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

Welcome to the Fly Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is overcast in East Tennessee and rain is headed this way.  The temperature is 62 degrees this morning.  The redbud trees are in full bloom, a sign that fishing is very good.  When the dogwood trees bloom, fishing is always excellent.  The Smoky Mountains are showing some signs of light green fresh leaves on the trees.  The green movement starts in the valleys then gradually goes to the top, a little bit every day.  Right now the green trees appear to be at about 1,800 to 2,000 feet above sea level.

Fishing is very good.  The conditions are perfect.  The streams in East Tennessee are flowing near normal.  The streams in Western North Carolina are normal or below normal.  Little River is flowing at 450 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 405 cfs.  The water temperature this morning was 59 degrees at 7:55 am. 

What we have now in the Smokies is great dry fly fishing.  Hatches are varied depending on where you are.  Higher in the mountains, Spring is behind the lower elevations.  What you find hatching up there might be different than what is hatching down here.  Wherever you go, I would use Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams, March Brown, Thunderhead or or Stimulator.  Sizes I would choose are #12 or #14.  We are still in the dark phase of aquatic insects.  They will become lighter later as the year progresses.  Nymphs are working well too.  You will see terrestrials in the lower elevations.  I saw a lot of ants yesterday.  Trout love ants.

The lowland rivers are clearing and getting warmer.  This warmer water causes the smallmouth bass to get active and into the pre-spawn mode.  Right now, use Wooly Buggers, Crayfish, and Hellgrammite patterns.  You may find some smallmouth bass looking up so try poppers, Stealth Bombers or other surface flies too, just to see what happens.  I don’t know if that will work.  Probably not.

The KnoxNews Website published an updated Fishing Report describing the lake water and fishing conditions.  This report leans more toward the conventional tackle fishermen but the same would apply to those of us who fish with fly rods. 

Most of the lakes are below full pool with a couple of exceptions.  Water temperatures have risen since the last report.  Surface temperatures are ranging in the low to high 60’s now on the 7 major lakes near here.  Overall, the smallmouth bass have moved into shallower water especially where the sun warms the rocks near the banks.  Warm rocks translate to warmer water.  The creeks are typically warmer than the main lakes.  I would use Wooly Buggers, Slump Busters and Puglisi Threadfin Shad or any shad imitation.  Don’t rule out crayfish patterns in the lakes either.  I have caught plenty of smallmouth bass with claws sticking out of their throat. 

The tailwaters are fishing well when you can get a generation schedules that suit your kind of fishing, wading or in a boat. 

Basically, fishing is just very good right now and it will get better.

Expect some rain and thunderstorms today through Saturday night.  I am hoping the rainfall is not heavy.  Our waters are in great shape now and we would like to see it stay that way.

The two men that professional trackers, dogs and helicopters are looking in the for in the Great Smoky Mountains have not been found.  These searches are not related.  They are two separate search operations. Here is an update on the Daily Times website. This is getting very interesting. I hope these guys are OK.

The maintenance crews in the Smokies are clearing trees and low-level bushes from the overlook areas, 34 of them.  Here is an article in the Daily Times. The process is called "Vista Management".

Have you ever had water and sludge in your gas tank?  It happened to me recently and my outboard quit 2 miles from the ramp.  The tanks were clean and dry when I filled up three weeks ago.  Using a baster, I sucked some liquid from the bottom of all three of my tanks and found a repulsive combination of water and who knows what.

I was advised to dispose of the gas and buy some somewhere else.  How do you dispose of gasoline? 

Yesterday I devised a home-made separator. I used to make wine and have some 6 gallon clear glass vessels.  I poured the gasoline from one tank in the glass container.  In a few minutes the sludge and water settled to the bottom.  It looked awful.  Then I siphoned the gasoline off the top.  I kept repeating this until all the gasoline was cleaned. 

Then, I changed the fuel filter in the outboard.  It looked nasty too.  After that, I hooked the water hose to the engine and fired it up.  The motor ran fine.  I will pour the sludge and remaining gasoline into a tray and let it evaporate.  That was the greenest solution I could come up with.

When I told Jimmy who owns the boat dealership what I was planning to do he looked at me and said “You are smarter than you look”.  It’s not that.  I was in the dry cleaning business for 20 years.  We had separators, several of them in each store.  I simply understood the principal from experience. 

I am thinking about doing this procedure every time I buy gasoline for the boat.  It just takes a few minutes.  I will take her out on the lake next week and we’ll see what she does.

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

Byron Begley
March 23, 2012

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