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

Welcome to the Fly Fishing Report from East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains.  Fog covered Tuckaleechee Cove this morning.  The temperature was 58 degrees.  At the swinging bridge I ran into a man and his son fishing for trout.  They had not caught anything.  Evidently they have been fishing here for a few days.  The Dad told me they are catching some huge trout but not often.  I checked the water temperature.  It was 61 degrees at 7:45 am. 

I stopped at the Townsend Shopping Center to buy some gas.  The ginseng truck pulled in behind me and parked.  He will be buying “sang” today from local diggers.

Fishing should be good in the Park. I was off yesterday so I don’t know what’s going on.  I did read this report last night.  Daniel said that customers had a slow day on Saturday.  One of those fronts must have been moving in, slowing the trout’s activity.

But, other than that, the conditions are perfect.  The water in Little River is lower than normal for the moment.  This morning the flow is 319 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 369 cfs.  Not to worry, we’ve got plenty of rain coming.  Afternoon thunderstorms are expected every day through Friday.  Some will hit us, and some won’t. 

I take the water temperature every morning in town at the swinging bridge.  Today’s reading, 61 degrees is the warmest Little River has been this early in the day all year.  The fisherman I talked to this morning said the high temperature yesterday was 67 degrees.  Since the water temperature in the Park is always colder than it is in town, right now the temperature is in the mid to high 50’s in most streams except for the high elevations tributaries in the Smokies.  That is perfect. The water will warm up this afternoon.

The lower water is easier to fish but you can spook the trout if you don’t stay down and hidden from them.  The big brown trout are hiding during the day and feeding at night when conditions are like this.  You can’t fish at night in the Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Here is a quick check with TVA on their generation flows today.  Cherokee dam will be off from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm.  They say Norris Dam will be off then too.  They will be pulsing for one hour twice at South Holston Dam.  Apalachia will be pulsing off and on all day.  Dale Hollow is going to be running water starting at 2:00 pm.  Of course, they will be pushing the water through Wolf Creek Dam all day full blast.  Tims Ford is off today as usual.  Flow on the Duck River below Normandy Dam will be low all day.  Check before you go.  These schedules change.  I could have made a mistake.  Sometimes TVA has unscheduled releases.  Don’t go without looking yourself.  The links are to the left.

Lake fishing is improving.  Paula and I went to the lake yesterday.  We were on the water at 8:00 am.  Fishing was not great but it wasn’t bad either.  She lost a good smallmouth and I broke off another fish she had at the boat trying to land it.  We caught all sorts of fish, mostly small.  We caught smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, bluegill and shellcrackers.  I saw a huge shellcracker, maybe the largest I’ve seen.  He was near my fly but not paying attention to it.  It looked like a nice smallmouth bass at first.  The shellcrackers are not on the beds yet.  I know it’s about a month early but so is everything else.

Bass were on the banks and taking streamers.  We caught everything except the bluegill and shellcrackers on a black wooly bugger and a Slump Buster.

I am going to switch out some lines this week.  We always have 5 fly rods in our boat, sometimes 6 depending on which lake we are fishing.  We have two 4 weights for bluegill.  We have two 6 weights for bass.  There is always a 7 weight for bass.  And, if there are stripers around we have an 8 wt and sometimes a 9 wt in the boat.

I like the Scientific Anglers Lefty Kreh Fly Lines for fishing in the Park.  They are cheap and smooth in cold water.  SA gave me a few last Summer to try on the lakes and rivers.  They do great for a $40 line until they get hot.  Then, they soften.  I was using a Rio Smallmouth Line yesterday.  It did great.  Paula struggled with a Lefty Line that had turned to mush.  Early last year we had most of the rods strung up with Sharkskin Lines.  I don’t like the noise but they cast far and can handle the hot boat bottom without a problem.  So this week I’m going to change out several lines.  I’ll keep a Lefty Line on my fiberglass bluegill rod.  They like each other.

So, what do I do?  Well, I’m putting a SA Sharkskin line on the 7 Wt.  SA gave that to me a while back.  I’ll probably put a Rio Smallmouth Line on the other 6 weight.  I want to try a new Orvis Hydros 3D Line so one of those will go on a 5 wt.  I may put a Rio Gold on the other 4 weight.  I’ll put an SA Textured Line on another rod. 

We don’t usually have expensive tackle in our boat.  It’s too easy to drop one overboard.  I am planning to buy a Temple Fork BVK 7 weight this year.  That is “high end” on our boat.  Most of our boat rods are TFO Professionals.  They cast well and they are inexpensive.  I have one BVK 6 weight and dearly love it.  The BVK casts like a Professional but it’s extremely light and feels good.

I’m planning to go to one of the lakes this week by myself.  The weather forecast indicates a good chance for thunderstorms each day.  That’s OK.  I can launch and fish near the ramp.  I may not even fire up the gas motor unless I have to make the run to the ramp to beat out a storm. It is fishing time in Tennessee and I’m going to take advantage of it until Summer.

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

Byron Begley
April 3, 2012 

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