Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  We are observing light rain this morning in Townsned, Tennessee.  Clouds hover over Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It looks like smoke.  Townsend seems to be bustling today.  We have a lot of people in the shop and guides are outside talking to clients.  We are right in the thick of fine fishing right now all over East Tennessee.  It’s happening.  It’s that time of year.

Little River is looking a little low and it is compared to normal.  But, it’s not low by Summer standards.  Actually, most anglers who visit here like it at this level or lower.  The anglers who live here like it higher.  There is a good chance for rain today and that may bring the level back up.  Flow is currently 192 cubic feet per second (cfs) in Little River at the “Y”.  Median flow for this date is 208 cfs.  The water temperature this morning is 62 degrees in town.

Fishing is good everywhere.  In the Park you will catch trout on dry flies or nymphs.  Yellow Sally stonefly imitations are working very well.  Other dries will work too.  Late in the afternoon and just before dark, use the Yellow Sally or Light Cahill. 

The tailwaters are fishing awesome.  The stories I’ve been hearing are phenomenal.  Sulphurs are hatching on the Clinch and caddis on the Holston.  The South Holston and Watauga are both fishing extremely well. 

The lake fishing for smallmouth bass is red hot.  We have so many lakes around here that I can’t speak for all of them.  In most of the lakes, the females are off the beds and even taking poppers.  That seems strange to me.  I don’t remember catching smallmouth on poppers in May.  It could be that I never tried.  Jack and did yesterday.  We caught mostly females that were very thin and hungry.  They left the males to guard the beds and they are looking for food. 

Smallmouth fishing in the rivers is very good too.  The water temperature is right.  Everything is right.  It seems to be one of those years when fishing is excellent, everywhere  you look.

Lefty Kreh was interviewed by WBIR Channel 10 in Knoxville during Troutfest.  Lefty said someone asked him where to go fishing out West.  Lefty said he told them to go to Tennessee, and “Fly fishing is better in Tennessee than it is out West now”.  Now that I think about it, he’s right.  There is so much diversity here too.  I got an invitation from a guide in Middle Tennessee to come fish with him for Musky.  Musky on a fly.  Wow!  TWRA refers to Tennessee as the Smallmouth Bass State.  I can’t argue with that.  That’s about all I do anymore.  I guess it’s a phase for me. Here we have rainbow, brown, and brook trout, all great fish to catch on a fly.  We have bluegill, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, shellcrackers, white bass and stripers.  Again, the perfect species for fly fishing.  Don’t forget carp.  We have a long growing season and a lot of protected, clean water. And, we have year round fishing.   

This may be a bad year for bears around here.  The mast crop last fall was inadequate in many areas due to an early frost.  The National Park Service says the bears hibernated without enough body fat during the winter.  Right now they are looking for a meal.  Our neighbor reported a bear on his back porch day before yesterday.  We haven’t seen bears in our remote community in about two years.  I’m sure they come through from time to time but I’m expecting some to summer with us.  We don’t like that.  It causes problems. 

A very small bear bit a Smokies visitor on the foot a few days ago.  The young bear was destroyed according to Park Service rules and it was done humanely.  They don’t want bears roaming around biting people.  I don’t blame them.  But this little bear had been fed by humans.  “A fed bear is a dead bear”.

Right now the rain has stopped, it’s cloudy and it seems to be a perfect day to be fishing in the Smokies.

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

Byron Begley
May 21, 2010

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