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 right now and 43 degrees in Townsend, Tennessee.  Today will be mostly sunny and 60 degrees.  This is a good day to be going fishing.

Little River is flowing at 265 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.02 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 361 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:05 am is 50 degrees.  Perfect!

It is happening.  The conditions have been and will be excellent for fishing in the Smokies.  Aquatic insect activity is high.  Trout are taking dry flies, nymphs and wet flies.  This is what we have all been waiting for.

I talked to my two buddies from Lexington Tuesday.  They fished Monday.  Sunday night was cold.  The water was much cooler than it is now.  They hiked 4 miles up above Elkmont.  They said fishing was good.  I was kind of surprised.  They were going back to the same area again.

I was off yesterday but when I got in this morning there was a note on my desk.  James Serra got into the trout and a quill gordon hatch at noon and caught about 20 trout.  He told Daniel the bugs were in all sizes between #10 and #14.  The hatch was continuous until 4:00 pm.

It’s the water temperature folks.  Yesterday, Little River’s temp rose to 52 degrees.  That is in the lower elevations, below the confluence of the three prongs.  Last night, the water temperature didn’t drop below 50 degrees.  The quill gordons and blue quills are loving this, even higher up where the water is cooler.

It is going to be colder tonight, down to 35 degrees.  But, tomorrow’s high will be near 70 degrees.  It is going to be warm Friday night and Saturday.  There is a 40% chance for rain on Saturday.  That is excellent news.  Overcast and warm conditions with some rain will provide excellent fishing in the Smokies this weekend.  It’s time, no doubt about it.

The weather doesn’t look that good next week but I think fishing will continue to be very good. 

So, have some Quill Gordon and Blue Quill dry flies in sizes #10 to #14 in your vest.  The larger bugs will be Quill Gordons.  If the trout are not feeding on the surface at times, you should switch to nymphs or swing wet flies.  A Pheasant Tail is a great nymph to fish now.  For a wet fly, use a Quill Gordon.

We can expect fishing to be good to excellent for at least 3 months now, baring any super cold weather or floods.  This is the time of year when trout have their best feeding opportunities in the Southern Appalachians. 

Low water or extreme heat can slow the fishing down, especially during the middle of the day during the Summer months.  However, you can always fish the higher elevations and small shaded streams when that happens.  The periods of slow fishing are over for a while, most likely. 

Paula and I got a new trailer for our kayaks.  We ordered one from Malone last Monday and it arrived Friday in 7 boxes weighing 275 pounds.  We spent the day yesterday doing the assembly.  I have nothing but good things to say about Malone.  Their instructions were easy to follow.  The quality is excellent and there were no missing parts.

It was a job.  There are lots of bolts and pieces in a kit like that.  This thing is made to hold about 500 pounds and kayaks or canoes up to 20 feet long.  I’m going by memory here so don’t hold me to that statement.

It took us longer than the 2 to 3 hours reported on the Malone website but we were not trying to set any speed records and I am 63 years old.  We had a great time on this project and I pulled the trailer to work today to test it out.

Our fishing kayaks are very wide and heavy.  They weigh 85 pounds.  Now, we can lift them off or load them at waist level, not trying to get them on top of my truck.  Life is going to be much better.  I’m happy. Everybody happy!

Gordon Wright was found dead yesterday morning on his property.  Evidently he had an accident in his jeep and tried to walk home.  He was reported missing Tuesday afternoon.  The Sheriff department searched until dark.  I heard a helicopter was used in the search.  Dogs were brought in Tuesday morning and they found Gordon on a trail. I read his farm was over 600 acres.  He did develop part of it.  I’ve been grouse hunting on his property.  It is beautiful.  That is where he loved to be.  

I have worked on a few community projects with Gordon including two years trying to re-build Laurel Lake.  He was a great guy.  He was the County Commissioner for our district.  He came in about a month ago so I could sign his papers to run for County Commission again.  When I drove to work this morning I stopped at the intersection of Old Cades Cove Road and Old Tuckaleechee Pike.  The small sign, stuck in the ground, announcing he was running for the commission again was right there where it has been for weeks.  Gordon was 69 years old.

I’ll miss Gordon.  We’ve had some good times.  He served his community well.  He had lots of friends.  The County Commission meets tonight.  There will be one empty chair. 

So long buddy, you will be missed!

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

Byron Begley
March 20, 2014


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