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 48 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic was light on my way to work.  It seems like a Winter weekday, except it is fairly warm.

Little River is flowing at 645 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.81 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 377 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:05 am is 49.7 degrees.

Most streams are still high.  You should be careful wading today.  There are plenty of good spots to fish but you will have to look for them.  Anthony Creek in Cades Cove is probably fine.  Some stretches of the West, Middle and East Prongs of Little River are certainly fishable.  I’m sure there are other streams that will be fine to fish.

Most anglers don’t like fishing water that is this high.  They have less options.  The good news is, the water is dropping and there is no heavy rain in the forecast through the weekend.  It is going to be very warm this week.  And, to add icing to the cake, we are going to have some cloudy or partly cloudy days.  Fly fishing in the Smokies should be excellent this weekend.

Right now, I would probably fish nymphs and do plenty of “high sticking”.  There will be bugs on the water so you might find some good dry fly fishing, somewhere. 

Fishing will get better every day.

Paula and I fished the lake yesterday.  It was great though the fishing was slow.  We didn’t see another boat all day.  We didn’t hear loud motorcycles either.  It was a very peaceful day.

The water was cool and the smallmouth bass were in deeper water.  The water temperature was 53 degrees.  I stuck one briefly pretty far out from the bank.  They were not in shallow water.  I was stubborn and kept fishing Game Changers that cruised just below the surface.  I should have switched to a heavily weighted Wooly Bugger but didn’t.  The wind was blowing, it was pretty cold out there and good fishing didn’t pan out.  It was certainly peaceful, quiet and relaxing.

You might have some good tailwater fishing today.  TVA is pulsing or generating with one unit at most of the dams around here.  Check the TVA website for a generation schedule that suits your style of fishing.

The lowland rivers are running swift.  Wading downstream in Little River would be tricky and you might take a spill or two.  I wouldn’t do it.  I suspect the water way downstream may still be muddy.

We’ve got some great fishing days ahead.  We needed this rain to get our annual amounts closer to normal.  This was a dry year, in the first quarter.  Little River has been flowing below normal most of the year.

Many of my close friends are going to Florida next month.  Fishing in the Panhandle and Big Bend areas of the State is good in May.  Paula and I are going too.  I can’t wait. Paula and I will be fishing out of our kayaks.  Or, we can use them to get to and fro, then wade fish.

Fly fishing for redfish and speckled trout is a lot of fun and you don’t need much specialized tackle for these species.  An 8 weight is about all you need.  I love tying Florida flies.  They are large and easy.  We only use a few different patterns. 

We have a shrimp pattern that works well.  It’s called a Sand Shrimp.  Puglisi baitfish patterns depicting a pinfish work well.  Something that looks like a small mullet can be awesome. I think the Game Changer will be that pattern for us these days.  We always have Copperheads in our box.  A Crease Fly works well at times.  Really, that’s about all you need.  Clousers are always popular saltwater patterns.  I tie them with bead chain eyes so they will be lighter and easier to cast.  You may have to wait longer for those to sink.

We pretty much use 12 pound fluorocarbon leaders. 

Also, you never know what you are going to catch.  Black drum and Sheephead are always a possibility.  Sometimes we catch flounder.  Ladyfish are fun to catch but they tend to destroy your flies.

Our favorite is the redfish.  Redfish fight hard.  They are often found in shallow water where we fish. 

I’m really looking forward to visiting the sunshine state this Spring.  It is hard to leave here during May.  May is an exceptional month to be fishing in the Smokies.

If you have not bought your Troutfest banquet tickets please do so now.  The Banquet will be held on April 25th.  Joe has to let the Hilton know how many people to prepare for.  This will be a fun event and hopefully we’ll make some money to donate to the Park’s fisheries program.  Click the ad above and on the left for more information.  You can call us at 865-448-9459 or stop by the store to buy tickets.

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

Byron Begley
April 9, 2014

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