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

Welcome to the Fly Fishing Report.  It is very foggy and 57 degrees in Townsend this morning.  We got a little rain last night so everything is wet.  Green trees and foliage are dominant now.  Our valley looks like it would in late Spring.  The temperature, both air and water have been higher than normal for months.  Wildlife mating is ahead of normal.  This has been a strange year but I don’t hear anybody complaining. 

I heard thunder at home last night but the storms missed us.  They dropped rain somewhere in the Little River watershed.  The river was up this morning about 6” where I stand every day and the water was off color somewhat.  That indicates to me that the tributaries in the Smoky Mountains are probably clear.  Silt is most likely entering the river somewhere in town, probably the creek that runs through Wears Valley.

Flow is 717 cubic feet per second (cfs) right now.  The river peaked early this morning and it is on it’s way down.  Median flow for this date is 380 cfs.  The water temperature was 58 degrees at 8:00 am.

I saw Josh heading out of town pulling his drift boat.  He probably picked up a client at a cabin or motel in town.  They will probably float the Holston River today.  It has been fishing well.  I’m hearing about some good caddis hatches at times on that river.

Today would be a good one to hook a big brown trout in the Park, at least in the Little River watershed.  Higher water gives the angler an advantage.  Brown trout lay low when the water is doing the same. 

Be careful wading today.  The flow in Little River is strong.  I think you would do better using nymphs.  I never seem to do as well fishing high water with dry flies.  You might do well with dries while fishing the smaller tributaries.  Try a Parachute Adams or Elk Hair Caddis.  I would stick with a Prince Nymph, Bead Head Pheasant Tail or Tellico Nymph.  Plenty of other patterns will work too.  You can use heavier tippet when the water is this high.

We have more rain in the forecast today through Friday.  Who knows what’s going to happen.  Click on this report and we’ll let you know what is going on.

I’m planning to fish one of the lakes tomorrow alone.  The weather service indicates we may have severe thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon.  Unless they hit early, I’ll go fishing then come home fairly early.  I may fish fairly close to the launch ramp just in case.  My marine radio has a weather channel tuner built in.  I can listen to that and find out what is headed my way.

Smallmouth bass fishing is picking up gradually.  I know a few fly fishermen who target this species.  They are telling me smallmouth bass fishing is getting better.  I am one of those people.  Fly fishing for smallies is improving in the rivers and lakes.  Water temperatures in the mid to upper 60s is making these fish more active.  Paula and I fished a lake on Monday.  We did fairly well.  We caught several fish, smallmouth bass and other species. Smallmouth bass have been spotted on the beds already.  Fly fishing for these guys will only get better.

Lake levels are inching up.  TVA keeps the lakes low during the winter creating capacity during the wet months for flood control.  When Summer approaches the lakes are allowed to fill for recreation purposes. 

I am on a quest to find a home to rent, on a lake close by with a covered boat dock on premises.  We would like to rent one for a month maybe every year in May.  I found plenty of them.  But, they are too far away from the store.  One I located was perfect.  It would require a 1 hour and 10 minute commute each way to and from work.  That’s too far.

Another idea is to buy a travel trailer, store it in Townsend and have it delivered to a campground on a lake for a month or two.  We do have campgrounds closer to the shop.  I don’t care a thing about buying a big truck and hauling a travel trailer around.  But, you could hire someone to do it.

During my search I have found marinas that are in financial trouble.  And, I was talking to a couple yesterday who are planning to build a new campground. They mentioned that banks are foreclosing on marinas. It is true.  Check the internet.

I found one on Tellico Lake that is for sale for $3.8 million and the land is leased, long term, and not owned.  The price includes some cabins.  A bank owns the property now.  I know one of the former owners.  He was a customer here.

I suppose boating, especially with boats that require a lot of fuel is losing popularity.  And, as a consequence, marinas are losing customers.  Or, maybe the marina infrastructure is overbuilt.  I talked to a customer last week who is selling his big boat.  He said that craft uses $50 per hour in fuel.  He probably meant it did that at full throttle.  His marina fee is $300 per month. 

The boat business seems to have bounced back from the lows during the last recession.  I know of two dealers who say they have had months of great business.  I suspect, people are buying smaller boats.  We have a 16’ V with a 20 hp 4 stroke engine.  We can run around the lake all day and only use 3 gallons of fuel.  That is affordable.

Some anglers and boaters don’t live near lakes.  They have to drive long distances.  That has to be hurting the marina business.  Again, we live close to two lakes.  We can be at Tellico Lake in 35 minutes, which is about 20 miles away.  If we had to drive an hour or two we wouldn’t go as often.

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

Byron Begley
April 4, 2012

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