Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and 71 degrees at 8:30 am in Townsend.  The dogwoods are spectacular this morning.  I believe the blooms at this stage are about two weeks early.  Spring seems to be about 2 weeks early.  There were plenty of people milling around town when I came to work.  Who wouldn’t want to be outside on a day like this one?  The high temperature is supposed to be 84 degrees today.  I saw two fishermen on Little River in town.

The river looks perfect.  The water level is a little high with a 2.47 foot reading on the gauge.  That translates to 374 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 319 cfs.  We’re a little above normal.  The water temperature was 60 degrees at the swinging bridge just after 8:30 am.  Perfect!

Fishing couldn’t be better in the Park.  Everything is right.  Some anglers might feel the water is high for them.  I even heard that yesterday.  Most people like to fish lower water.  It is easier for sure.  Wading is easier when the water is lower.  But flow like we have now is favorable to the angler in many ways.  One is stealth.  The trout don’t see you as well in higher water.  Higher water offers you more opportunities in a given area to find likely holding spots.  When the water is low there are fewer choices.  When the water is higher there are more choices and the trout are spread out.  You can get away with heavier tippet too.  This is the way I like it.

You will find many species of aquatic insects hatching or on the water.  Big golden stoneflies are there but you won’t see huge hatches.  All it takes is one to make a good meal for a trout.  Fish a large yellow or orange Stimulator.  Some of these bugs are over 2” long.  Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, March Brown and other patterns will work for the dry.  You can drop a nymph off of one of those.  Try a Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Tellico, Prince Nymph, Copper John or Hare’s Ear as a nymph.  I think right now it doesn’t matter much what pattern you use as long as it looks like aquatic insects found in the Park in the Spring.

We do have a 90% chance for rain tonight and you may encounter some wind if you fish today.  Tonight’s storms might be severe.

This is going to be an interesting year for fly fishing anglers.  Brood XIX 13-year cicadas are expected to emerge.  According to the University of Tennessee Extension office, they last emerged in 1998 and our County was one of those that had some good hatches.  Here is a link to the UT Extension information CLICK HERE.

Hopefully we see plenty of them on the rivers, ponds and lakes here.  I’ll be ordering some cicada patterns to sell in the shop.  I may get that done today so we’ll be ready.  Personally, I’m going to switch gears at my fly tying station at home and start tying these black and orange bugs.  I’m sure I’ll have a hundred tied over the next few weeks.

The periodical cicada hatch gives the fly fisherman the advantage over people using conventional tackle.  I like that, especially since we fish on lakes where you don’t see that many fly anglers.  Fish are going to be looking up even at a time that they normally would not.  Cicada means “abundant protein” to fish and believe it or not, to humans as well.  I won’t be eating cicadas but many people do, especially in other countries. 

I’m thinking my best pattern will be a modified Stealth Bomber.  It will be made from black foam and tied on a #6 Gamakatsu stinger hook.  For a wing I’m thinking about longer strands of pearl Krystal Flash.  The wing fibers could be fanned out and joined together with a thin line of Clear Cure Goo then trimmed to shape.  Orange or brown rubber legs and orange eyes will be added.  Wow, just think of the possibilities.  Just think about the fish.

On a lake you don’t know what you will catch on a cicada.  These things offer tailwater fishermen some of the finest trout fishing they have ever had.  I remember a 17 year emergence sometime in the 70’s I think.  Trout on the Caney Fork were going nuts.  I know one guy who gathered up hundreds of the bugs and froze them.  When he went fishing he took a bag full for bait. 

Wind is your friend during the cicada emergence.  The wind blows the insects into the water where the fish are waiting for the “big meal”.  This will be a rare opportunity for us.  I’ll be ready, the shop will be ready and so should you.  Don’t go fly fishing this summer without some cicada patterns in your box.  You might be sorry if you do.

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

Byron Begley
April 11, 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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