Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina
Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains. It is a beautiful morning. The fog is burning off and the temperature is 51 degrees. There were a few vehicles on the highway at 7:55 am, but not many. Right now, it is very peaceful here.
Little River looks good. It is flowing at 221 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.89 feet on the gauge. Median flow for this date is 230 cfs. The water temperature is 53 degrees this morning.
We’ve got warmer temperatures coming. Though the fishing is good, especially later in the day, the change in temperatures will improve the fishing all day. We’ll be seeing highs in the 80’s starting tomorrow. Lows will be in the 50’s and 60’s over the next 10 days.
Light colored dry flies are the choice of the pros right now. Light Cahills and Yellow Sally Stonefly patterns are working well. That doesn’t mean a dark fly, a Parachute Adams for instance, will not produce. The trout are hungry and they will be feeding even better as the water warms this week. Nymphs will produce well. Try a Pheasant Tail, Tellico or Green Weenie.
May is the big fly fishing month here. May is my favorite month of them all. Fish in the Smokies, in the tailwaters, in the lowland rivers and on the lakes are active. Some warmwater species are spawning. Winter is over and the fish are hungry. The temperatures are usually very comfortable right now. We got the lowest electric bill at the house I can remember yesterday. The windows and doors are open. We don’t need air conditioning or heat. I love it.
A lot of our close friends including us have been to Florida during the past two weeks. Jack, Joe and Dustin got home last night. I don’t know how well the did but I’m guessing, very well. I watched the weather in Suwannee and noticed they didn’t have much wind. Paula and I were there the week before. We had great weather for three days. The rest of the week was windy. Frank, Ron and Brad were in Suwannee when Paula and I were near there. They had wind and stained water their whole trip. Ron came by yesterday. He told me he caught his largest speckled trout on a Sand Shrimp. Paula and I caught almost all of our fish on a Sand Shrimp. And lately, I’ve been seeing mail orders go through the shop for Sand Shrimp.
All I know is, that fly works better than anything I’ve used in the Panhandle for trout and redfish. I haven’t had a day off since we got back and Wednesday is my day. All of our tackle and boat gear is piled in my fishing room at home. I’m going to clean everything up and put it away. Then, I’m going to start tying Sand Shrimp for our next trip.
Those toothy fish down there are hard on flies. Ladyfish are fun to catch but they will tear a fly to pieces. Amberjack and Spanish Mackerel are hard on those flies too.
Now, the panhandle and big bend area will get busy. The season begins. The home rental bargains are over until Fall. I wish we were down there right now. Fishing is excellent if you can avoid the wind and stained water. Three weeks ago, that part of the state was flooded. The key to success was staying away from those flooded rivers.
We are having a fairly normal Spring. Despite the fact that it snowed in the mountains just three days ago at Leconte Lodge, temperatures and water flows have been great.
Josh Pfeiffer of Frontier Anglers Guide Service is reporting some excellent smallmouth bass fishing on the tailwaters. Check out his website by CLICKING HERE.
We have customers planning trips to the north. Fishing in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan should be very good for them. It is early Spring up there, following an awful Winter.
A customer in the shop yesterday, asked about the Green Drake hatch on Abrams Creek. It happened around May 3rd. A local guy came in one day and told me about his amazing encounter with these huge mayflies. He and his wife were driving around Cades Cove and found themselves in a huge cloud of insects. They covered his car and the swarm was about a mile long. He asked me to come outside and see his car. It was covered with egg sacks, thousands of them. I scraped one off of his hood. It was tiny, hard and dark.
Trying to time that hatch is almost impossible. Some years it happens in April. This year it happened in May. I’ve heard stories about vehicles being covered with these insects, go up there the next day and find nothing. I’ve only seen it once. That was a day I’ll never forget. I could not mention it here because I was on my way to Florida the next day.
Walter, Brian and I call it “The hatch that never happens”. We’ve tried twice to be on the Beaverkill River in New York during that hatch. We failed both times. It does happen. It just doesn’t happen when you want it too. Steve Moore, the recently retired Chief of Fisheries in the Smokies and I tried to time our fishing around that hatch on Abrams Creek years ago. We failed every time.
Gary McCown and I did actually happen to be fishing Abrams Creek when those big bugs started coming off. The trout were taking the insects under the surface. He had a couple of Green Drake wet flies and offered me one. I hated to take it. He only had two. He told me I was crazy. So, I chopped off some tippet to get down to the heavy stuff and tied one on. We both had a great day of fishing. That was when there were brown trout in Abrams Creek.
So, be prepared with some Green Drake wet flies and go to Abrams Creek every day between mid April and early May. You might just time it right.
Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.
May 19, 2014
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