentucky showed up at the shop.  Charlie joined them from North Carolina.  Stan met them here.  They are staying at Docks Motel for a few days.

I left work about 1:00 pm and drove to the end of the Tremont Road.  I hiked 2 miles up Lynn Camp Prong.  There was not much sunlight.  The sun had already moved behind the mountain.  So, I could not see any brook trout.  The stream was chocked full of water and it was very clear.  Still, without sun on the water it was hard to see the trout.  There were spots where the sun did shine on the water but it was so clear, those trout were hiding in the choppy water.  After 4 miles of hiking, I was back at the truck.

Charlie, Stan and the gang from Lexington were fishing along the road.  I stopped and talked to them.  Fishing for them was slow.  The water was cold and clear.  The trout were spooky.  Stan watched from the road as Charlie fished.  He watched the trout move further away from Charlie as he approached the next pool. 

There were absolutely no bugs on the water.  So, the guys were fishing with nymphs, which was the right thing to do.  Still the fishing was slow.  Doug said he caught a couple of small ones.

So, fishing is fair.  One positive note of encouragement, some of the guys who fish for the brown trout are doing fairly well.  I have not seen a photo of a trout over 24” for about a week.  The browns are spawning and out in the open.  Most people do not target the females and that is good.  All of my friends release these fish when they are caught. 

When you go fishing, you will probably do better fishing nymphs.  If you are just fishing for the average rainbows or brookies, use smaller nymphs and light tippet.  Fish as if the water is low because it is so clear.  Stay low, hide behind rocks and blend in with the forest.  If you don’t do that, you probably won’t catch trout.  You might catch some trout on Blue Wing Olive dry fly patterns.  I  don’t hold out much hope for that though.

For nymphs I would us a Pheasant Tail, maybe a #16.  I would probably use 6X tippet if the trout are refusing flies tied on 5X.  Fluorocarbon leaders might help.  They are less visible.  Try every low water tactic even though the water is not low.  Right now, the trout can see everything.

It is final.  It is a done deal.  Several dams and power houses, plus all the property surrounding the lakes formerly owned by Alcoa on the Little Tennessee River have been sold for $600 million.  The new owner is a Canadian company.  The new owners are calling this large power-generating unit “Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower”.

The assets include four dams on the Little Tennessee and Cheoah Rivers.  Also included in the sale is 14,500 acres of land adjacent to the river.  Below Chilhowee Dam lies Tellico Lake.  From the dam, downstream the assets will still be owned and operated by TVA.  There is some private development on Tellico Lake.  Power is not generated at Tellico Dam, located some 30 miles below Chilhowee Dam.  Instead, the water is diverted to Fort Loudoun Lake.  There, that water is used for power generation at Fort Loudoun Dam.

You can read the story on the Daily Times website by CLICKING HERE.

When I heard about this a few months ago I checked out this Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners company.  I felt pretty good about the fact that they promote fishing on their waters and cooperate with fish and wildlife agencies.  I don’t expect any changes to boating and fishing activities on these lakes and tailwaters.  Activity is light, fishing is tough and most people prefer the lakes that are more fertile where the fishing is easier and better. 

The Little Tennesse River arm of Tellico Lake and the river upstream is basically infertile or oligotrophic until it meets the Tellico River.  There is a plankton deficiency. The Tellico River arm of the lake is more fertile or mesotrophic.  That river runs through agriculture areas.  Nutrients and plankton abundance offer more food for baitfish and juvenile sport fish.  The food in fertile lakes makes for better fishing.

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

Byron Begley
November 16, 2012

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