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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  The sky is clear and the temperature is 63 this morning in Townsend.  The Whip-poor-wills are mating.  I could hear them calling from all directions this morning.  Sometimes these night birds begin their mating season in early April.  Not this year.  I love the sound unless one starts its serenade right next to our house in the middle of the night.  It is impossible to sleep with at going on.

Little River looked perfect this morning.  Flow is currently 272 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.19 feet on the gauge.  After we got the morning shower yesterday the river rose to 2.4 feet then dropped down in the afternoon.  Median flow for this date is 214 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:50 am is 59 degrees.  The water is clear.

The rain and rising water certainly did not hurt the fishing yesterday.  Fishing for brook, rainbow and brown trout is excellent right now.  The trout are taking dry flies with vigor.  Try a small Yellow Stimulator, Yellow Neversink Caddis or any Yellow Sally Stonefly imitation and you should do very well.  Other patterns will work.  A Parachute Adams or Elk Hair Caddis would be another good choice. 

This was the first weekend since our beginner fly fishing classes started this year, that we were able to take students out on the water.  We do that on Sundays.  The streams have been too high every weekend we have a school.  Rob told me yesterday that all of his students caught trout.  I talked to Josh briefly but I don’t know how well his students did.

Fishing in the Smokies is excellent and it should stay that way for a while baring any extremely high water.

The lowland rivers should be in good shape but I don’t know for sure what that rain did to them.  As soon as the water clears, fishing will be excellent for smallmouth bass.  Some of those rivers may be clear now.  Little River is clear in town.

According to Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), they will not be generating at Norris Dam until 6 pm.  There is a good opportunity for you.  Check with TVA before you go.  Norris Lake’s water level is down to the high side of TVA’s expected elevation range for this time of year.  This is good news for fly fishermen who fish on the Clinch River.

TVA’s schedule also shows a period of only one hour when they will be generating at Cherokee Dam.  So, there is another opportunity.  Again, check before you go.  Cherokee Lake is higher than it should be right now.

Dams on the Little Tennessee River will be cranking all day and through the night.

The Park Service Fisheries Biologists and volunteers will be sampling Lynn Camp Prong next month.  They will determine, by electroshocking and capturing brook trout, the overall health and size of the fish population.  This beautiful stream, which is a tributary to the Middle Prong of the Little River was the largest brook trout restoration project in the Park.  About 9 miles of the stream should be loaded with pure Appalachian strain brook trout.  We’ll find out in June.

If I remember correctly, Lynn Camp Prong had a population of about 2,500 rainbow trout per mile in good years.  As soon as the biologists decide the brook trout population is sustainable, they will open this mid-elevation stream to fishing again.  I hope they open it this year.  We’ve been waiting a long time for this.  Opening day will be a very important event for all of us who love to fish that stream.  I will probably have to work since we will be extremely busy that day.

I was reminded yesterday by a customer, about the page I wrote years ago.  The page is called “Smokies Fishing Tips”.  I re-designed it yesterday by making it wider and adding our new menu.  The page contains a few very simple rules you need to remember to be successful fishing in the Smokies.  It was reviewed by some of the best Smoky Mountain fly fishermen I know.  It is located under the menu item “Fishing Info”.  You can read it by CLICKING HERE.

I just got a call from Steve Moore who is the Chief of Fisheries at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  He was calling me to clear up the confusion about the closure of the Road Prong parking lot, trail and bridge.  Basically, that river appears to be off limits to fishermen.  He is going to check and see if you can enter the stream from the top. 

The trail is going through a major rebuilding project.  The Park Service website indicates the trail is closed from Monday through Thursday.  What it doesn’t say is, the bridge is was damaged by high water and pounded by a tree floating down the river during a high water event.  The parking lot and trail are closed 7 days a week.  I’ve been hearing about this but had no verification.

The Park Service is trying to determine if the old bridge is in the 100-year flood plain.  If so, it will be torn down and re-built.  Steve did not know when the trail and bridge will re-open.  So, for now, we should assume that you can’t access the river from the Chimney Tops trailhead.  I’ll let you know if I hear differently.

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

Byron Begley
May 20, 2013

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