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 cloudy and 66 degrees in Townsend this morning.  This is absolutely a perfect morning to be fly fishing in the Park.  It’s the clouds. 

Without leaves on the trees, it is harder to find shaded water.  That won’t be as much of a problem soon.  But, for now, cloudy days are the best days.  The trout are much more likely to take dry flies when the sky is dark or the part of the stream you are fishing is shaded. 

Little River is flowing at 348 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.23 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 385 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:00 am is 56 degrees.

The conditions are perfect.  The bugs are active and the trout are active.  There are all kinds of aquatic insects on the water.  I think I would just use a #12 Parachute Adams today with a nymph dropper.  Fish the moving water.  You won’t catch much in the slick pools if anything at all.  The clouds today will allow you to fish more water. 

Some anglers are doing very well.  Fishing is very good.  Other anglers are reporting slow fishing.  That is usually the case.  We hear both every day.  If you are not catching trout, when conditions are like this, you are probably doing something wrong.  Since the water has warmed, you can fish early before the sun gets on the water.  And, you should always fish late when the sun is off the water. 

If you are not catching trout on dry flies where you happen to be and you want to stay where you are, switch to nymphs.  Get them down.  Be alert to the possibility that you are fishing behind someone else.  If fishing is slow, when the water is like this, I start looking for wet footprints on the rocks.

Wherever you fish in the Smokies right now, fishing is going to be good.  I prefer small streams in the early Spring.  Late in the evening is awesome this time of year.  But, you can catch trout all day long if you choose the right spots.

The smallmouth bass in the lowland rivers are getting more active each day.  I’m starting to see some pictures of nice fish. 

Fishing the stocked water in town continues to be very good for rainbow trout.  There are some good fish being caught in town, up to 18”. 

Smallies are moving to the banks on the lakes.  I saw a lot of them Wednesday.  The sun was shining and the only fish I saw were hiding in shady spots but they were on the banks.  They should be spawning soon.  The water temperature was 52 to 56 degrees on the Little Tennessee. 

The tailwaters are fishing well too.  The guides are all reporting good catches.  The guides we work with are fishing the Smokies more right now and they are having very good days.  We had a class on the streams in the Park Sunday.  Every student caught fish on their first day of fly fishing.  They were doing best using dry flies late in the day.

I talked to my buddy Frank yesterday.  We are both watching the weather.  He plans to come down from Kentucky and fish with me for a couple of days.  We are waiting for cloudy days, so we can fish all day. A little rain and not much wind would be nice too.  We will be fishing for smallmouth bass. 

This weekend looks awesome.  Sunday would be my choice but Saturday should be good too.  We are going to get rain today.  The chance is 100%.  I’m hoping we don’t get too much.  An inch or less would be perfect.  More rain is expected Sunday night and Monday.  Tuesday will be perfect, a 20% chance of showers and mostly cloudy.

We have a great number of choices right now from freestone streams, lowland rivers, tailwaters and lakes.

My arm is still sore.  Paula and I fished the lake Wednesday.  Because of the bright sun and lack of chop, we had to keep the boat far away from the bank so we didn’t spook the bass.  I was casting a full size Game Changer on a 9 weight rod with a 6 foot 12 pound leader.  I’m going to make a 4 foot leader and try that.  These game changers are heavy when they are wet. 

I have tied some that have fewer articulated shanks and you can cast them with lighter rods.  They don’t have the same action as the longer flies but they are a heck of a lot easier to cast.  I know one thing, I’m too old to be blind casting a 9 weight all day. 

We saw one of the largest smallmouth bass Wednesday, I have ever seen in the water.  It slowly swam into a downed tree.  I waited for it to re-emerge.  It didn’t happen.  My goal this year is to catch a 7 pound smallmouth on a fly rod.  I think I saw her Wednesday.

I’m geared up for it with very heavy leaders and rods.  I’m going to spook some fish with those 12 pound tippets, but maybe I can make up for it with larger, more realistic flies.  My largest smallie on a fly weighed exactly 5 pounds.  Paula and I both have both caught 4 pounders too.  A six would be nice but a 7 would be the ultimate.

It may not happen but I can only hope. 

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

Byron Begley
April 4, 2014

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