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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is partly cloudy but the sun is shining right now.  The temperature is a chilly 48 degrees in Townsend at 7:50 am.  There was a lot of activity around town on my way here. 

Little River is flowing at 3.4 feet on the gauge or 944 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 237 cfs.  The water temperature is 51 degrees.  The water is clear.

I have been getting a lot of e-mails from people who plan to fish here this week.  They want to know what about the water levels.  Will they be wadeable?  Will the streams be fishable? 

That is a tough line of questioning for me.  I can look at the water flow charts just like anyone can and make some kind of determination if we don’t get more rain.  Here is how I’m trying to put this into perspective.

On April 29th, Little River was flowing at 4.2 feet.  On May 4th the river was flowing at 2.4 feet.  On that day, 2.4 feet was close to normal based on over 40 years of data.  So, it took 4 to 5 days for the flow to be normal again.

Yesterday, the gauge reading was about 4.0 feet.  So, we can assume, barring any more rain that Little River will be at about 2.4 feet sometime Friday or Saturday.  During these days, the river will be dropping and each day the water will be incrementally closer to normal each day if it does not rain.  One unknown is the water table or aquifer.  The ground is saturated and leaching water slowly.

If you arrive today, the water levels will be high but lower by the end of the day.  Tomorrow morning, the levels will be even lower.  There is a chance for rain though the odds are not great.  The chance for rain is about 30% today through tomorrow, then it drops to 20% on Thursday, 40% Friday and 50% Saturday.  Who knows what’s going to happen.  If thunderstorms are scattered, they may affect one river but not another.  Sometimes we see one prong of the Little River blown out and the other two normal.

I suggest, if you are going to be here this week, fish the smaller streams at first.  There are plenty of those.  We can show you some on a map. By the weekend, if it does not rain, I’m guessing Little River will be flowing near normal. 

One favorable condition you will see by the weekend is warmer water.  That will be good.  Right now the water is on the cool side.  Warmer water will benefit you with more active trout and aquatic insects.  We are suggesting you use a Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Tellico, Copper John or Prince if you are nymph fishing.  For dry flies we are suggesting Light Cahill, Yellow Neversink Caddis, Yellow Stimulator, Parachute Adams or other Yellow Sally Stonefly Patterns.  Fishing will be best in the evenings.  By the weekend there should be some great evening hatches and there may be some before then.

Most of the TVA dams in our area are generating.  I did notice earlier that Norris Dam is only predicting one generator in operation today.  That’s fine for people fishing from boats.  And, TVA may change their mind so check with them before you go.  There are links to the dam specific websites to the left on this page.

I don’t know about the lakes.  Paula and I will be fishing on one of them tomorrow unless we have thunderstorms and wind.  There is a chance for thunderstorms tomorrow.  I hate being on a lake in a boat during a thunderstorm.

I’ve been talking to a lot of fishermen who fish the Caney Fork River below Center Hill Dam.  When I lived in Nashville I fished there a lot during the 70’s and 80’s.  Fishing opportunities there have been limited this Spring because of excessive generation according to the folks I’ve talked to.  I hate to hear that.  The Caney Fork is a great trout fishery.  I love that river.  I hope anglers can get on that river soon.

Fishing opportunities have been limited everywhere in our part of the Country this Spring.  It has been cold and wet.  Fishermen have been hampered by abnormality.  The fishing business has suffered too.  I’m hearing that from our industry folks.  They count on the Southeast United States to get the year off to a good start.  We are the first to start fishing.  We make up about 23% of the fly fishing tackle business nationwide.

I’m hoping for normality soon.  I know you are too.  We’ve got a lot of fishing to do to make up for lost ground. 

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

Byron Begley
May 7, 2013  

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