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 cloudy and 71 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Rob was here when I pulled in earlier.  He was waiting for a guide client and she showed up just after I did.  She was a student in our beginner fly fishing class last weekend.

Little River is flowing low at 87 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.49 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 159 cfs. The water temperature at 8 am was 67.5 degrees.  The water will be cooler in the Park.

Fishermen are doing well despite the lower than normal water.  With cloud cover like we have today, fishing will be better than on sunny days.  Dry flies are working well.  Yellow Sally Stonefly dries are what I would use.  I’m seeing a lot of terrestrials so beetles and ants might be just the ticket during the day.  The stonefly hatch is more active in the evenings.  You might try a firefly pattern.

Use your low water tactics and you will have a better day of fishing.  Wear muted clothing that blends in with the forest.  Use light tippets, 5X or 6X.  Stay low. Try not to wade in pools where trout will be hiding upstream.  You will send ripples their way and they will be spooked.  Fish the choppy water where riffles enter pools or in the riffles themselves.  Trout like to hide in pockets behind rocks where there is a break in the current but enough chop to keep them hidden from predators. 

NOTE:  Elkmont Campground Road will be blocked in the evenings until June 11th to anyone except for campers and those with shuttle passes to see the firefly activity.  People travel here from everywhere you can think of to see these rare synchronous fireflies.  This particular species is the only one of its kind in America. You can read more about these beetles on the National Park Website Page devoted to this interesting and very popular evening display.

We had 744 visitors to this report yesterday.  That’s not a record but it is a high number.  That tells me, more people are interested in what’s going on in the Smokies.  We usually have between 400 and 600 visitors on this page every day.  I remember when it averaged about 100.

I was reading the website this week.  I was surprised to read that, “fly fishing has the greatest amount of interest to newcomers.”  Our beginner fly fishing schools are doing well and that might explain it.

Also, according to the website, “Fishing remains the most popular recreational activity in the country.”  About 16% of the U.S. population goes fishing. 

Fishing participation has been in decline for years. Research in 2012 indicates a change in that trend.  Fishing is growing in popularity again.

I was prompted to read this information due to the debate about future trout stocking by federal agencies.  Trout Unlimited in Tennessee is working on this with Tennessee Valley Authority, one of the funding sources for stocking trout in our tailwaters, streams and lakes.

Those leaders who are working on this potential problem might contact the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) for assistance. They own the website.  RBFF could have some very relevant information pertaining to trout stocking in Tennessee and the benefits to the citizens and visitors to the state.  They are certainly a stakeholder in the outcome.  I believe RBFF would get involved with National TU on this issue to avoid a cutback in trout stocking in our state and others in the future. 

Visit the RBFF website and learn more about our sport participation.  You will find it interesting and helpful. Getting young people involved in fishing is crucial to our sport.  They are the future stewards of our resource. The young people who make fishing their passion, will also have a much better life for it.

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

Byron Begley
June 5, 2014

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