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

Welcome to the Fly Fishing Report.  It is 5:39 am, foggy and 61 degrees in Dry Valley.  Dry Valley is our home.  We live only a 5 minute drive from the shop.  Here, there are mostly farms, homesteads and thousands of acres of un-developed land.  Look at Google Earth and you will see what I mean.

The alarm clock goes off every morning at 5:15 am.  I’m an early riser.  I could sleep in but I prefer to go fishing on my day off. I normally work 6 days a week and almost always on weekends.  

Little River is flowing at 142 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Media flow for this date is 162 cfs.  There is no rain in the forecast until Sunday night so we will see the river slowly drop until then.  The water temperature right now is 61.5 degrees. 

Fishing in the Smokies is very good thanks to normal or above normal water levels and low water temperatures.  You will do best in the mornings and evenings but you can still catch trout throughout the day.  We are still recommending Yellow Sally stonefly imitations.  They work well.  I prefer the Neversink Caddis or a #16 Yellow Stimulator.  Beetles should be in your box.  Green Weenies and Beetles will always work well this time of year.  And, it’s hard to beat a Parachute Adams.

Mike and I will be fishing the Little Tennessee River today.  I’m not sure where we’ll go just yet.  We will look at the water along the road, searching for smallmouth bass in the shallows.  Once in the water we will check out some of the shellcracker beds and see what’s going on.  But mostly we will be fishing for smallies.

I have the truck packed and ready to go.  I enjoy preparing for a day of fly fishing.  I will have four fly rods in the boat.  I use a 7 wt for larger bass flies.  My 6 weight BVK works well for the medium size flies.  I always have a 5 weight with a Puglisi Threadfin Shad tied on the leader and a piece of split shot pinched on above the fly.  That combination works well for trout, carp and smallmouth bass.  And then there’s the old fiberglass 4 weight Scott that I use for bluegill and shellcrackers.

I tied some Knuckleheads on a #4 hook just to see how well they float.  The flies we sell are tied on #6 Gamakatsu B10S stinger hooks.  I like the #4 better for bass.  That hook might be too heavy.  We’ll see today. 

Frank, who owns Chota Outdoor Gear told me yesterday that his grandkids are catching some huge shellcrackers on Melton Hill Lake right off the dock at his house.  They measured two at 11 inches, which easily qualify them for a trophy recognition award in our State if they filed with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.  An 11 inch shellcracker is a monster.  The State record redear sunfish or shellcracker is 3 pounds 6 ounces.  That is most likely a 13” to 14” fish. I know that because the state record bluegill is tied.  They were both 3 pounds 0 ounces and one of them was 14” long. I found a photo online of a 2.9 pound 14” shellcracker caught in 2009 on Center Hill Lake. 

Frank and I worked together most of the day yesterday photographing the new Chota gear.  You are going to like this new stuff.  He has some great new designs.  When he left I reminded him that I am off on Thursdays.  He said he could take off on Thursdays too.  So, I guess I’ll be dragging the boat over to Melton Hill in the next few days.  Or, we may fish out of his boat.  He wants to try ours though.

The only time I have ever fished Melton Hill was with Frank.  That is one beautiful lake.  There are houses on the shore, which looks unusual to me.  I fish mostly on undeveloped water, surrounded by public land.  The fishing there must be really good.  My only experience was very good. 

Frank showed me a place where he and one of his friends were squirrel hunting out of a canoe.  His buddy dropped a L.C. Smith shotgun into the water.  Evidently the depth was about 20 to 30 feet.  They went back to Frank’s house and got some scuba gear.  Frank has been a diver for decades.  He went down and found the shotgun. 

He and I fished in an old rock quarry next to the lake.  We paddled around casting poppers along the banks and caught bass and bluegill in one of his canoes.  He mentioned that the depth was 50 or 70 feet where we were at the time.  I asked how he knew.  This is not a place where you would have a boat and a depth finder.  We carried the canoe to the pond. 

He said he had used his scuba gear and explored the whole bottom of that 1-acre quarry pond.  That’s one of the things about having a friend like Frank that make for a good time.  You never know what to expect.  How many people do you know who would paddle a canoe to his house, grab some scuba gear and retrieve a shotgun from the bottom of a lake?  How many people do you know who would have scuba tanks charged and ready to go in their house?  Do you know anyone who squirrel hunts out of a canoe?  Frank is a cool guy, smart and talented.

Well, I’m going to the grocery now.  I think they started opening at 6 am since Memorial Day weekend.  I’ll get something for us to eat and ice for the cooler.  Then I’ll get the boat ready and wait for Mike at the shop.  This is going to be a fun day.  I bet the fishing is going to be incredible.  I have that feeling.  I always have that feeling before I go fishing. It doesn’t always work out that way.

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

Byron Begley
June 7, 2012  

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