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 cloudy and 46 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The green hue is moving slowly up the mountains.  The smaller hills are pure green.  The freeze didn’t seem to affect the flowering trees.  The dogwoods and redbuds are beautiful. 

We have some special redbuds near the road in front of the store.  We bought them from friends who own a nursery.  They do some special grafting and develop new sub-species of trees.  Ours are very red, darker than any you will see.  People stop and take pictures of the trees every year about this time.  Yesterday, I was looking out the window downstairs, and saw two cars stop to take pictures in about 5 minutes.   

Little River is fairly chilly this morning, 50.2 degrees.  Flow is 311 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.14 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 266 cfs.

It may rain today at times.  This should be a good fishing day due mostly to the cloud cover.  Temperatures will rise through the weekend, enhancing the fishing conditions.  Saturday and Sunday should be very good.  There is a small chance for rain on Saturday and Sunday so we should see some clouds, which will help us fishermen.  High temperatures both days will be around 75 degrees.

Next week looks great though there is a chance for rain on Tuesday.  It will be warm both day and night.  I think Frank will be here unless the weather forecast changes.  We plan to fish Tuesday and Wednesday.

If you fish in the Park you may find dry flies working well at times and nymphs working better at other times.  I would choose dark flies, such as Parachute Adams, Gray Neversink Caddis, Dark Elk Hair Caddis and other darker mayfly patterns.  A tan or yellow Neversink Caddis might work well too.  Nymph selection could be about anything reasonable.  I would try a Pheasant Tail, Tellico Nymph, Prince, Green Weenie or Pink Weenie. 

Some Yellow Sally Stoneflies have been spotted already.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Light Cahills soon if not now.  There is plenty of aquatic insect activity going on currently, especially when the water is warmer like it will be over the next few days.

I don’t know what’s going on downstream with the smallmouth bass.  I think we were active before the cold front arrived this week.  Hopefully, this weekend will give the smallmouth fishermen some action on the lowland rivers and lakes.

Remember the Game Changer.  That’s the fly I have been tying and talking about until recently.  This fly is an articulated baitfish pattern tied using 4 spines and the hook.  What you end up with is a 5 piece minnow that wiggles like the real thing.  Umpqua Feather Merchants is tying them to be sold in shops like our.  We ordered some last September.

Well, they are not here yet.  We were supposed to get them in January.  The material supplier got behind due to the overwhelming popularity of this fly.  His name is Pat and he owns Cascade Crest Tools.  The material Umpqua and many of us use is called CCT Body Fur.  It looks great in the water and ties easily.  The popular color is white and we are coloring them with markers to look like about any fish including rainbow trout, largemouth bass, shad, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, mullet and pinfish. 

I asked Pat to do a run for us without the flash in the material.  He asked why.  I told him we have very clear water here and we think the flash spooks the fish.  He said he would do a run of 200 yards for me.  I also ordered 60 packages of the Body Fur with the flash.  That was in December.  Then he got bombarded with orders. 

Pat told me he was trying to find another textile machine to make more CCT Body fur.  Time went on.  I guess he found the machine.

Yesterday I got an invoice for 120 packages of CCT Body Fur.  Fifty packages are part of the special run without the flash.  I ordered 100 packages but I’m happy with 50 for now.  We will probably get the material today.

Man, I’m excited.  I’m ready to tie some Game Changers without the flash for the clear waters I fish.  And, I’m happy we will be stocked with CCT fur for you in both varieties. 

The Game Changer uses spines made by Flymen and sold to us by Hareline Dubbin.  The folks at Hareline told me, “The spines are their best selling item, ever”.  They are also one of our best selling items.

Frank has been tying mullet and pinfish patterns using the material.  He found Prismatic markers at Hobby Lobby in colors I have not seen, Cream and Light Cerulean Blue.  He ties the pinfish using two small spines and a hook.  We will all be using these patterns in Florida this year.  Pinfish live in underwater grass beds.  Redfish and Speckled Trout love Pinfish.

Paula and I were diving for scallops in Florida Gulf grass beds years ago.  It was then I realized, how many pinfish live in that environment.  They were all over the place.  Saltwater fishermen using live bait catch pinfish in traps.  I was fly fishing with a guide in Florida once and he stopped to check his pinfish traps.  He had bait in every one.  Some of his clients fish with bait.  Put a trap in a grass bed in the Panhandle or Big Bend area of Florida and you will have all the live bait you need.

Some of my best days on the water, fishing for Tarpon, I used a Puglisi Pinfish fly.  They work.

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

Byron Begley
April 18, 2014

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