Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It’s sunny and cool right now in Townsend, Tennessee.  It will be hot later, maybe in the mid 80’s.  Little River looked peaceful this morning.  I walked down to the water at the swinging bridge.  I noticed more exposed rocks as the water level is dropping.  A fellow from North Carolina was out on the big rock fishing with corn.  We talked for a few minutes.  He had not caught anything.  For some reason, when I walked down there he started gathering up his corn and quit fishing.  Maybe he didn’t have a license and felt uncomfortable with me around.  That happens sometimes.

Townsend is very quiet.  I noticed the IGA had almost no cars parked in the lot.  But it was far from quiet this weekend.  Tourists were everywhere.  It was hot too, so maybe a lot of people from not too far away came here for relief.  We were busy as heck.  So were other businesses in town.  Usually, we have a slow week in town before a holiday.  Not this time.

Fishing is excellent depending on who you talk to and where they fished.  Also, the water levels are low or high depending on who you talk to.  I talked to a lot of fishermen over the past three days.  The stories varied.

Some people did not do well.  Personally, I think they were experiencing slower fishing during the day for two reasons.  One, there were a lot of people in the Park.  Some anglers were fishing in water that had been fished by other anglers earlier.  We call that, “fishing behind someone”.  And second, the sun was bright so fishing during the middle of the day was tough.  Right now, fishing is better early and late.  When the sun is on the water it can have an effect on the fishing.  Those who fished the higher elevations streams for brook trout did well.  Those who hiked into the backcountry did well.  Many who fished near the roads did not. 

I overheard one fellow yesterday describe a huge spinnerfall in Little River just outside the Park.  Trout, probably all stocked fish were rising after sunset to these mayflies.  The guy said they were huge flies.  He didn’t know what they were.  They were large mayflies, according to his description. 

The water flow in Little River is 156 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 190 cfs. I had people tell me this weekend they thought the water was high.  I can only assume that many fishermen are used to seeing really low water like we had during the drought of 2007 and 2008.  Or, they are basing their opinion compared to summer flow.  I don’t know. To me, the water is low.  Not extremely low, just somewhat low.   

I would use Yellow Sally Stonefly or Light Cahill dry flies right now.  I might also dangle a Green Weenie in front of the trout, probably off the dry. 

Last night I started looking at homes to rent by the week on Norris Lake.  That’s a big job.  It’s a large lake and there are a lot of homes for rent.  I’m looking for a place Paula and I can get away to, with a private covered boat dock and easy access to the lake.  We also need a high speed internet connection.  On windy days when we can’t fish, I can work.  I found some that were perfect.  Some of these houses are huge.  And, they are not very expensive to rent if you don’t want to be there in June through August.  I wouldn’t want to be there in those months anyway.  Too many people.  A covered dock is essential.  If it starts raining hard during the night, I don’t want to worry about our boat sinking.  My plan is to find a couple of rental companies, drive up there and take the tour then pick the house and use it fairly often.

I noticed that almost every property is booked solid during the three month “peak” period.  That is an indication to me that tourism in our area is good.  I hope that is not because of the oil spill in the Gulf.  I’m sickened by that whole thing and I don’t want our tourism business to benefit because of the loss of business down there.  I want to see the East Tennessee tourism do well because the economy is better or we’re doing a better job at marketing ourselves. 

To make it in the tourism business today means our visitor bureaus need to be sharp, savvy and willing to change if needed.  The tourism business is changing and I can’t figure it out.  I’m glad I am not in charge of marketing tourism for our County.  Herb Handly and his board do that.  I’m certainly glad I’m not responsible for Sevier County’s tourism marketing.  Over there, a lot of people are counting on tourism revenue.  That puts a ton of pressure on someone.  Better them than me.  I hope they get paid well.   

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

Byron Begley
May 24, 2010

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