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 dark and 41 degrees.  Daybreak will arrive soon.  We are in for another beautiful day in Townsend, Tennessee.  It will be cooler than yesterday when the high temperature was 71 degrees.  But, it will still be nice.

Little River is in excellent shape this morning.  Flow is 240 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.01 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 193 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:14 am is 48.5 degrees.

Fishing is good.  The conditions are very good, especially for Thanksgiving week.  We should see those conditions, especially the water temperature, remain at this point most of the day.

I would use nymphs.  You might try dry flies but most likely, the trout will be eating sub-surface.  Last night, I saw flying insects that were attracted to our outside lights.  I saw flying insects yesterday.  Terrestrials are fairly active but probably not enough to matter on the trout streams. 

A cold front with rain will move into our area tonight.  Rain, mixed with snow will remain here tomorrow.  Lows at night through Thanksgiving will be in the 30’s to high 20’s through the weekend.  This warm spell will be over by tomorrow. We can enjoy it one more day.

I drove to the shop twice yesterday, worked there some and worked at home.  I saw fairly heavy traffic as expected during this holiday week. 

I was there after closing time and noticed that a shipment of new Fishpond merchandise had arrived.  I’ve been describing this gear for a while for our websites.  I’ve been using Fishpond’s photography to update our online store and  Now, I got to see it. 

What caught my eye at first is the new Nomad “Native” landing net.  This one is perfect for our customers.  It is their smallest net, designed for the mountains and the tailwaters.  I saw two new nets on the counter that will be shipped to customers today.  I’ll spend the day updating our websites with this new gear. We will see more mail orders start coming in next week for the new Fishpond gear. This is going to be a Fishpond year, again.  Their new offerings are available, just in time for the holidays.

Fishpond’s accessories packaging has changed.  It looks great.  Those people are on top of their game.

I just looked at the extended weather forecast for next week.  If it doesn’t change, we will be in for another Spring-like week with highs in the 60’s and lows in the 40’s at least until next Thursday.  Next week may turn out to be yet another good fishing week here.

Bill and I were talking about the opening of Lynn Camp Prong yesterday.  The Park service announced to the press, that the stream will open soon.  None of us know when soon actually is.  Bill stays in close contact with Matt Kulp, the Park’s fisheries biologist.  They are waiting for approval from above before announcing the date.

Bill told Matt, he would be glad to be the person to remove the “No Fishing” signs for them since he lives closer to the stream than Matt does.  Matt asked Bill if he would remove the signs “on the way in”, or  “on the way out”. I’m sure Bill opted for on the way out.  As a friendly gesture to Bill, since we are good friends and co-workers, I volunteered to help him remove the signs.

Lynn Camp Prong has been closed for 6 years.  Rainbow trout were removed.  Southern Appalachian Brook Trout were stocked.  I helped one day and noticed several large wild brookies being released.  They were captured from several brook trout streams in the Park.

Lynn Camp Prong has always been my favorite trout stream in the Smokies.  Though it is just maybe 5 miles from our store, it still takes about 30 minutes to get there.  The road is gravel and rough.  You have to drive slow.

Bill and I were talking yesterday, about who knows how many times, each of us has hiked up that stream and spent the day alone.  Lynn Camp is a mid-elevation stream.  The former railroad bed, then road, and now a trail, that follows the stream is wide and low gradient.

Fishing was always great.  The stream has plenty of food for trout.  I never caught any huge trout there, just good, fat rainbows.  Now we will catch good, fat brook trout.

Most important to me, is the beauty of that place.  There is the cascade.  You can’t help but stop and look at that wonderful piece of water.  Two, half-log benches invite you to sit and watch the water fall and roll down that huge slick rock.

I always walked off the trail to look at the old rusted car that was abandoned decades ago.  It is a Cadillac, probably built in the early 40’s and left there who knows when.

After about 3 miles, I would make it to my favorite fishing area.  The water is flat, the landscape is flat and I think an old CCC camp was once there.  It is beautiful there.  I’m a rock sitter and stream watcher.  That is a good place to do both.  I’ve seen plenty of deer and bears up there.  Horses use the trail.  There are always hikers.  But, I seldom saw other anglers back in the day.  I never fish on weekends so my perspective may be skewed.  I felt like other fly fishermen didn’t know about this special place.

In the Spring, wildflowers bloom in large patches, not scattered like you see on steep, high gradient streams.  It’s like there was a town there at one time that disappeared. 

Of course, the fishing has always been good in Lynn Camp Prong.  It was often, too easy.  Now, with brook trout being the dominant species, fishing will probably be easier.

When it opens, it will be crowded with fishermen at first.  On the other hand, other streams will be less crowded.  When you add 8 miles of new trout water to an area, there has to be a positive affect on the other creeks.  When it closed, the streams nearby seemed more crowded. 

I am longing for a 3 mile hike in, by myself, with lunch, and spend the day alone there like I did for many years.  I’m older now.  The hike will take longer.  I’ll stop to enjoy the beauty often.  I’ll write this fishing report very early that first day and be gone, arriving at the trailhead at daybreak.

That won’t be opening day.  On opening day, I’ll meet Bill there with a pair of wire cutters to take down the signs. 

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

Byron Begley
November 25, 2014

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