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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and sunny in Townsend this morning.  What you see depends on which direction you look.  It is really pretty out there.  The Smoky Mountains are standing tall in the clear air.  Don’t look at the weather radar.  There is something that looks ominous heading our way.  It is a storm that is bearing down on us.  It won’t last too long I hope.

Sometime after midnight we got some rain in the Park.  Little River and the Little Pigeon River flows shot up but they are falling now.  I looked at Little River this morning.  There is plenty of flow but the water is clear.

The current flow at 7:50 am is 598 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.88 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 164 cfs.  This morning, rainfall for the year is up 58% over normal.  This has been a wet year.  That will be good in the long term.  Those numbers are not high because of one or two floods.  It’s been like this all year with numerous incremental rain events.

Fishing was good this weekend despite the higher than normal water flows. Anglers adjusted.  They learned too.  Deep wading was not an option in many streams.  Fishermen stayed on the road-side of the rivers, waded very little and did some good old fashioned Southern Appalachian high stick’n.  Due to the higher water, fishermen could fish close without being detected by the trout.  They had absolute control over their fly lines and got good drifts because they were not casting far at all, only a few feet. 

Fly choices have been about the same for a while.  There is the Yellow Stimulator that works all Summer long.  This is a great high floating fly that can easily support a nymph dropper.  The Neversink Caddis is another great dry fly you can use until Fall.  The Parachute Adams is a go to fly year round in various sizes.  The Parachute Adams is our second best selling dry fly.  And, there is the Light Cahill or Light Cahill Parachute dry fly.  This will be recommended for months.  Nymph choices would include the Bead Head Pheasant Tail at the top of the list.  That has not changed in years.

Hey, the Clinch is off today.  TVA is currently not planning to generate at Norris Dam from 7:00 am until 5:00 pm.  That could change so check before you go.  TVA does plan to generate at Cherokee Dam beginning at 11:00 am with a light release then pouring it on at noon until midnight.  It looks like they will be releasing full blast at Douglas Dam all day.  So, fish the Clinch River today.

Morgan Simmons wrote a great article that you can read on the KnoxNews website.  I reported on this subject last week on this page.  It is about the documentary film that is in production right now by a non-profit, Oregon based organization called Freshwaters Illustrated.  I met the producer two weeks ago.  This project will tell the story with unbelievable video of the fishes found in the Southern Appalachians.  Read this article and watch the video trailer by CLICKING HERE.  You will be blown away.

I am doing extensive research on the subject of smallmouth bass.  I found a website in Wisconsin last night that tells the story of research done in that state about this incredible sport fish. One lake in particular is the focus of the behavior studies.

I knew that water levels and water temperature in lakes and rivers have a huge affect on spawning success.  I also knew that when conditions are like what we have seen this year, the spawn is hard to predict.  Smallmouth bass behavior has been extremely unpredictable this year due to lake and river flow fluctuations and colder than normal water temperatures.

What I learned is, at times, only 10% of the bass actually spawn, at least in this study lake in Wisconsin.  Males may build several nests, only to abandon them due to weather conditions.  I bet we’ve got one of those years going on right now.  I also think the same thing happened to the shellcrackers this Spring.  Where were they? 

As fishing, fish behavior and angler participation is dependent on the weather, this must certainly be a unique year for us.  My hope is, when the weather conditions settle down, fishermen will be out there making up for lost time.  I’m going to try to fly fish two days this week for smallmouth bass in the lakes instead of my usual one day. So far, the fishing has been slow for me and Paula.  Some years have been excellent. One year was unbelievable and may never be equaled.

Everything is running late this year.  Spring came late.  Heavy rain fell every week or just about every week. We are going to get a break this week at least until Thursday.

Having good flows on the Clinch River lately has been beneficial to the trout anglers in our area.  Fishing has been very good there.  The Smoky Mountains have provided very good fishing at times this year.  The lowland rivers have been high and turbid often.  The lakes we fish have been cold, high or low, fluctuating frequently. 

Here comes the rain!

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

Byron Begley
June 10, 2013

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