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 sunny and 64 degrees in Townsend this morning.

Happy Fathers Day!  There was hardly any traffic on the roads this morning.  I noticed the Best Western’s parking lot was packed.  Tourism business must be good this weekend.  We were busy yesterday and people were buying.  I bet Fathers Day had something to do with that.

Little River’s flow is dropping down again.  Right now, flow is 98 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.54 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 153 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:05 am is 66.5 degrees.

Fishing is probably good in the Smoky Mountains.  I have not heard anything to the contrary but I’ve been locked in my office for two days doing boring stuff.  If I went today, I would hike a mile or so into the backcountry to fish.  I would also be on a mid-elevation steam, maybe the Middle Prong or East Prong of Little River, higher up.  You will be hitting deep runs or pockets in riffles.  I would also go late this afternoon and fish until dark. 

My fly choices would be Yellow Sally Stonefly dries and Green Weenie nymphs.  I know I sound like a broken record.  This has been the choice for a while.  It is summer and those flies work well.  Beetles and ants should not be overlooked.  I think they are often overlooked by anglers.  They won’t be by the trout. 

It is going to be hot for a few days.  Expect highs near 90 or above.  Lows at night will be in the 60’s.  There isn’t much of a chance for rain. 

I hope you can find a good generation schedule on the tailwaters today.  If you like one generator on the Clinch, you could have your way for a while today.  I looks like TVA is going to be pulsing occasionally on the Holston.  The Caney Fork will get some flow today due to generation.  Maybe that will work for you.  Check TVA’s website before you go.

I fly fished the Caney Fork for several years, almost every week when I lived in Nashville.  I don’t think I’ve fished there for about 25 years.  Back then I loved that river and hopefully I can fish there soon.  David Knapp offered to float me down the river and I’ll take him up on it soon.

I love that tailwater.  If you live near Nashville or nearby, the Caney is a close destination.  If you live in Nashville and have not fished the Caney, you should.  You can get excellent information from the fly shops in town, Fly South or Cumberland Transit.  I know all the guys in both shops and you could not find anyone, anywhere who knows that river like the folks at the fly shops in Nashville.  There are also some excellent guides who know that river well.  Hire one and give it a try.

Another excellent fly fishing destination is the Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam.  The Nashville shops know that river too.  That is “Home Water” for the folks at The Lexington Angler, in Lexington, Kentucky.

My buddy Frank and I are planning a float with “Cumberland Drifters” soon on the Cumberland.  Frank is making the arrangements.  Frank and I started the first grade together in 1957.  He and I are fishing the Holston Tuesday with Josh Pfeiffer.  We are both pumped about that. 

We are both at a point in our lives when fly fishing is going to be a higher priority for us.  We both made that decision day before yesterday.  We are 63 years old.  It’s time to fish more.  And that we will.

Paula and I have been married for 20 years.  She loves fly fishing as much as I do.  All of our vacations are fly fishing vacations.  It’s always been that way.  It is nice having a wife who is also your fishing buddy.  It saves money too.  We pay my half and her half of the fishing trips.  Wait a minute, this math is not working out.

Research shows more people are making the same decision Frank and I made.  Fishing, the sport with the most participation in the United States, is growing again.  I am glad to read that.  I think our Country would be better off if more people fished using one method or another.  I believe all children should be introduced to fishing.  With some it will “take” and with other it won’t.  At least give them a chance then wait and see what happens.  Fishing “took” with me at a very young age.  Eventually, when I was 11 years old, I began fly fishing and tying flies.  Now that really “took”. 

I fly fish, exclusively.  Most anglers use conventional tackle.  That’s OK.  Fishing is fishing and though it’s been a long time since I tried it, fishing with spinning rods or casting rods is fun too.  The most important component in either, is “Where you are and who you are with” to quote Jack Gregory.  I heard him say it yesterday.  He is right, as usual.

Don’t think Jack just sits around and watches the water.  When he is fishing, he is doing it constantly.  He wears me out.  I tend to watch the water, taking many breaks during the day.  Not Jack.  He’s fishing.  I’ll say, “Jack, I’ve had about enough”.  He says, “Let’s try over there”.  I’ll say, “Jack, I’m getting tired”.  He says, “Let’s switch to top water”.  As a result, Jack always catches at least twice as many fish as I do.  Always!  He fishes hard and he is a much better fisherman than I am.  I always learn something from Jack, every time we go.

Well, it’s time to make yesterday’s deposit, run payroll and pay bills.  I do that every Sunday.

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

Byron Begley
June 15, 2014 

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