Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report. It is a beautiful clear morning here in Townsend. A light, long sleeved shirt wouldn't have been uncalled for this morning as cool as it was. Now the sun is out and the cool is quickly burning away. The weather report is calling for highs in the 90's again. Thankfully it is cooling off overnight. The forecast is typical for and chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Hopefully there is more than just a chance. We could really use the water. The great irony of our "drought" is we are still almost an inch more than normal for total rainfall this year.

Townsend experienced one of the scattered thunderstorms yesterday afternoon just about closing time. Looking towards the "Y" and the Smokies, the sky was dark slate gray intermixed with bolts of lightning. I bet the tubers on Little River were scattering to find shelter. Rain is refreshing on a hot so much.

The streams of the Little River system looked great this morning. Water temps had dropped to 66F by the Swinging Bridge in Townsend. Water levels had come up over night and already dropped back down but were at an improved level. This morning they were 1.78' or 142cfs. They really looked good and were all flowing mostly clear. There was just a slight tint but that is likely gone already.

Fishing in the Smokies has been fairly good. Water levels are low and the trout are skittish. Higher elevations will give you better fishing during the hotter parts of the day. If you want to fish lower be out there first thing in the morning or take an afternoon nap and hit the river after 5pm fishing till dark.
High gradient streams such as the West Prong of the Little Pigeon, Road Prong, Ramsey Prong etc can be good destinations. If you are wanting to fish the Elkmont area or the Little River upstream of the campground be aware of temporary road closures due to the fireflies. "Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced that the Elkmont entrance road will be closed to motor vehicles and pedestrian use every night starting at 5:00 p.m. until midnight, June 4-12, 2011 except to registered campers staying at the Elkmont Campground. The closure is to accommodate transportation service for visitors planning to spend the evening viewing the natural-occurring, synchronous firefly beetles at Elkmont." (copied from This could cause parking hassles.

In low water conditions I like to fish dry flies....I like to fish dry flies even in high water...I usually do well fishing dries in low water conditions. Most of the insects hatching this time of the year are going to be lighter in color. Yellow is king during the Summer in the Smokies. High floating patterns such as Stimulators, Neversink Caddis, The Combo, Paralyzers, Elk Hair Caddis, etc work well for fishing in the rough pocket water.
Terrestrial patterns such as ants, beetles and yellow jackets can be effective during the warmer parts of the day. These patterns can be especially good fished up under brush.
Small nymphs, Green Weenies and Barbie Bugs make great dropper flies. Something else to try is using an ant as a dropper. They are near impossible to see on their own but if you pair it with a dry fly life gets much easier.

I wouldn't let the chance of storms keep you from fishing....but definitely be mindful of the possibilities of storms. Lighting should be avoided. Keep an eye on stream flows. It might be sunny where you are but a downpour upstream can leave you facing an unexpected wall of water. Just be careful.

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

Daniel Drake
June 10, 2011

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Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday May 21 – Beginner Day One
Sunday May 22 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday June 11 – Beginner Day One
Saturday June 25 – Beginner Day One
Sunday June 26 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday July 9 – Beginner Day One
Saturday July 23 – Beginner Day One
Sunday July 24 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday September 10 – Beginner Day One
Saturday September 24 – Beginner Day One
Sunday September 25 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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