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 and 43 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Redbuds are blooming, leaves are popping out on the trees and the ground vegetation is turning green.  It is Spring, finally, and I’m glad.

Little River is flowing near normal at 340 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.21 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 359 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 am is 53.5 degrees.

We got some rain yesterday morning.  A small storm blew through and dropped .40” of rain.  The rain was supposed to be here in the afternoon so anglers pretty much stayed away.  In retrospect, they should have gone fishing.  After the storm, it was overcast until dark, perfect conditions for fishing.

Today, I would go early or late but you will do good fishing the shaded spots on the rivers.  If you are fishing in the sun, I would fish deep with nymphs.  You never know for sure.  There could be a hatch on the large rivers during the middle of the day and trout could be rising to the aquatic insect adults.  The sun is going to be shining this afternoon according to the weather websites.

There are plenty of insects on the water.  This time of year, despite the common knowledge of the actual insects that will be on the water, I would use a Parachute Adams in sizes #12 through #16 and I might drop a Pheasant Tail off the dry.  If there are any Blue Quills or Quill Gordons left where you are fishing use one of those.  You could see caddis, March Browns, Dark Hendricksons or Blue Wing Olives.  It is earlier Spring in the high elevations than it is down in the valleys.

The trout are active.  Fish the shaded water and moving water. 

I’m looking at the weather forecast over the next few days.  We’ve got some great conditions ahead.  I’m pumped.  Wednesday, my day off is going to be partly sunny.  I prefer cloudy of course.  The days preceding Sunday are going to be cloudy, except for today.  Tomorrow looks awesome.  We’ll get some rain Sunday night.  Monday and Tuesday will be stellar.  Go fishing those days.

Paula and I went to a service yesterday for my friend Mike Shaver who passed away last weekend.  Mike loved to fly fish, especially with his son, Ross.  It is a very sad time when you lose a friend.  He will be missed by a lot of people.  A lot of people were there. 

Paula drove to the service and I watched Little River downstream.  It looks perfect.  It is perfect right now for smallmouth bass fishing.  We saw one fisherman along the many miles of river, just one. 

We went to the lake Wednesday and there were only two other boat trailers at the ramp.  We saw three boats during the 5 hours we were on the lake. 

Maybe fishermen are fishing the tailwaters.  I know they are fishing in the Park on weekends though I never venture out on Saturday or Sunday.  I do my fishing during the week.  I work on weekends. 

We have so many options.  If you want to go fly fishing, this is the place.  With numerous lakes and rivers, lots of small streams, tailwaters, and all of this located in what most would not consider a densely populated area, we just don’t have crowded fishing.  There are 8 lakes within an hour or so drive from here.

Maybe my perspective is skewed by the weekday fishing thing.

Many of my close friends, including Paula and I, are planning Florida trips soon.  Two groups are going to the Big Bend area.  Paula and I are going to the Panhandle.  We all use pretty much the same fly patterns, Sand Shrimp, Copperhead, Game Changer, Puglisi patterns and Clousers.  Most of the guys are fishing with Captain Les at different times.  Paula and I are taking our kayaks.  We all hope to catch plenty of redfish and speckled trout.  I can’t wait for that.

Preparing for a fly fishing trip to the salt is a lot of fun.  Tying saltwater patterns is easy because they are large. You don’t lose many either.  The rods and reels are large too, 8’s and 9’s.  And most important to me is eating fresh seafood.  If there is not a good seafood restaurant in a specific location, I don’t go.  We only visit the isolated areas or fairly undeveloped spots along the forgotten coast.  Over the years we’ve visited spots like Cedar Key, Suwannee, Apalachicola, Alligator Point, St. Vincent, Panacea and Port St. Joe.  We stay away from the cities and people. 

Suwannee is so isolated and un-inhabited, the county doesn’t even have a school.  I know of only one restaurant and it is awesome, the best seafood restaurant I’ve ever been to.  It’s called Salt Creek Restaurant.

Panacea has Angelos Restaurant.  That’s probably my second favorite restaurant.  Cedar Key has Antonio’s.  The Raw Bar at St. Vincent is supreme. 

All I can think about this morning is softshell crabs, oysters and scallops.  And it is 8:50 am.  I better start thinking about work.

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

Byron Begley
April 5, 2014

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