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

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Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and 65 degrees in Townsend this morning.  We got some rain last night.  Our gauge had .40 inches in it when I got to work.  The Airport reported .86 inches.

Right now, Little River looks great.  Flow is at 344 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.37 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 230 cfs.  The water temperature is 60 degrees at 8:05 am.  The water was clear when I drove by earlier.

The river is rising.  We have a 50% chance for thunderstorms today.  I don’t know what will happen.  We didn’t get much rain at the shop but there could have been more in the mountains.  In fact, it is raining again.

Fishing in the Smokies has been excellent.  Yesterday was the first time I have said that on this report all year.  That will continue as long as the rivers don’t get too high. 

If you go fishing there is a chance you will encounter high water in some locations.  Keep an eye on the water and don’t get caught on the wrong side of the river.  If the streams are not blown out, fishing will be excellent again today.  It is going to be cloudy at times. This could be the perfect day.

If the water is flowing low and clear, dry flies should work most of the day.  Right now, we are recommending #16 Yellow Stimulators, #14 or #16 Light Cahills, #16 Neversink Caddis or a #14 or #16 Parachute Adams if you intend to use dry flies.  My choice would be the Yellow Neversink Caddis.  If you see color in the water, switch to a nymph.  A Bead Head Pheasant Tail would be ideal.

I’ve been working on a section on this website devoted to fly fishing for smallmouth bass.  You can see the beginning of this by CLICKING HERE.  The finished page will actually be several pages with different topics on behavior, reproduction, tackle, flies and about anything you would care to read about this sport.  Fly fishing for smallmouth bass is getting popular all over the United States where this species can be found.  Rod manufacturers are building fly rods specifically intended for bass.  Rio even makes a smallmouth bass fly line.  We sell quite a few of those lines and I have one.  I love it.

I started looking for old articles I have published on this website describing how to tie smallmouth bass flies.  I came across an old one I wrote in 2009.  Back then, our photography was not at the level it is now.  Our website design is different.  But, I put this page under the Fishing Info menu item on the Fly Tying Articles sub menu.  My plan is to photograph this article again and modify the page structure to match our current design.

The fly is a Puglisi Threadfin Shad.  It is one of my favorite flies for smallmouth bass.  It also works extremely well for trout in tailwaters that have populations of these forage fish.  My first attempt to tie this fly and test it took me to the Cumberland River in Kentucky.  I was fly fishing with a guide for big brown trout.  At some point I tied this fly on to give it a try.  The browns were all over it.  After a great day of fishing my guide asked me for one to use as a model so he could tie his own.  I gave him the two I had left and tried to describe how I tied it.

Puglisi Threadfin Shad

Threadfin shad live in most of our lakes and tailwaters in Tennessee.  They are abundant in the lakes and some rivers to our south.  Their range goes about as far north as the Cumberland River and Lake Cumberland in Kentucky.  In many places, this baitfish is the most important forage for our sportfish.  Here they do not usually grow to their full potential because of our cold winters.  By staying small, they don’t outgrow their predator’s size.  I would not go fishing in Tennessee or anywhere else these fish are present without this fly. The Threadfin Shad is the perfect food.  You can see how this fly is tied by CLICKING HERE.

Well, the rain stopped and the sun is trying to shine through the clouds.  I think I would go fishing if I could. 

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

Byron Begley
May 19, 2013

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