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.  I’m running late today.  I got to work at 8:40 am, later than I’ve been in years.  Jack came by the house this morning at 6:45 am.  We finished installing a new double wall oven in Paula’s kitchen. 

It is sunny and 72 degrees.  Last night, we tried to sit on the treetop deck but it was muggy.  The humidity was high and it was warm for our area, at night. 

Little River is running low and slow.  We probably won’t get rain until Tuesday.  Currently, flow is 91 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 178 cfs.  The water temperature is 67 degrees this morning.

You will find cooler water in the mountains.  They higher you go, the cooler the water.  You will need to use your low water fly fishing tactics.  Stay low and blend in.  Don’t let the trout see you.  Fish the choppy water with light tippets.  Dry flies are working well.  Fishing is still good but not great.  Fishing will be best early and late when the sun is off the water. 

There have been some great hatches just before dark.  I talked to two guys yesterday who recalled their evenings on the Middle Prong of Little River.  Nothing was happening at one point.  Then, all of a sudden, Yellow Sally Stoneflies were everywhere.  Trout were on them, all over them.  Fishing was excellent. 

Evening, just before dark is a special time to be in the Smokies right now. What you see is Mother Nature at her best, if you enjoy fly fishing for trout.  The streams put on a fantastic show. 

Park Service Fisheries Folks and TU volunteers have captured about 300 Southern Appalachian Brook Trout twice this year.  Those brookies were moved to Lynn Camp Prong to shore up the population there.  This effort to re-establish a sustainable population has been going on for years. 

Last Winter, high water events pretty much washed out the young of the year brook trout in the lower elevations of the stream.  Several miles upstream, population sampling last year indicated the trout did well in the headwaters. 

We are all hoping, since we didn’t have the high water events this Winter, maybe there was a successful spawn in the lower section of the stream.  Biologists won’t know until later this month. 

Before the removal of the rainbows from Lynn Camp, population studies indicated a range of 1,500 to 2,500 fish per mile.  That number varies from year to year due to floods and droughts.  Most of us think, when the brook trout population gets closer to those numbers, biologists will open the stream for anglers again.  I hope that happens next year.  My thoughts are shared by many people who can’t wait for Lynn Camp Prong to open.  What a fishery that will be.

Phil showed me some pictures of huge trout he’s been catching on the Clinch River lately.  I think he is stripping streamers.  Other reports from customers indicate very low water and often.  Norris Lake is low and generation schedules are seldom and short.  Evidently, if you can pick the right flow, fishing has been excellent.

Can you believe it is June?  I can’t.  As a year becomes a lower percentage of my life, they seem shorter.  It’s that way for all of us, of course.  Younger people don’t understand.  Older people understand better than I do.  As we age, things we enjoy become more important.  Right now, I want to go fly fishing more often.  Paula thinks the same way.  We have fished quite a bit this year but not enough.  I think we’ll go Wednesday.

Last year, June was our busiest month.  Fishing was excellent in the southeast last June.  What happens in the southeast and mid-Atlantic states, directly affects our mail order business.  May is usually our busy month.  Last year, May fishing was off and on in the region.  We are in a weather dependent business.  The awful drought and fires in some of the western states has had a negative effect on the fly fishing industry as a whole. 

The Fish House Restaurant opened in town.  I stopped at the Townsend Shopping Center next door night before last.  I could not believe the crowd at the restaurant.  People were park out to the road.  After the newness wears off a little we’ll try that place.  I hope they do well.  Several restaurants that occupied that building have closed over the years.  Maybe the Fish House will make it.  I think they will.

Frank Bryant, who owns Chota took me to lunch last week.  We went to the Mexican restaurant.  As usual, the food was great.  Service was very good too.  I highly recommend that restaurant.  We don’t eat out much. 

Paula loves cooking and she is good at it.  If you don’t believe me, check out her website called the Saucy Southerner.  Her food photography is remarkable. She has a portable photo studio at the house.  She did some kind of Sweet Sunshine giveaway in conjunction with the company who makes the sauces and the Meatless Monday organization. I’m looking at a couple of my favorites right now, Southern-Style Crab Cakes and Crab-Stuffed Baked Potatoes.

For us, fishing vacations is also about food.  Food and fly fishing to be exact.  All of our vacations focus on fly fishing and food, usually seafood.  When we go on vacation, I get the tackle and boat stuff read and she packs the cooking and food essentials.

We were in Florida, kayak fly fishing three weeks ago.  One important event, early on, was going to the fish market.  She actually smells everything we buy first. We also had lunch at the Indian Pass Raw Bar near St. Vincent Island.  That is a very famous place.  All they serve are oysters and beer.  I guess you could drink something other than beer.  I wouldn’t know.

Sorry I got on food.  Maybe it was being Jack’s helper this morning installing that oven. 

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

Byron Begley
June 1, 2014

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