Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  The sun is poking through the clouds and it’s cool in Townsend this morning.  Last night a small thunderstorm blew through.  I heard one lightning pop and a little rain.  At 6:00 am a whip-poor-will started yelling right outside our window.  Of course, Dubbing, our cat woke up and then he started screaming.  When I pulled out of the drive I saw a big turkey, it had to be a gobbler, standing tall in our neighbor’s field.  My turkey blind is still standing in our field.  Troutfest has kept me out of the blind lately.

Little River looks great.  There was a guy standing on the big rock below the swinging bridge this morning.  He’s a local fellow.  We discussed water temperature since that is why I was there.  Then we talked about fishing.  He said, “Dude, you know what I have not been catching this year?”  I answered, “Redeye Bass”.  He said I was right.  I’ve heard that from a lot of people lately.  What’s happened to the Redeyes?  Is it a down cycle, too much food, water temperature, over-fishing?  I don’t know.  What I do know is while I was talking to the guy some big light colored mayflies were all over the place.  Trout were not rising though.

Little River is flowing at 261 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 237 cfs.  The water temperature is 54 degrees.  It is going to warm up tomorrow.  We’ll see high temperatures in the low 80’s for the rest of the week. 

Fishing must be really good.  I have not been working downstairs this week so I have not talked to any anglers.  The water temperature is cool in the mornings so fishing could be slow early.  But the bugs are hatching, lots of different mayflies, caddis and stoneflies.  The rivers and streams are a smorgasbord for the trout right now.  I would be fishing light colored mayflies and little yellow stoneflies as a dry fly.  If that didn’t work I would try nymphs.  Fishing just before dark should be excellent.

I talked to our boat yesterday morning.  I said, “When Troutfest is over, you and I are going to be on the water a lot”.  And I’ll tell you what.  I mean it.  Jack Gregory and I are going to fish the area on Tellico Lake called Citico Creek.

That may not seem to be a big deal unless you have seen this area.  Jack used to fish the Little Tennessee River in that area before Tellico Lake was backed up.  He probably knows every square foot of it.  Tellico Dam backs up the Little T, which at one time was the best trout stream in the East United States they tell me.  When Tennessee Valley Authority decided to build the dam they met strong opposition from local fishermen, farm owners who would be displaced and even Trout Unlimited.  Dr. David Etnier found a small fish called a Snail Darter that was rare.  The construction and planning was stopped over this little fish.  Unfortunately, politics won over.  President Jimmy Carter authorized the project.  They say he didn’t want to but the dam authorization bill was attached to another bill he wanted to pass.

The area where Citico Creek used to flow freely on Tellico Lake is covered with standing trees.  I guess they were not removed because TVA was in a hurry to get the dam finished.  There are islands and big rocks out there.  A concrete train trestle remains.  The track and supports are gone.  The concrete pillars are still there. It looks like a boater’s nightmare.  I’ve studied maps, looked on Google Earth, talked to people who have been there and I just haven’t had the nerve to drive a boat up that old creek channel. People tell me it can be un-nerving and you have to be careful.  They say when the wind blows, tops of trees and branches fall to the water or on your head and boat.  

I’ll do it with Jack.  Jack is one of those guys who gives me confidence.  As long as Jack is around, I know everything is going to be OK. After Jack and I go, Paula and I will fish there too.  I have stood on the launching ramp many times and stared at Citico Creek.  I have never seen a boat over there.  Maybe they all end up on the lake bottom.  Maybe people know something I don’t know.  Maybe the fishing is terrible.  I’ll check the wind forecast before we go.

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

Byron Begley
May 11, 2010 

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