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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is foggy and 66 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic was low on the streets when I drove to work.  I saw Frank, one of our fine policemen, driving his Tahoe police car and flying down the road.  All of his lights were flashing.  He turned on Webb road and disappeared.  I wonder what was going on?

Little River is flowing low.  Flow right now is 98 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.54 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 177 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:45 am is 65 degrees.

Fly fishing in the Smokies is still good despite the low water.  Mike Bryant came in yesterday after a few hours of fishing.  He said the “trout were happy”.  He meant they were eager.  At mid-day the action slowed which is normal when the water is low and the sun is high. 

Your best fishing will be early and late until we get some rain.  Dry flies are working well.  Use your acquired low water tactics if you want to catch trout.  That means blending in and not being seen by the fish.  Use light tippets.  Fish the moving water.

Dry flies are working well.  Light Cahill and Yellow Sally Stonefly patterns are what I would use.  I might tie on a Green Weenie, either as a dropper or fished weighted and alone.  A strike indicator might help, especially when fishing low and faster water.

Last year, on this date, the lakes were full.  The dams were generating pretty much around the clock.  We had plenty of water in the Smokies streams.  We were complaining about high water all Spring.  Fly fishing participation was low.  The fish were confused.  So were the anglers. 

Bill said he fished the Clinch River this week and the water was extremely low.  He didn’t land a fish.  That is probably the first time, in a long time, Bill has been skunked.  He is a very good angler.

We have a beginner fly fishing class going on all day.  I think it is full or close to it.  A full class is 8 students.  So, Walter and Rob will be busy today.  I’m sure we’ll be busy at the shop.

I watched our website visitation yesterday and checked it periodically.  We had low numbers on the main website and the online store.  The number of visitors on the Message Board were very high.  I can’t explain that one.  Between the three main components of the website we usually have between 3,000 and 4,000 visitors on a typical day.  We had around 3,700 yesterday. 

I can tell Father’s Day is coming up soon.  Our Gift Card sales are increasing.  That should continue until June 15th, the big day.  You can buy Gift Cards online, over the phone or in person.  They can be redeemed the same way.  This paragraph kind of turned into a sales pitch.  Sorry.  I can’t help it.

Sonora Smart Dodd founded Father’s Day in 1910.  She believed fathers should be honored just like mothers.  Congress resisted making Fathers Day a National holiday.  Several Presidents tried to get it done.  President Lyndon Johnson finally issued a presidential proclamation.  Father’s day became a permanent National Holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.  It took 62 years to get that done.  Can you imagine that?

Maybe we should have a National Fly Fishing Day as a National holiday.  Surely, Congress would not resist that.  I think there actually is a National Hunting and Fishing Day.  There is a website and a non-profit organization associated with a website search. 

We also celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week.  Well, I’ll be, the week-long holiday starts tomorrow.

I’m going boating and fishing twice this week, once with Paula and the other with Rufus and Josh. 

I love boating and fishing.  To me, the two go together.  They belong together.  Fishing from a boat allows me to enjoy my two favorite pastimes at once.

We have 4 boats at our barn.  There are two kayaks and a canoe inside.  We have a fishing boat parked next to the barn.  We have two wooden canoes that have never been wet.  One is in the shop.  You can’t miss it when you walk in.  The other wooden canoe, which is much prettier, hangs over our fireplace in the great room at home. As you can see, we have a boat problem.  I also spend a lot of time on the internet looking for our next boat.

I want a larger aluminum fishing boat to use here on the lakes and on the bays in Florida.  It would also be nice to have a small drift boat.  I like the Hyde Sportsman.  It is made for two people, not three.  That boat weighs around 100 pounds.  I think it would be perfect for floating the lower Little River and the tailwaters.

A raft would be cool too.  We need a bigger barn!  It is fun to dream about boats.  My first boat was a 10’ Jon with a 3.5 hp motor.  They were both made and sold by Sears.  Someone stole the boat and I don’t know what happened to the motor. 

My second boat was a 13’ 3” Boston Whaler with a 40 hp motor.  That thing would fly.  I kept it docked on the Kentucky River.  I wasn’t old enough to drive a car, so my parents would take us to the boat dock and away we would go.  Sometimes my friends and I would leave and not come home for a few days.  Locking through at dams, we would drive from Boonesborough to Frankfort and back, camping along the way.  That was a 220 mile trip. I wonder how many 14 year old boys do that these days?  Times are different.  Or, maybe they are not.

Most of the locks on the Kentucky River are inactive today.  The barges and tug boats are gone.  Those were the days. 

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

Byron Begley
May 31, 2014  

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