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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast and 68 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I stopped by the IGA to get some Powerade on my way to work.  I saw a friend of mine eating breakfast in the deli.  He owns a tubing business in town.  I asked how business has been this year.  As I thought, he reported that business is slow.  Why?  His business is slow because of rain, especially on the weekends.  Most businesses in our town have been slow this Spring including us due to rain and cool temperatures on weekends.  There is nothing we can do about it.

Sometime last night we got some rain in the Smoky Mountains, specifically in the Little River watershed.  Little River’s level is up some this morning and the water is a little off color.  Flow right now is 401 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.5 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 161 cfs.  The water temperature is 62.7 degrees at 7:55 am.  We had 1/10th of an inch of water in our rain gauge at the shop.

The water level is fine for fishing.  But, it is on the high side of good.  Some streams may not be up at all.

Everything will be fine this weekend if we don’t get a lot of rain today and tonight.  So far, most of the precipitation has missed us.  I don’t know what to expect.  I am hoping for the best.  Unless we get some heavy rain, fishing should be awesome this weekend in the Smoky Mountains.

If the water is a little cloudy where you are fishing that may be good.  You can fish closer to the trout and get a better drift.  I would use nymphs if these conditions are present.  If not, try dry flies.  Use something bushy and visible like a Yellow Neversink Caddis or Yellow Stimulator.

The lower parts of the Little Pigeon and Little River were turbid yesterday.  I got an e-mail from Rodney who runs Tellico Marina.  He said the creek where their marina is located was off color Wednesday but clearing.

TVA will be generating at Cherokee Dam all day today.  They will have the turbines shut off most of the day today at Douglas Dam.  The TVA website indicates they will be generating all day at Norris Dam.  You might check later for changes.  Definitely check before you go fishing at one of these tailwaters as schedules are subject to change.

Almost every day, a customer comments to me personally in the shop about this Fishing Report.  Yesterday and man made a very important comment to me about this report.  He said, “You are an honest man”.  He was referring to the fact that I report the facts here and sometimes tell people not to come fishing here when the conditions are not favorable. 

He said he had never seen an outfitter tell customers not to come fishing.  I told him he should have been reading during the drought a few years ago.  Rainbow trout were gasping on the bottoms of pools for oxygen at times during the drought.  Trout were dying.  The water was extremely low.  Fishing was slow.  I told anglers to go fishing somewhere else, like a tailwater and that went on for weeks or longer.  We suffered of course.  It hurt our business.  But, like I told the man yesterday, “I don’t want anyone to be disappointed”.  In the long run, people appreciate honesty.

About 15 years ago I was helping the Park Service Fisheries Department do some population sampling on lower Abrams Creek.  We use electroshocking equipment to temporarily stun the fish so we could capture them.  I had never done this at the lower end of Abrams.  We started our work and I noticed something strange.  We were catching all kinds of small colorful fish.  They were beautiful.  They were darters.  I will never forget that day.

If you see people in the Smokies right now swimming in the streams with goggles, snorkels and professional video cameras in waterproof cases, don’t be surprised.  It is probably Jeremy Monroe and his team.  He and his folks are filming a documentary about fish in the Southern Appalachians.  This film will probably be shown on public television.  Jeremy is the producer and director. 

He came by to talk to me a couple of weeks ago and told me about everything they are doing.  These folks belong to a non-profit organization and you can visit their website by CLICKING HERE.  They are raising money to be leveraged to obtain grants.  You can contribute directly on this website.

Watch the video below and turn up the audio.  It is a preview of what is to come.  The man in the video is not Jeremy.  He’s a pretty cool guy though.  You will see some fish you have seen before like brook trout and stone rollers.  But, you will also see some fish and salamanders that you would never imagine live in these streams.  The video footage is awesome. 

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

Byron Begley
June 7, 2013 

Hidden Rivers - Fundraising Preview from Freshwaters Illustrated on Vimeo.


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