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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  Light rain fell earlier and it is chilly, 57 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It felt good out there.  Well, you a going to get your way.  I am going to get my way.  There is no rain in the forecast until Monday and the chance then is only 20%.  The high temperature today is supposed to be 69 degrees and the low tonight should be around 43.  Sweet.

You can tell that a holiday weekend is here.  All the lawns at the businesses in town are mowed and manicured.  The town looks perfect.  The weather looks perfect.  We are stocked up for now. 

I ran into Samantha at the bank yesterday.  She and her husband Mark run the KOA campground.  They do a great job.  And, they have a new playground.  I have not seen it but evidently this is one heck of a playground.  It is built of wood and specifically designed to be a huge tree house.  It was built off site somewhere and shipped in on a big semi truck.  It took 3 days to re-assemble the structure.  I can’t wait to see it.  There is something new in Townsend.

Little River is flowing above normal at 261 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.16 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 188 cfs.  Actually 2.16 feet on the gauge is low compared to what we have seen this year.  I can only see 4 times over the past 120 days when the gauge was reading a little over 2 feet.  More often than not, the gauge reading has been higher, between 2.5 feet and 8.5 feet.  The water temperature at 7:55 am is 61 degrees.

This will be an awesome weekend to fish in the Smokies.  I would choose a stream in the backcountry, at least a mile from a road.  The Park will see many visitors this weekend.  Be prepared for good dry fly fishing.  Any Yellow Sally stonefly patterns or Light Cahills will work.  Of course the Yellow Neversink Caddis is a good choice.  We were down to 6 dozen on Monday.  I think Daniel ordered another 24 dozen to get us back to a comfortable level.  Other patterns should work too.  A Parachute Adams is a good choice.  Elk Hair Caddis in tan, olive or yellow will suffice.  The old standby Yellow Stimulator in a size #16 should always be in your fly box.  Don’t forget Bead Head Pheasant Tail nymphs. 

The lowland rivers have probably cleared by now or they will be soon.  Little River, Little Pigeon River and Abrams Creek are all great smallmouth bass streams.

Tim Holschlag sent me his new smallmouth bass DVD.  I got it in the mail yesterday.  I watched they whole show last night.  I need to watch it again because I know I missed a ton of information.  One thing that really struck me is the way he ties a non-slip loop knot.  I tie mine with an extra step that creates two loops to run your tag end back through.  His didn’t use those steps unless I missed it.  I’m not good at tying knots and this one drives me crazy.  It is also the only knot I use for smallmouth bass fishing.  If I am right about what I saw, my frustration level has now been lowered.

Ken Voorhis is leaving the Great Smoky Mountains Institute after 29 years as the executive director.  You should read this article on the KnoxNews website by CLICKING HERE.  I have known Ken for 20 years.  He and his wife have done a remarkable job at the Institute, teaching children about nature.  The center was closed down and abandoned when they took over almost 3 decades ago.  Ken is going to do the same thing at Yellowstone National Park, or something similar.  The Voorhis home is on the Middle Prong of the Little River.  Their 3 children grew up there.  I ran into Ken there when I was fishing a couple of years ago.  He was hiking.  I said “Ken, you are getting older”.  He looked at me and said “You are too”.  I will miss Ken.  He is a great guy.  I’m not kidding, read this article.

I am studying maps of the lower Little Tennesse River.  High water and low water fluctuations this year have made fishing tough upstream.  I’m getting skunked more often than normal.  Water temperature fluctuations have compounded the problem.  Further downstream where the Little T joins the Tellico River is where we are going to start fishing.  I contacted the Harbor Master at Tellico Marina to get an annual pass to launch our boat and park the trailer there.  I told him I would pick up the sticker for the boat trailer next week or the week after.  It is fun to learn new fly fishing waters.  This is going to be interesting. We will probably resume fishing upstream during the Summer.

The tailwaters are fishing very well, especially the Clinch River.  I am hearing all kinds of stories.  Sulphurs are on the water.  Trout are taking them.  The fish are eating the adults and the emergers.  This is making a lot of anglers, especially fly fishermen happy.  The Holston is fishing well too. 

Josh has been taking clients on float trips on the tailwaters for smallmouth bass.  He told me yesterday that fishing has been very good.

So, fishing is very good.  Get out there and enjoy yourself.

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

Byron Begley
May 24, 2013

Smoky Mountain Fly Patterns for May


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