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 overcast and 50 degrees in Townsend this morning.  We got 1/3” of rain yesterday and last night.  The airport reported 2.12”.  the valley is pretty much green.  The higher elevations are coming along too.  It is early Spring up there. You can see the line where dark green changes to light grey green.  Those ridges will be dark green soon.

Little River is flowing strong this morning.  I didn’t stop to take the water temperature.  I learned how to do that online.  I do need to drive by and I did not do that today.  So, I don’t know if the water is clear.  I’ll check that after this report is finished.  If you don’t see a change later, assume the water is clear. OK, I checked the river out. It is turbid in town, off color. Downstream it is probably muddy. The Park should be fairly clear.

Flow is currently 810 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 375 cfs.  The water is fairly high so be careful wading.  The water temperature this morning is 56.5 degrees.  Yesterday the high temperature in Little River was 60.5 degrees. 

I would use nymphs today in the Smokies.  As the water recedes dry fly fishing will be better and easier.  You may catch trout on dry flies now and other streams may not be flowing as high as Little River.  These storms we have been getting are small, isolated but strong. 

I’m looking at the tailwater generations schedules now.  Cherokee will have one pulse at noon.  Otherwise the generators should be off until 6:00 pm.  South Holston Dam is going to pulse at 11:00 am for an hour then do it again at 7:00 pm.  Douglas is doing about the same thing.  Norris is scheduled to generate with one unit at 7:00 am for one hour.  Well, I guess that just ended.  Then they plan to do it again at 3:00 pm for one hour.  It looks like Center Hill will not be generating until 2:00 pm.  Apalachia will pulse at 10:00 am, 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm for one hour each.  Fort Loudoun will generate between 10:00 am and 11:00 am.  Melton Hill will be off until 6:00 pm. 

Check these TVA schedules before you go.  They are subject to change and I could have made a mistake.

Fishing is good in East Tennessee.  Smallmouth bass fishing in the lowland streams may be tough today depending on the water flow.  Little River is high and I’m sure it is muddy downstream. 

I went fishing by myself on the lake yesterday.  The forecast called for thunderstorms in the afternoon with some being severe.  So, I got to the lake early and fished almost non-stop for 4 hours.  I used Wooly Buggers and Slump Busters at first.  I caught several rock bass but fishing was slow.  I pulled into a creek and cast my favorite bluegill fly, a version of the Rubber Legged Damsel.  After catching only a couple of rock bass I tried a Knucklehead which is my version of the Stealth Bomber.  As soon as that fly hit the water the action was crazy.

This is a floating fly.  A popper would have worked just as well.  Shellcrackers, bluegill and bass clobbered that fly.  I was surprised.  The water temperature was 70 to 71 degrees according to my depth finder.  The largest bass I caught went about 2 pounds.  I was not catching big fish but I caught plenty.

We have owned this boat for 2 ½ years and this was the first time I have been fishing in it alone.  Our boat is a plain utility 16 foot Lowe with a 67 inch beam.  The hull weighs 275 pounds.  It is powered by a 20 hp 4-stroke Mercury with power tilt.  Steering is by tiller.  I have two batteries in the stern with me and a 3 gallon fuel tank almost midway to the bow.

I have always wondered what she would do with just me in the boat.  Most of the weight is in the stern.  So I headed out to the middle of the lake and opened it up.  At first the bow was so high I couldn’t see anything in front of me.  When the boat got on plane it was hard to control and going a lot faster than I’m used to.  I let off the gas and decided not to do that again until I make some changes in the boat layout.

First, I’m going to move the batteries to the bow.  That costs quite a bit of money.  I looked up 6 gauge wire online.  The good stuff will cost about $150 for 50 feet.  You should use tinned wire to avoid corrosion especially in saltwater for these main lines.  Feed through connectors will cost about $100 for 4 of them.  I’ll need to get the dealer to crimp on the wire connectors.  A good crimping tool for that size wire costs $275.  I don’t need one of those.  That alone will move 80 pounds from the stern to the bow.

I’m thinking about switching back to a 6 gallon tank and moving it about 3 or 4 feet forward. I can fish all day on a gallon or so of fuel with this motor but it won’t hurt to have plenty since what I need is weight.

If I need more ballast I can buy a couple of collapsible water jugs.  I can fill them up with lake water at the ramp and place them in the bow when I am alone.  Then when I get back to shore I can simply empty the water back into the lake.

It was fun being on the lake alone.  That took me back many years.  I’ve had my own boat since I was about 9 years old.  I lived a few hundred yards from a Marina on Percy Priest Lake in Hermitage and kept a boat docked there. I was in my early 20’s then.  I fished on that lake several times a week in those days.

They say the best two days owning a boat is the day you buy it and the day you sell it.  I have had several and wish I still had them all.  I always had sellers remorse when one of them found a new home.  That won’t happen again.

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

Byron Begley
April 6, 2012

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