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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and 57 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It is wet too.  A couple of isolated thunderstorms moved through last night.  We had 1/3 inches of water in our rain gauge.

Little River’s water level was dropping slowly.  The rain last night moved the flow up a bit.  Right now, the gauge reading is 2.90 feet or 610 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 222 cfs.  Please give us a break.

The streams are fishable and anglers are catching trout in the Park and in town.  Slick told me this morning the river was stocked yesterday through Townsend.  What we have are not the water levels you probably prefer.  You should be careful wading in some places.  Nymphs will probably work best this morning.  I would use a Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Prince Nymph or Tellico.  You will probably see some hatches later today until dark.  They will most likely be Yellow Sally Stoneflies and Light Cahills.  I would use a size #16 for both.

The water temperature is good in the lower elevations.  Right now, at 8:10 am, the temperature in town is 54 degrees.  It is going to be warm today, near 80 degrees.  That will bring the water temperatures up into the preferred range for the trout.  I think fishing will be best this afternoon, especially after the sun drops behind the mountains where you are fishing. 

We have a chance for more rain tomorrow and Saturday.  The odds are 60% right now according to the National Weather Service.  If that happens, we probably won’t see the streams drop to normal until after the weekend.

I’m going on the record as saying, I believe next week will be the best for fishing so far this year.  There is almost no chance for rain from Sunday May 12th through Saturday May 18th, and it is going to be warm starting Tuesday the 14th.  If I were planning a fishing trip to the Smokies, I would arrive Tuesday.  I would also watch the water levels based on what happens on Friday and Saturday.  If we get a lot of rain, I would wait until late next week to be here.  Unless things change significantly, fishing should be awesome next week.

Paula and I decided not to go fishing yesterday.  We hung out at the house.  I washed and waxed the boat.  I know for sure we’ll be fishing the lakes next week for smallmouth bass.

It is amazing to me, that you hardly see anyone fly fishing on our lakes.  When I do see it, the angler is almost always someone I know.  But, that is rare.  I talk to a lot of fishermen from the Southeast who fish with conventional tackle, but have a fly rod in their boat as a backup or additional piece of gear “just in case”. 

I know, we fly fishermen are limited to the depth we can fish.  I don’t use sinking fly lines very often.  Sometimes I do.  But, when the bass, bluegill or shellcrackers are near the surface, I think we fly anglers have the advantage.  When our lightweight offerings hit the water, it doesn’t cause a ruckus.  We are mimicking an insect that falls on the water or minnow that has just jumped and skipped, trying to get away from a predator.  I think that is more natural than the splash and noise made by a plug or spinner bait when the fish are in shallow water.  

I certainly can’t or would not be critical or under-rate the success of plugs or spinner baits.  I know that jigs and grubs are very effective too.  Live bait is deadly.  Most fishermen use these lures or bait because they work. 

Fly fishermen are at a disadvantage on windy days too, no denying that.

Maybe someday I will buy a spinning outfit and start using it.  Maybe I’ll buy a bait casting outfit.  I may start trolling at some point.  But for now, all I do is fly fish and I don’t have any plans to change. I like it this way.  Sometimes I get skunked too.  I don’t mind.

I know I will always use a fly rod on a stream for trout. That will never change.  

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

Byron Begley
May 9, 2013

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