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 44 degrees in Townsend this morning.  There was a lot of activity in town when I drove through earlier.  The Spring Festival will begin today.  That doesn’t necessarily mean the streams will be packed with anglers.  There will be traffic on the roads in town though.  Most people who attend the festival don’t fish.  They are here for other reasons.

Little River is in excellent shape today.  Flow is 221 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.89 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 264 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 am is 55 degrees.

Fishing is good.  Conditions are great.  Dry fly fishing is super in the Smokies.  We love this time of year, don’t we?  We do.

The weather over the next week is going to be nice.  This weekend will be exceptional.  We’ll have highs in the 70’s to 80’s and lows in the 40’s to 50’s.  Evenings are awesome right now. 

Evening fishing is very good too.  After the sun drops over the ridge, trout become less careful.  They venture out.  Their food is abundant.  These rivers come alive a couple of hours before dark.  That is my favorite time to be on a stream.  There is so much going on.

Fly choices are not as important right now.  Use one that mimics a mayfly, caddis or stonefly.  I would pick a Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis or Neversink Caddis.  You might even choose a Yellow Sally Stonefly pattern including a Yellow Stimulator or Yellow Neversink Caddis.  Some of those are flying around during the day and evenings.  Nymphs will work too so if you prefer sub-surface fishing, you might do better than those who stick with dry flies.  Or, use both in tandem.

You just can’t imagine what the forest looks like now.  Wildflowers are blooming everywhere you look.  We have a lot of drooping or nodding trilliums blooming in front of our house.  I’m not sure which.  I’m not a person who remembers wildflower names.  They have been coming up there in the Spring for at least 22 years.  I’m surprised they survived the construction of our home. The group has grown.  There are more plants than there were back then.  When they bloom, fishing is good.

We had a great Townsend/Walland Business Alliance meeting last night at the Cades Cove Cellars Winery.  We had a brief meeting then took a tour, hosted by the owners.  They have some fermenting vats that hold 1,500 gallons of wine.  There are some smaller ones too. 

It’s cold in there.  The winery has two identical air conditioning units.  Those units take turns keeping that huge area cool.  Evidently, if you alternate from one cooling system to the other and give each one a rest period, they last four times longer.

My favorite piece of equipment is the fill, bottle, cork and label machine.  Jerry Reed, one of the owners discussed the machine with me personally.  He knows I’m interested in that thing.  A line of bottles enter the closed but viewable area, they each get a shot of nitrogen then they are filled with wine.  After another shot of nitrogen, the cap is applied and tightened.  Then, the capped bottles move to the labeling area.  A label is automatically applied to the front and back.

Jerry told me and I agree, it seems to move slow.  But, in fact, it runs at a speed of 40 cases of wine per hour.  One person grabs those bottles and puts them in a case.  He was working hard to keep up. 

Many wineries are using twist off caps.  Good cork is in short supply.  Jerry said the synthetic corks change the taste of the wine.  So, twist-offs are going to become more popular.  They already have.

So, when you visit Townsend, stop by the Cades Cove Cellars Winery.  You can taste the wines before you buy.  They have a great Cabernet and Chardonnay.  They sell sweet wines but I’m not crazy about them so I didn’t give that a try.

We’ve got some great fishing going on now and I’m glad.  I know you are too.

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

Byron Begley
May 2, 2014

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