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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast and 64 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It is really pretty out there.  The mountains are lush and green and the air is clear.  The crowds are mostly gone.  At 7:30 when I came to work, there were hardly any vehicles on the roads and streets. 

Little River is running as low as I’ve seen it all year.  At least I think so.  This river has been running high all year.  What we are seeing now is normal, even below normal.  Many anglers like to fish here when Little River is at this level.  Flow is currently 182 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 203 cfs.  The water temperature is a perfect 60.5 degrees.

Fly fishing for trout in the Smokies is excellent.  It should be.  The conditions are just right.  Trout are taking dry flies, especially Yellow Sally stonefly and Light Cahill patterns.  It will be sunny today at some point.  Fishing should be best right now or this evening.  If you fish during the day, choose shady streams.

There are somewhere between 800 and 1,000 miles of trout streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park alone.  Trout in the Park are wild.  The Park Service ceased stocking in the early 1970’s.  That is one reason people love to fly fish here.  The fish are wary.  They rely on wariness to survive like their ancestors did before them.  Wariness is in their inherited genes.    

Adjoining or close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park are many other National Forests. Combine them all and what we have here is a vast wilderness with plenty of fly fishing opportunities for wild rainbow, brown and brook trout.

I moved here 20 years ago.  People ask me why.  The truth is I moved here because of all the fly fishing opportunities, everywhere I look.  I love fly fishing.  I always have, since 1962 when I started.  Another determining factor for moving here is, this is a pretty place.  And this is a very small town.  The population in our valley is around 2,000 people.  There is something to be said about living in a place where wild turkeys outnumber the people.  If everyone who lives in our valley went into the Park to fish and spread out, there would be approximately one mile of stream available for each two people. 

Tomorrow, Paula and I are going fishing on one of the lakes nearby.  We will be fly fishing for shellcrackers, bluegill and largemouth bass. We’ve had a tough time with smallmouth bass this year on the lakes.  Generation schedules have been frequent and massive.  The water has been low or high and cold.  We’re going further down river tomorrow where the water is warmer. I changed out some leaders and flies on the 6 rods we take on the boat.  We keep them rigged and ready to go.  I’ll take the boat home with me tonight, load up the truck with the rods, boat bag and cooler so we can take off early in the morning.

It looks like TVA is generating full blast at Cherokee Dam today.  There will be some generation below Douglas Lake today but not like it has been lately.  That’s a good sign.  Wow, the schedule at Norris Dam looks great right now.  TVA is indicating no generation until 6:00 pm.  Not that’s really good news.  The discharge there at 8:00 am is 166 cubic feet per second.  Check TVA’s website before you go.  Everything is subject to change.  It appears, TVA is about finished with the lake draw-downs.  There is almost no chance for rain over the next 10 days with the exception of Sunday.  There is only a 40% chance then.  Things are looking up for angers wishing to fish in East Tennessee.

The Sales Manager from Umpqua Feather Merchants will be here today with our Regional Sales Representative.  We buy lots of flies from Umpqua.  They own Metz too.  And, they are the importer for Tiemco hooks.  I’m looking forward to their visit.

We will also be changing out light fixtures today.  I think we have 100 or more fluorescent lights.  That is what I remember when we put these fixtures in 9 1/2 years ago.  The ballasts are worn out.  They have to be replaced by newer technology ballasts and bulbs.  The new equipment is more energy efficient.  We’ve been doing this since they started failing early this year.  We are behind because we have not had time.  Bill Hey and I will take turns on the ladder.

A friend of mine was here yesterday.  He told me he attended a reading earlier of all the names of each American from East Tennessee who died at war, dating back to World War I.  I would like to have been there.  One of the readers was the mother of one of the soldiers.  She read her son’s name last. Over 6,000 names were read.  That had to be a very moving ceremony. Maybe I can go next year on Memorial Day.

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

Byron Begley
May 28, 2013 

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