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

Welcome to the Fishing Report. It is cloudy, raining and 68 degrees in Townsend.  It is 8:00 and I just got a call from Steve Samples.  He is filming a documentary about the area on behalf of the Blount Chamber.  We need to shoot some fly fishing scenes.  Today is perfect.  There will be almost no shadows or glare.  Filming or photographing on a Smokies stream is really hard but the one thing you have to consider is light.  You don’t want much light.  I’m going to call him at 9:00 and let him know what the river is doing.

I do know Little River is rising, straight up.  But at 7:45 it was clear.  I suspect there will be some stained water arriving soon.  We had .40” in our rain gauge this morning. There is an 80% chance for rain today.  And, it is raining right now.  Make that 100%. 

Little River is flowing at 185 cubic feet per second at this moment.  Median flow for this date is 181 cubic feet per second.  The water temperature is 64.7 degrees in town.

After this front passes through we are going to have some excellent weather for the weekend.  Highs will be in the 70’s to low 80’s.  Lows will be in the 50’s.  Tomorrow morning the low is predicted to be 51 degrees.  Won’t that be nice.

I don’t know what is gong to happen today.  We could get some heavy rain or maybe we won’t.  If we do, the streams could be blown out tomorrow.  If we don’t the fishing should be perfect in the Smokies.  These storms are scattered so one watershed might be affected adversely and another may be fine.

Yellow Sally Stonefly imitations are what I would use in the Park or in the Cherokee National Forest.  I would also have some Green Weenies in my box. 

Yesterday was interesting and fun.  I hooked up the boat at 7:45 am and drove to Tellico Plains by myself.  First I checked out a log and timber frame home that Paula and I are considering renting from time to time.  I was barely able to turn the boat around in the parking lot.  I drove up there to see if I could.  My cell phone didn’t work there either.  I don’t know if this place will work out for us but I liked it a lot.  The view was spectacular.

From the cabin I drove 30 minutes to Indian Boundary Lake.  What a beautiful place that is.  Indian Boundary is located in the Cherokee National Forest.  They have a great campground there and a beach.  It is a 96 acre lake.  They don’t allow any gasoline motors.  You can have the gas motor but you can’t run it.  Propulsion is via electric only.  I like that.

When I got to the lake, nobody was there.  The water was slick as glass.  I launched and started fishing immediately using a 6 weight fly rod and a Black Knucklehead.  I caught some nice bluegill right off the bat and saw some good bass.  Then the wind picked up.

I had 5-gallon jugs in the truck that I fill with water and place in the bow for ballast when I’m fishing alone.  I didn’t do that because the wind was not blowing when I launched.  I regretted that very soon.  The wind started blowing the V-hull bow and I couldn’t control the boat very well.  I lost several fish while messing around trying to steer the boat.  I did catch two huge bluegill.  I could not hold them in one hand.  They required two hands and it still was not easy releasing these bruisers. 

I finally gave up due to the wind.  I have a 55 pound thrust trolling motor and I was running wide open in a light boat just to keep it on track.  I made it to the ramp, loaded her up and called it a day, a great day.  I will be back very soon. 

I stopped at the big new marina that was built on Tellico Lake in 2009 on Highway 411.  I know one of the owners or I guess I should say, previous owners.  The bank owns it now. That bankruptcy and foreclosure made me sad when I heard about it. They spent $7 million building this marina and the timing was awful.  There are a lot of marinas in receivership or foreclosure right now all over the United States. 

I found the manager and we talked for a while.  He is a nice bright young man.  He is hoping someone will buy the marina and let him run it.  I really hope that happens.  I wandered around looking at the docks, cabins and all the improvements.  I asked him to tell me “What’s going on.”  He said “Where do I start.” I told him to start with the foreclosure and go forward from there.  Everything else is history.  He did just that.

I wished him well and headed up the Little Tennessee River to the Foothills Parkway and back to Townsend.

The Little T looks good, but not like it used to before Tellico Dam was built.  I was not here during those days.  As a flooded river, with plenty of standing timber sticking out of the water, it is a fishing dream and a navigation nightmare.  The flow was strong, they were generating at Chilhowee Dam.  When that happens, carp and trout sip food from the trash line.  You can catch some nice fish on a fly rod.  Also, the big stripers run up to the dam when there is discharge.  I don’t have the guts to drive up that river during generation, not all the way to the dam.  I’ve tried several times and chickened out when the dam comes into view.  I need a jet boat for that.

I gazed across the river from the Harrison Branch dock at the launch ramp.  I could see the old railroad trestle and Citico Creek.  If I had not left the gas tank at home I might have launched and fished for a while.  I bet the smallmouth bass and trout are active in that cold moving water.

I’ll get a day off next Thursday.  I have no idea where I’ll go fishing.  There are too many choices around here.  I am certainly not complaining.  I’ll be on the Little T or Indian Boundary.

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

Byron Begley
June 1, 2012

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