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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and 66 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I got here early at 6:55 am.  The roads and streets were really quiet at that time of morning.  The tree trimming crew was at the IGA when I stopped for gas.  They have been clearing trees from power lines.  I tried to talk to one of the guys.  He didn’t speak English. There have been three huge boom trucks, other trucks and probably 20 to 30 people working on this project that I have seen.  They came here from Texas to do the work.  It looks like it would have been more cost effective to use a local company.  

The streams are getting lower by the day.  Little River’s flow dropped to below normal 4 days ago. The water isn’t that low.  It is typical of Summer.  More rain is expected Sunday and Monday. 

Little River’s flow is currently 142 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 182 cfs.  The water temperature was 65 degrees when I checked earlier.

Fly Fishing in the Smoky Mountains is good despite the water being a little low right now.  Fishing will be best in the evenings.  Try a Yellow Sally Stonefly or Light Cahill dry fly pattern.  If you are fishing during the day, get off the road and find a shaded small stream.  You will do well there.  Fishing in the larger rivers has been good too.  Mike caught an 18” brown a couple of days ago.  He was telling me about it yesterday.  Mike was fishing a dry fly with a nymph dropper.  He missed a rainbow on the dry fly then cast back in.  At first he though he was snagged on something when is nymph dropper was taken by the brown.  To his surprise it was a nice fish and he landed it.

Fishing droppers behind dry flies is a great idea right now.  There is much discussion about “what is legal” with a two fly setup.  As you probably know, you can use two flies on one leader in the Smokies.  What I was told by the Chief of Fisheries is, the dropper has to be 16” to 18” behind the first fly.  I have also heard that the dropper must be 12” behind the first fly.  I have never found anything in writing regarding this fishing regulation in Great Smoky Mountains National Park literature.  I usually tie the dropper on 12” to 18” of tippet behind the first fly.

I guess the tailwaters are fishing well, especially the Clinch River.  I am hearing conflicting accounts, which is not unusual.  Generation schedules on the Clinch have been more favorable lately. The water there is going to be off until 11:00 am so you should be there now.  Cherokee Dam will be generating all day today.  Check the schedules yourself.  They may change.  I would go to the Clinch.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but, “I hope it does rain Sunday and Monday”.  Not too much!  The rivers in the Park could use more water.  On the other hand, the lakes are full.  A longer dry spell might be best for the lakes and the tailwaters below the dams.  This has been an odd year. 

June is a great month to fish and tomorrow, June begins.  Here in the Smokies the hatches slow down a little probably later in the month but depending on the water temperature.  Terrestrials become a more important food source for rainbow, brook and brown trout.  Beetles and Green Weenies become our flies of choice.  We still see Yellow Sally Stoneflies and light colored mayflies on the water, especially late in the day.  A Yellow Neversink Caddis is always a great pattern to use in the early Summer.  A Yellow Stimulator with a small Bead Head Pheasant Tail dropper is an ideal rig. 

I brought in another dozen of Chartreuse Knucleheads that I tied to sell in the shop.  I was down to about 2 dozen in inventory of that color.  We have plenty of the black version.  Tying this pattern for the shop gives me something to do while I’m listening to the news on TV.  We have sold a lot of these flies already this year though the warmwater fishing got off to a slow start.  Not that the conditions are more normal, warmwater fishing will pick up and I need to have plenty of Knucleheads stocked up. 

Since I keep the books I see every mail order transaction.  I’m seeing a lot of these flies going to the Southern States. 

Well, I’ve got a doctors appointment. 

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

Byron Begley
May 31, 2013

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