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Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. At 5:29 am, the temperature is 61.9 degrees. Today will be partly cloudy with a high temperature of near 80 degrees. Tonight’s low will dip into the low 50’s.
Tomorrow will be much cooler with a high in the high 60’s and a low in the upper 40’s. It will remain cool through the weekend with a low chance for rain.
Little River is flowing at 41 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.30 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 81 cfs. The lowest recorded flow on this date was 20 cfs in 2007. The water temperature is 67.1 degrees.
We won’t see the water temperature fall further today, but it will tonight. Expect to see falling water temperatures every night through the weekend.
Fishing conditions will be good in one way and not so good in another. The water will be cool, even in the lower elevation, larger rivers. Fishing will improve in those streams. The water levels will continue to drop. Though not ideal conditions, fishing should be better than what we have experienced lately, mainly because you will not be confined to fishing the high elevation streams.
Dry flies and nymphs will work. A small yellow stonefly, black foam beetle or other dry fly terrestrial imitations will work. I would still use a Green or Pink Weenie or the Squirmy Wormy flies that have been doing so well, as sub-surface flies.
Fish the broken, choppy water, where the trout are hiding. Try to stay hidden from the trout, by blending in with the forest. Hide behind rocks and trees. Stay low.
The extended weather forecast through October 12th, calls for fairly warm days in the high 70’s to low 80’s. Lows at night will be in the 50’s. A low chance for rain is predicted through the period.
In a few days, tourists will be visiting the Park in big numbers. October is the second busiest month of the year in the Smokies, because of the Fall colors. Tourism experts are predicting heavy visitation during this October.
Some experts who study leaf change predict a vivid showing this Fall, due to the dry conditions. Others are not so optimistic. Peak leaf color is expected between mid to late October.
Generation schedules on the area tailwaters are mixed today. You may be able to work with the TVA schedules in some.
Secondary reservoirs, such as Douglas, Norris and Cherokee are being held at the lower elevations of what is expected this time of year. If you look at the operating guides for these lakes, they have been lower than last year, most of the Spring through Summer, due to the lack of rain.
Fly fishing on the lakes is very good in the Fall. I have always done well fishing for smallmouth bass near fallen trees, using threadfin shad patterns. My favorite is a Puglisi Threadfin Shad. I try to fish on cloudy days or early and late. I can’t fish early because I write this report every morning, 7 days a week. So, I watch for cloudy days.
I learned a trick years ago, you should try. It seems to work best in the Fall. Using Puglisi shad patterns, usually small, from 1” to 2” in length, I cast them to a likely spot on the banks, and just let them sink. I tie them on light hooks so they sink slowly. I may give them a twitch occasionally. I keep my fly line and leader tight, so I can feel the strike. Some days the smallmouth bass can’t resist these flies and this method.
Puglisi flies are time consuming to tie. You can buy them at our shop. I would rather tie my own. For one thing, I tie mine on an egg hook. When finished, they resemble a tiny version of the tarpon flies I use.
These flies are also deadly when you find smallmouth bass, white bass, trout or even stripers in the jumps. I always use a non-slip loop to tie the fly to my tippet, to give them more action.
I tie larger versions too, for larger fish and for lakes where the shad are larger, in late summer and fall. I also use these when fishing in the Gulf. Their shape and color resemble many baitfish found in the ocean. They can be colored to look like menhaden or pinfish.
I wrote an article years ago, describing how to tie this fly. It is still on our website. You can do an internet search on “Tying Puglisi Threadfin Shad” and the tutorial always comes up at the top of the page. Or you can CLICK HERE to read it. This is a two-page article. You can click to Page 2 at the bottom of Page 1.
This fly also works very well on tailwaters for trout. I remember one trip, floating down the Cumberland River in Kentucky, when this fly was a killer. The brown trout were eating the eyes off of them.
The small ones take me at least 30 minutes to tie. The big ones take an hour or more. Using Prismatic Markers, you can make this fly resemble about any baitfish you desire. If the color fades, you can touch them up. If they get tangled by catching too many fish, you can comb them with a tooth brush.
You don’t have to be an accomplished fly tyer to make these flies. Anyone can do it with some practice.
Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.
September 28, 2016