Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fly Fishing Report from Townsend Tennessee.  I am off today and it is very early in the morning, 6 am.  I get one day off each week, usually on Thursday.  I have to be at the store on weekends so I'm hardly ever off on Saturday or Sunday.  Daniel is off on Thursdays too, most of the time.  So, I write this fishing report before starting my day-off adventure.

Little River is flowing at a rate of 365 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 256 cfs.  The water level is dropping fast.  The water temperature is 55.7 degrees.  The high temperature yesterday was 57 degrees.

Fishing in the Smokies was really good yesterday depending on where anglers fished.  Evidently, fishing on the East Prong of Little River was slow around Metcalf Bobboms from what I heard.  The West Prong and Middle Prongs were turbid earlier from the rain.  Josh took his clients to the Middle Prong.  Though the water was off color, they fished with nymphs and did very well.  Daniel from Ohio fished the East Prong early with little success.  He moved to the West Prong after it cleared some and caught a lot of fish.  He had a great day.

Fishing is also good in the lowland rivers and lakes.  Smallmouth bass are taking poppers, Stealth Bombers and block heads.  The trout sections of the tailwaters are producing well too.  Fishing is just very good right now.  It’s that time of year.

I am going fishing alone this morning for the day.  I want to be alone.  It will be sunny with a 5 mile per hour wind from the North.  I’ll probably launch the boat in the Little Tennessee River fork of Tellico Lake below Chilhowee Dam. Nobody will be there.  I think the smallmouth bass will be active and I have a larger rod lined up for stripers.  Maybe the shellcrackers will be spawning.  Maybe the carp will be sipping insects in the trash line if they are generating at the dam.  I might catch trout below the Dam. Who knows and who cares.  I don’t!  I have caught everything you can think of down there on a fly rod. I can be there in 35 minutes.

Navigating there is spooky.  Underwater standing trees, stumps and huge rocks are obstacles to watch for.  But I’ll be wearing a self inflating life vest all day.  I don't do that all the time, just when I'm alone or under way. I always have the engine's kill switch attached to me when the motor is running fast. The life jackets we have inflate when submerged under 4” of water.  Getting them wet does not cause them to blow up.  You really have to be in trouble for them to inflate. 

I hardly see anyone there.  I guess people are afraid of sinking their boat.  This area was once referred to as the “Little T” before Tellico Dam was built.  It was one of the finest trout streams east of the Mississippi River.  Now, the water in the channel below Chilhowee dam is 8 feet deep at normal lake pool.  Today, the depth will be 7 feet.  Sometimes you can see the bottom.  I can see the boulders on my depth finder too in the old river bed.

The water is usually very cold.  It is a tailwater. A railroad trestle spanned the river at one time.  All that is left are the concrete pillars.  Sometimes the water is swift and fishing near those pillars is difficult.  I know fish are hanging around those current breaks.  But at times it is really hard to control your boat.    

I grew up near a river, the Kentucky River.  Before I was old enough to drive a car, I had a boat parked at the Boonesborough State Park boat dock.  My mother would drive me to the dock early in the morning then pick me up that night.  I spent many wonderful days alone on that river in my little 13’ Boston Whaler.  Today’s journey will bring back those memories some 47 years ago.     

I’ve got a new gas tank in the boat today with a 12 foot hose.  The boat and truck are parked in front of our house.  I hooked up a garden hose and ran the engine to be sure this new fuel system worked last night.  She ran great.  The tank is now located near the bow to provide ballast when I’m fishing alone.  I can move it back a few feet if I’m fishing with a partner.  Our boat acts crazy when I’m going full speed while driving the boat alone.  I also have some new collapsible water containers that I will pump lake water into for weight in the bow.  Our boat works fine with two people.  Now I think it will be fine with just me.

The boat bag has plenty of new colors of Knuckleheads tied up and ready to go.  We’ll see how they work today.  I grabbed some new colors of foam, rubber legs, pearl chenille and Krystal Flash at the shop yesterday.  I’m planning to make a Fire Tiger Knucklehead.  Fire Tiger is generic for many bright colors. They may include white, red, black, yellow, orange or chartreuse.  I’ve seen lots of flies and poppers called the color “Fire Tiger”.  None of them look exactly alike.  Their only similarity is that they are very colorful.

Well, I’m off.  Cell phones don’t work where I’m going and I’m sure nobody would be listening to the marine radio should I try to contact someone.  It will just be me, the boat and 4 fly rods.

Troutfest banquet ticket sales are very slow compared to the last three years.  David Ezell and I worked on the Troutfest website most of the day yesterday.  Additionally, we made some changes in the online ticket sales pages.  If you click on a “buy tickets” button you will be directed to our website.  We use ours because the server is encrypted.  This protects your credit card information. 

You will be directed to our site and you can purchase there.  The orders will be processed by Bill and Sheila.  They have a credit card machine at home for that purpose.  Your proceeds will be deposited in the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited’s account.  They will mail your tickets to you.  To purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.

You will have some choices.  First you can buy the banquet tickets for the Saturday night dinner and auction.  They are $50 each.  You can also buy tickets for the cookout and Jason Borger event Saturday evening.  They are $10 each.  After that event, “A River Runs Through It” will be shown.  This year is the 20th anniversary of the movie.  Attendance to the movie is free.  If you buy both at the same time you will get a coupon for a free 2012 Troutfest Journal.  You can cash that in at Troutfest.  Tickets for both may also be purchased at Little River Outfitters.  

So please make us all feel better.  Start buying those tickets, please.

I included this plea to buy tickets in yesterday's Fishing Report. Daniel said the ticket orders started coming in a few minutes later. Everyone who works on the Troutfest project thank you very much. And I can assure you, the folks at Great Smoky Mountains National Park thank you as well.

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

Byron Begley
April 19, 2012


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