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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is 5:39 am, dark as pitch and 64 degrees in Townsend this morning.  This good ole boy from East Tennessee is going fishing today.  It is Thursday, my only day off.  I am a happy guy.  As usual, I wake up at 5:30 am whether I am working or not.  Actually, my day off is usually more tiring than working.  That is because I’m going fishing and this report has to be written I the wee hours of the morning.  We never miss a day, or we did only once in the past few years.  I will never forget that day.

Little River is flowing at 131 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 184 cfs.  The water temperature is 65 degrees.  The high water temperature yesterday was 69.5 degrees.

It is going to be nice here for a few days.  The lows at night will be in the 50’s to low 60’s.  Highs will be in the 70’s to low 80’s.  Cool!  We do have some thunderstorms moving in.  Watch out for those.  Some could be severe.  I may be driving back from Tellico Plains through that.

Daniel showed me four fly orders yesterday.  They amounted to $4,000 wholesale.  Most of them were ordered last year. Thankfully, the majority were Yellow Sally Stonefly patterns which are working best in East Tennessee and North Carolina in the mountains right now.  Since we are in the mail order business we carry lots of different patterns that may work better somewhere else.  These shipments come in every month. Most of what I saw yesterday will be here by the weekend.

In the Smokies, use the Yellow Sally Stonefly patterns now.  At some point, terrestrials will be best.  And, they are working now too.  Beetles, ants and other land dwellers fall in the water during the Summer.  When the aquatic insects finish their cycle, the terrestrials are a good choice.  That has not happened yet but it will soon.  But for now, use yellow. 

Trout in the Southern Appalachians survive on aquatic insects during the Spring when their appetite is driven to the brink by warmer water.  When the water warms, the aquatic insects go into a down cycle.  The Yellow Stoneflies continue to hatch but not in the numbers like we are seeing now.  These trout have a tough time finding food in the mid-Summer.  Inchworms are popular for trout in those months.  Trout love inchworms.  That is why the Green Weenie works as well as ants and beetles.

Fishing is best during the mornings and evenings.  That may change over the next few days.  It is going to be cool here for a while. 

I expect the lowland foothills rivers to be fishing well for smallmouth bass.  The lakes warmed up this week, which probably brought the largemouth bass and panfish to shallow water.  I don’t know what happened to the smallmouth bass in the lakes.  The fishing I’ve done in the past two weeks has been slow.  The lower tailwaters are fishing well for smallmouth bass.  The upper tailwaters are fishing well for trout.

Today I will be fishing on a small 96 acre lake in the Cherokee National Forest.  I’m going alone so I can search out some cabins to rent. 

East Tennessee is blessed with water.  That is why I moved here 20 years ago.  I love being on or in water.  My route to Tellico Plains will take me across the Foothills Parkway.  I love pulling the boat across that road.  That is when I am at my happiest moment.  I’m always on the lookout for bears and wild boar.  They can run across the road and surprise you.  Take it slow there.  I always see several wild turkey on that stretch of road.

Then I’ll turn right and follow the Little Tennessee River where I do most of my fishing.  I will certainly stop at Harrison Branch to look around.  There is something about that place that intrigues me.  I love fishing there.  Technically, that is called Tellico Lake. To me it is the Little T.  Directly across the river I can see Citico Creek where it leaves the Cherokee National Forest.  The National Forest is on the other side of the river.  Then I’ll follow the river to Vonore, Tennesse, turn left and drive to Madisonville.  From there I’ll go left to Tellico Plains. I consider Tellico Plains to be what Townsend was 30 years ago.  Some people call that area underutilized from a tourism perspective.  I call it peaceful.  I like it down there.  I’m looking forward to today’s journey.

The Daily Times reports this morning that the synchronized fireflies, a very popular natural event at the Elkmont Campground may be a disappointment this year.  Due to the early Spring, the appearance of the flies this year is the earliest ever recorded.  Read the story HERE.

Have a great day and thank you for being here with us or me as it were.

Byron Begley
May 31, 2012 


NOTE:  Starting June 2, the Elkmont Road will be closed at 5:00 pm so shuttles can transport people there to view the fireflies performing in phase synchronization.  This will continue through June 10th.


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