Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report. It is a warm 60 degrees this morning.  The wind is blowing and dark clouds hover over the Great Smoky Mountains.  Frank and I were going fishing on a lake today.  We called it off due to wind.  We will try again on Thursday.  

The rivers and streams were fairly high yesterday.  Little River started dropping early in the morning then it rose again.  Now it is back down to a reasonable level.  The flow is 331 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 235 cfs. The river looks great, almost perfect.  The water temperature in town is 58 degrees, again, perfect. 

Traffic in Townsend is sparse which is usual for a Monday in the Spring.  The weekend visitors are gone.  The crowd of people who visited the re-opening of Cades Cove are gone too.  People reported to me that the new road is beautiful with additional pull-offs that have been added to help control traffic during bear-jams. 

Fishing was good yesterday.  I talked to customers, guides and clients.  The trout were active and mostly taking nymphs instead of dry flies.  March Browns, caddis and Yellow Sallies are hatching.  There is plenty of bug activity on top but the trout are more aggressive to eating below the surface.  If you are a dry fly fisherman exclusively, you will catch some fish.  But, if you add a dropper you will probably catch more and most of the fish will take the trailing, sinking fly.

I think the lake smallmouth bass are on the spawning beds but I can’t be sure because I can’t get on the lakes.  They are very active though.  I’ve heard of several 6 pounders caught recently, one in Little River.  The 3 pound smallies are abundant and willing.  I’m watching the lake levels carefully right now.  At night I’m planning my strategy and tying some big wooly buggers on stinger hooks.  I have some fly lines to clean and leaders to make. 

To make my favorite leader for big gamefish, I use the 60-20-20 method.  That means 60% butt section, 20% mid and 20% tippet.  I always use Orvis Fluorocarbon.  I like 39 pound for the butt when casting big streamers. 

The double surgeon’s knot works well when tying large diameter material to smaller diameter material.  Using a double surgeon’s knot I tie the mid section to the butt and the same with the tippet.  I use 25 pound for the mid and 10 to 12 pound for the tippet.  This works well in saltwater, for salmon and for big bass.  These leaders turn over a heavy fly well.  If I encounter wind I might cut down the butt section a foot or so.  Or sometimes I make a complete shorter leader using the 60-20-20 method. I always use a non-slip loop to tie on the fly.  Most of the time I make 10 foot leaders for saltwater fishing.

Now these leaders may not work well in crystal clear water.  I use them mostly in the ocean, large rivers or the lakes.  They might work in the larger Smokies streams during high water.  I don’t think I’ve tried them on these streams.  You can cut down the size of each component and probably get the same result using lighter flies.

The wind is blowing strong right now.  We’ll probably get rain today and tomorrow.  Later this week, after tomorrow looks great.  I just checked Louisville, Kentucky for Derby Day.  Right now they are saying there will be a 40% chance for scattered thunderstorms and a high of 82 degrees.  The forecast for here is exactly the same. 

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

Byron Begley
April 26, 2010


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