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 sunny and 49 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The dogwoods are in full bloom and the redbuds are fading.  It is beautiful around here. 

The whippoorwills are in heightened mating mode.  We are hearing them all around our house at night.  This morning, one was calling right outside our home.  I never realized how loud they are until I heard them that close.  Before I move here, I only heard them on fishing and camping trips.  I guess they are either not a city bird or they have increased in numbers over the past 25 years.  Maybe I didn’t know what I was hearing when I lived in a city.  Maybe they were there. 

Little River is in perfect shape.  Flow is 230 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.92 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 233 cfs.  The water temperature is 52 degrees at 8:00 am.

I’m guessing that fishing is good in the Smokies.  I’ve been off two days.  The flow is right and the water temperature is perfect, especially later in the day.  Yesterday, Little River’s temperature peaked at over 58 degrees.  That is ideal.

If I went today, I would start with a Parachute Adams, probably a #14 or #16.  An Elk Hair Caddis or Neversink Caddis would be another choice.  Nymphs may work best in the mornings.  Fishing will be best the last hours of the day when the sun is off the water.

We have some rain moving in tonight and it will continue through tomorrow.  That may be very good for fishing due to the cloud cover.  The chance is 60%, which usually means we won’t have any gulley washers.  The weather forecast for the weekend is nice, lows in the 50’s and highs around 80.

My buddy Frank was in town.  We fished the lakes hard and didn’t do very well.  Tuesday, it rained all day except for a brief-10 minute window in the afternoon.  We caught a couple of bass early but not much was happening.  We were using Knuckleheads and Game Changer flies.  We decided to move into a creek and catch some bluegill.  Using Dragons, we did well.  We pulled the boat out at 5:00 pm and the rain stopped. 

Yesterday was supposed to be perfect.  We launched the boat at 8 am at Harrison Branch on Tellico Lake.  Upstream at the dam they were supposed to start generating at 8 am.  We drove the boat up to within a mile of the dam to catch the drift back down. When that happens, the fish go crazy sometimes.  Stripers, smallmouth bass and carp get active.

Two things happened.  The wind was blowing hard upstream.  And, they never generated at the dam.  So there we were, upstream, and the wind was blowing us further up.  We fought that wind with the trolling motor and the gas motor all day.  We got skunked.  Frank lost one smallmouth at the boat.

John just called.  He fished one of the lakes yesterday and had the same wind problems and no smallmouth bass landed.  He said he might fish lower Tellico Lake today.  The water temperature where we were yesterday was 53 degrees.  It will be warmer down the lake.

This is a tough sport, fishing gin clear water with flies for smallies.  Sometimes we do great.  Other times we get skunked.  Cloudy days are always best.

Spending two days in the boat with Frank is always fun.  My arm is sore from casting a 9 weight fly rod for two days.  I tried casting the Game Changers with an 8 weight this week and always went back to the 9 weight.  We were using short leaders too, about 6 feet long.  Those flies are heavy when they are wet. The 9 weight turns them over and casts them well.

We did catch some really tiny smallmouth bass when we were fishing for bluegill.  That is a good indicator of the spawn success.  They were born last year. 

We are holding an Intermediate Casting Class Saturday, taught by Rob Fightmaster.  This class can really help you improve your cast.  The cost is $100 and well worth it.  Call the store to reserve your space.

Well, we’ve got another nice weekend coming up.  Remember last year.  The water was always too high on weekends.  This year has been great for fly fishermen in the Smokies.

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

Byron Begley
April 24, 2014 

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