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

Welcome to the Fly Fishing Report.  It is sunny and 72 degrees this morning in Townsend.  I couldn’t believe it.  There was hardly any traffic this morning.  I bet I didn’t see more than 10 vehicles on my way here.  That was a sharp contract to yesterday afternoon.  The roads were packed.  And, as usual, ambulances were screaming by fairly often.  The Lifestar medical helicopter circled the shop at least three times.  People flock into the Smokies and get hurt.  One accident involved a car that ran off the road and into the river.  Keep in mind, the speed limit in the Park is 45 miles per hour or less.  How does that happen?

Fishing is very good.  The conditions are very good.  But, the water is getting fairly low.  Today, the flow on Little River is 167 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 212 cfs.  The water temperature this morning at 7:55 am is 64 degrees and it rose to a high yesterday of 67.7 degrees.

Fish early and late.  You won’t see as many people then.  The fishing will probably be better too.  Yellow Sally patterns are working well.  Anything yellow is key.  It could be a Yellow Sally imitation, a yellow Neversink Caddis, Yellow Elk Hair Caddis, Yellow Stimulator or Yellow Parachute Adams.  Green Weenies are working too.  That does not mean your favorite pattern won’t work.  These fish are hungry.  If it floats like food, drifts through the current like food, looks like food, they will take it.  But, if they see you the game is over.  Wear subdued clothing and stay low. 

Staying low is the hard part for me.  I don’t like staying low.  It hurts my knees and back.

I would fish the lowland foothills rivers for smallmouth bass.  You won’t encounter many people and the bass are hitting on top. 

I would also start looking for nesting shellcrackers on the lakes.  Jack and I didn’t find many on Thursday.  It was too early on the Little Tennessee River.  It should not be long.

Smallmouth bass fishing was slow last week on the lakes according to 6 anglers I know.  I saw two of them fishing in a wooden canoe on Thursday.  They reported very slow fishing for smallies.  Rufus and Doug found the same thing.  It was slow for me and Jack.  I don’t know if it’s over or if it hasn’t begun.  This is one of those years when you can’t predict anything with a smidgen of confidence.

Fishing on weekends on the lakes is pretty much over around here.  You could get on the water at daybreak but the pleasure boaters, jet skiers, wake boarders and ocean going vessels create too much havoc during the day.  There are about 8 lakes near here, some of them are huge.  East Tennessee is a popular destination for boaters from everywhere. Boat enthusiasts flock to Tennessee by the thousands because we have so many lakes and marinas.  Norris Lake is probably the crown jewel here.  It is big, beautiful, clean, clear and the smallmouth bass population is unbelievable.    

Last night, Paula and I talked about going to Dale Hollow for a few days next month.  We would arrive on Sunday and depart on Friday to avoid the masses. We talked about the little cabin we rent.  We like that cabin.  We like the marina too.  Our boat is safely tied in a covered slip with power to charge the batteries and a locker for our gear. Whoever designed those lockers did not think fly fishermen would be using them.  A 9’ fly rod won’t fit.  We keep ours lined up and ready to go.  So, we store them in the Suburban. 

There is a fairly good restaurant on the dock.  We grill out or Paula cooks in the kitchen.

We can be there in about 2 hours.  I like vacations at places that are 2 hours from home.  We used to go to Florida on our fishing vacations.  The drive was at least 9 hours.  That’s just a little far for me these days unless I were planning to stay for a month.  Fly fishing in the salt is a lot of fun and my “golden years plan” calls for plenty of that.  We even have our Florida Boat picked out.  It is a 17’ Boston Whaler with a 90 hp Mercury.  Looking forward to that.

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

Byron Begley
May 27, 2012    

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