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

Welcome to the Fly Fishing Report.  It is partly cloudy and 66 degrees in Townsend this morning at 7:45 am.  Traffic was very light on my commute.  We are beginning the mid-week lull.  There is not a lull going on at the shop.  We are busy.  Glad of that.

It was hot yesterday and I was in a boat all day with the sun beating down.  The high temperature was 86 degrees at the airport.  It looks like this heat wave will continue for a few days.  The highs will be in the mid 80’s all week.  Lows at night will be in the low 60’s.

Fishing conditions in the Smokies are perfect.  Flow in Little River is 269 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 231 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:45 am was 61 degrees.  The high water temperature yesterday was 64.5 degrees.  These temperature and flow readings are taken below the confluence of the three prongs of Little River.  The water temperature will be cooler in the higher elevations.  By higher I mean Elkmont or Tremont.

Most reasonable fly patterns should work.  More importantly is getting a good drift and staying hidden from the trout.  I would use a Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams, small Yellow Stimulator or any Yellow Sally stonefly imitation. A Light Cahill would also be a good choice.  Nymphs might work best in the mornings.  Try a Bead Head Pheasant Tail or Hare’s Ear.  You might try a Green Weenie too  They work well in the Summer and it feels like Summer.

The lowland rivers have warmed and the smallmouth bass are on the beds in the Little Pigeon River and Little River.  They are probably doing the same thing on all the lowland rivers in East Tennessee.  The bass are biting and now they will hit topwater flies. 

The smallies are doing the same thing on the lakes.  Doug and I met here at 7:30 yesterday morning, drove to the lake and fished until 5:00 pm.  I am exhausted right now. Fishing was not great but it was good enough to keep us interested all day.  I don’t know how many smallmouth bass we caught.  It might have been 15.  Of course we lost and missed a lot of fish too.  We caught almost all of them on a Knucklehead or Stealth Bomber. 

We were sight fishing too.  We could see some bass cruising in shallow water.  We would get our flies on the water near them.  Sometimes they would bite and sometimes they would refuse our offering.  Doug lost a big one.  We both broke one off.  Most of the bass were in the pound to 2 pound range.  The excellent smallmouth fishing on the fly in the lakes is not quite there.  It won’t be long.

The anglers who were throwing hardware had a slow day.  We heard that on the ramp.  A plug or spinner bait would have spooked the fish we saw and caught.  A lightweight foam fly hitting the water didn’t spook them at all.  Sometimes fly fishing is the most productive method.  Yesterday was one of those days.

I love Doug’s new boat.  I did most of the driving and running the trolling motor yesterday.  A bow mounted trolling motor with tiller steering is the only way to go in my opinion.  Doug agrees.  Since we fish standing up, it is much easier to touch the tiller and move the direction with one hand for just a second or two.  Trying to stand on one foot and steer with a foot control is tough.  And, that foot control is one more thing to catch a fly line on.  I don’t like the remote control trolling motors either.  You have to look at something to make the change in speed or direction.  With a tiller you know where it is and you can make adjustments while watching the bank and your fly.  You just don’t lose eye contact with the important stuff.

We’ve got some great fishing ahead for the next couple of months.  This is certainly my favorite time of the year.

Oh, the shellcrackers are not spawning yet here.  Any day!

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

Byron Begley
May 1, 2012 

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