Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a beautiful morning in Townsend.  The temperature is 61 degrees and it is partly cloudy.  Traffic is light in town.  There were hardly any vehicles on the streets this morning.  I did see one person walking a dog.  That and about 10 cars was all I saw.  Little River looked really good.  The water is clear and there is plenty of it.

The gauge reading this morning is 2.96 feet.  To put that into perspective, we do not take beginners on the stream for schools if the water is over 2.4 feet.  So, if the water were 6 inches lower we would feel comfortable taking someone who has never waded into the water.  But, six inches makes a big difference in the flow rate.  A gauge reading of 3 feet equals about 680 cubic feet per second.  If the gauge level is 2.4 feet the flow is 339 cfs.  So you see, 6 inches makes a big difference in flow.

Right now the flow at 2.96 feet on the gauge is 639 cfs.  Median flow for this date is 343 cfs.  We had 1.75 to 2.6 inches of rain in the Park on Monday night.  The river rose to over 6.5 feet on the gauge or 4,500 cfs. Then it peaked and dropped to it’s current level three days later. The river is fishable now but you still need to be careful wading. 

These rivers rise and fall frequently.  Without the rise to high levels there would be no river.  Our job here is to put the conditions at hand into perspective for you.  We do this so you can make a decision on whether to travel to the Smokies to fish.  Before the internet, it was hard to get this information.  I made the drive here often from Nashville 30 years ago only to find that the water was too high or maybe too low.  There was no way to find out what the water temperature was at that time or what bugs were hatching. It was always a guess. 

I would start today with weighted nymphs.  We may get some rain, there is a 40% chance.  You might see some surface activity later so switch to a dry fly if you do.  Lots of different bugs are hatching and any normal Smokies pattern should work right now.  Dark to lighter mayfly patterns, Elk Hair Caddis or adult stoneflies should do.  I would probably pick an Elk Hair Caddis.  A small Stimulator might trigger strikes.  I would use #14 or #16 in all patterns right now.  But, a large mayfly or stonefly could work too. 

One of the guys from Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency told Daniel yesterday that they don’t expect a fish kill on the Little Pigeon below Gatlinburg.  That’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time.  The Little Pigeon is one of the finest smallmouth bass streams in our area.  Five and six pounders are caught fairly frequently. 

Rufus and I fished on the lake yesterday and it was very slow.  I caught one very small smallmouth bass and that was it for the two of us.  We saw a few fish in the creeks but nothing in the main lake.  The water temperature was 45 degrees most of the day.  We started fishing at about 7:15 am and stayed on the water until 2:30 pm.  We both fished floating and sinking lines.  It was frustrating but we had fun and I’m glad we went. 

It is going to be warm over the next few days.  We should see some excellent fishing everywhere as there are no cold nights in the forecast. 

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

Byron Begley
April 8, 2011


Ross Shaver is in charge of Parking at Troutfest. He just let me know they need volunteers for that purpose. Please contact Ross directly (CLICK HERE) and sign up. You will only need to work four hours during the weekend and you will get a free Volunteer T Shirt. Additionally, your hours will be counted as Park volunteer hours which can be leverage for cash to be used in fisheries projects. So, you are giving back to the Park. Thank you.

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Volunteer for Troutfest


Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday March 26 – Beginner Day One
Saturday April 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday April 30 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 1 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday May 7 – Beginner Day One
Saturday May 21 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 22 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday June 11 – Beginner Day One
Saturday June 25 – Beginner Day One
Sunday June 26 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday July 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday July 23 – Beginner Day One
Sunday July 24 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday September 10 – Beginner Day One
Saturday September 24 – Beginner Day One
Sunday September 25 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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