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

Welcome to the Fly Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is overcast and 57 degrees.  There is what appears to be a bright backlight behind the mountains.  The sun is covered by fog but light is shining down a few miles away.  This is a very pretty sight.  The air is clear and the mountains are in sharp focus this morning at 7:45 am. 

Little River is flowing at 162 cubic feet per second compared to median flow of 226 cfs.  The water temperature is perfect at 57.5 degrees in town.  Thankfully, rain is headed our way.  We’ll see precipitation this afternoon through Monday.  I’m hoping for a good drenching.

Fishing has been tough for some folks depending on where you fish and what you are fishing for.  Some anglers say the Park is fishing slow in the lower elevations but fine higher up in the brook trout waters.  Tailwater river fishing for smallmouth bass was reported to be slow yesterday.  I can tell you for sure, the lakes are fishing slow or were.  Monday was very good.  Wednesday and Thursday were slow.  I don’t know about the lowland rivers.  Little River was just stocked with trout a couple of days ago.  I’m sure fishermen are taking advantage of that. 

If you are fishing in the Smokies you should probably use a dry fly pattern that imitates a Yellow Sally Stonefly.  Though that would be my choice I know the trout will hit about any reasonable pattern.  More important today is stealth, presentation and drift.  But, yellow seems to be the best color right now.  Use fine tippet, 6X mono for normal dry fly fishing.  Nymphs might be a good choice too, especially early.

I think this cold front slowed the fishing.  Weather and the barometer play an important role in our success or failure.  Right now we have high pressure.  The clouds look odd.  This has been a strange week. 

Fishing is still good, maybe not what it was a week ago but you will catch trout and bass.  You might need to add persistence to your strategy.  Frank and I were reminded this week, that even though the fishing was very slow, casting continuously all day will pay off.  It did for him.  He caught a smallmouth that weighed over 4 pounds.

Dale Miller, an old friend of mine from Nashville fished with Josh this week.  I think they were drifting on the lower Little River for smallmouth bass.  They did well. 

Like I said, this has been a strange week.

Our boat trailer is making a noise that sounds like a muffled siren.  I guess it’s a bearing.  The bearings were not hot to touch when I heard the noise.  I’ll shoot some grease in the bearings and take it to my trailer guy on Monday.  Last year when he pulled the bearings for me he said I had way too much grease in them.  The seals were stressed.  So, I cut back on how often I pull out the grease gun and give them a shot.  Maybe I cut back too much. 

It is a great idea to have an expert pull your bearings every Spring or Winter.  They will clean and inspect them, add new grease then put them back on your axle.  It has been exactly a year since I’ve had that done. 

Years ago, Paula and I were fishing for tarpon in Florida.  Our guide called us one morning at about 4:30 am.  One of his bearings went out and destroyed his axle.  So, we didn’t go fishing that day.  This can happen to you because one simple maintenance step has been overlooked.  And, this can happen at the worst time.  You usually find out about the problem when you are going fishing.  And, you might get stuck somewhere. 

I should probably buy a bearing puller and do the inspection myself.  But, my guy is about a 15 minute drive from here and he charges $35.  That’s pretty cheap insurance.

Troutfest is only 1 week away.  I looked at the weather forecast.  Right now the word is, clear, sunny and warm but not too warm.  That’s what we like to see at Troutfest time.  The forecast could change.  I hope not.

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

Byron Begley
May 12, 2012

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