Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is Memorial Day weekend and the visitors are here.  It seemed Townsend was vacant yesterday morning.  It was early when I go here and these folks must have still been asleep.  There are also a lot of local people from surrounding areas making day visits.  There were a lot of fly fishing folks in town yesterday.  We were busy here, very busy. 

Little River looked peaceful this morning.  On the rocks below the swinging bridge I saw an older gentleman and two kids sitting and fishing with bait.  They were intent on the job at hand, to catch a trout.  They had not caught anything yet.  The water temperature was 65 degrees early but it will warm up today.  It is going to be hot and dry for a few days.  Expect the river level to drop further.  This morning the flow is 105 cubic feet per second.  Median flow is 205 cfs.

Fishing is excellent by almost all accounts.  There are exceptions but most of the anglers I talked to yesterday did very well.  The trout are partial to Yellow Sally Stoneflies right now, especially in the evenings.  Light Cahills are working too.  Actually any yellow dry fly is a good choice.  I would probably use a yellow stimulator or elk hair caddis.  Nymphs might be best depending on the time of day and where you are.  That statement gave me a lot of leeway didn’t it?  Don’t forget terrestrials.  Don’t forget about Green Weenies and beetles.  And especially, don’t forget about cicadas.

Though we have not seen the 13 year cicada emergence here yet it is happening nearby in a big way.  I overheard an angler asking Ethan about cicada patterns yesterday.  I bought a lot of them and I’ve been wondering if they would sell.  So, I walked over and got into the conversation.  This man catches large bass.  He said the cicadas are all over the place on the Tennessee River and Tellico Lake.  That is what I’ve been waiting to hear.  He showed me some huge bass pictures on his cell phone, bought some cicada patterns and was out the door. 

Daniel will be on vacation this week.  So, Paula and I can’t go to Tellico Lake this week.  But we’ll be going next week.  You can count on that.  I’ve been thinking about this emergence for months and preparing by tying lots of different patterns.  I hoped we would see thousands of them on Dale Hollow Lake last week.  We were fishing there for 7 days.  I didn’t hear one peep or buzz.  They were not there.  But, I would not go fishing without some of those patterns right now.  You don’t know where they will be and exactly when.  They are supposed to emerge in our County.  They are thick in our neighboring county, Monroe or at least that is what I’ve heard.

Tennessee trout fishermen are up in arms.  The federal government is going to shut down the trout hatcheries.  We won’t have any trout to catch.  If you believe what the media and some people are saying that may be true.  I had a reporter from a television station call me four times yesterday.  He wanted to do a story about how the trout stocking reduction or actually ceasing would affect our business and our sport.  Finally I refused the interview.  I did not know the facts.  I only knew what I have heard.  I believe what we are hearing on the surface is not exactly what is true to the core.  I agreed to an interview next Saturday to run on the station next Sunday.  That gives me time to research this and give him a story that is factual.  I told him yesterday, if he did the interview with me, “I would just sit there like a knot on a log.” I would not know what to say.  He agreed with me.  His station is known for accurate reporting.

So, next week I’ll call TWRA.  I will probably talk to Frank Fiss.  He will know what’s going on.  Then, I’ll contact Mike Butler at the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.  Mike will know all about it.  I will probably contact TVA and the Corps of Engineers after finding out who to talk to.

Here is what I believe so far.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service operates two hatcheries in Tennessee, Erwin and Dale Hollow.  They have been providing trout for stocking in tailwaters to satisfy mitigation responsibilities incurred when many of our dams were built decades ago.  I think TWRA buys trout for non-mitigation purposes, stocking Little River for instance and other free flowing streams in the State.  TWRA also owns some trout hatcheries. 

It costs about $1 million per year to operate a National hatchery in round numbers.  USFW has 6 hatcheries providing this service here and in other states.  I believe all they want is to be reimbursed by whoever built those dams, in our case the Corps and TVA. It doesn’t appear to me that USFW has had a budget cut.  I read they actually have had an increase.  I may be totally wrong and that’s why I wouldn’t do that interview yesterday.  But I’ll find out.  To me it seems like there are three federal agencies negotiating over who is going to pay for what.  Like I said, I may be wrong.  I frequently am.

This weekend we honor the men and women who serve in our military and those who died defending our freedom.  And honored they should be.  We have lost some of the greatest Americans since I was born while they were on duty.  Two of our favorite friends lost their son last month in Afghanistan.  Our neighbor is a 2nd lieutenant in the Marines.  He is stationed in Afghanistan. I worry about him. I exchange e-mail with an Air Force pilot fairly often.  I worry about him. He spends 6 months in Afghanistan every year flying airplanes into enemy territory.  And though we have the greatest military in the world protecting us from all kinds of unfriendly people, it is a dangerous job. 

So, think about them and pray for them this weekend.  This is a very important weekend to Americans.  God bless our military personnel.

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

Byron Begley
May 29, 2011 

Respond to:


Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday May 21 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 22 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday June 11 – Beginner Day One
Saturday June 25 – Beginner Day One
Sunday June 26 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday July 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday July 23 – Beginner Day One
Sunday July 24 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday September 10 – Beginner Day One
Saturday September 24 – Beginner Day One
Sunday September 25 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

Respond to:

Home - Contact Us - About Us - Fishing Report - Online Catalog - Message Board - Sitemap