Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a little cooler in town this morning, 72 degrees.  I stopped at Little River to take the water temperature.  It’s still getting lower despite a brief but heavy rain yesterday.  That storm must have missed the mountains.  Another one was heading our way last night.  It looked large and powerful on the radar.  It fizzled out before it reached us. 

The flow in Little River is currently 1.33 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 161 cfs.  The water temperature in town is 70 degrees.

I would fish early and late.  Early in the mornings the trout have not been hassled by people and the water is cooler.  Right now it is overcast.  If the cloud cover remains that will be good.  Late in the evenings the sun has fallen behind the mountains and trees.  The insects and trout become more active.  Higher in the mountains you will find cool water.  It will also be low though.  Try Yellow Sally Stoneflies, Yellow Elk Hair Caddis and terrestrial patterns for dry flies.  Use small nymphs and Green Weenies.  I would try 5X tippet and if I didn’t get strikes I’d go smaller.  It is very important to stay hidden when the water is low.

Jim Mauries came by with the wife and kids yesterday.  They were on their way home from a camping trip.  It was great to see Jim.  We are close friends and we fished together a lot when I lived in Nashville.  He owns a fly shop too.  It is called Fly South and it’s located near downtown in the Music City.  Jim commented on the low water.  They were camping at Elkmont.

The water may not be low for very long.  We have a 60% chance for rain today and tonight.  The National Weather Service reports “Thunderstorms Likely”.  I like that.

I’m tying Enrico Puglisi Threadfin Shad like crazy at home.  It is slow going.  These flies take time.  I’m covering every size from 1 ½” little guys to 3 1/2” long gangbusters.  I’m getting ready for smallmouth and stripers.  This has been an excellent year for smallmouth bass fishing.  I’ve had some of the best fishing I can remember this year.  But, last week Paula and I were fishing the Citico Creek area of Tellico Lake and we noticed the smallies were harder to catch.  Maybe it was just that day.  But, Jack and Joe fished the same week and had similar results.  I’m looking at moving further down the lake and try there.  Tellico is huge and the water varies in depth and temperature depending on where you are.  We’ll probably try the cold water one evening next week then go down to the warmer water another evening and see what’s happening there. 

Smallmouth bass fishing with a fly rod is getting more popular.  I can tell by what we are selling and by talking to customers.  Smallmouth bass fight hard.  Even a one to two pound fish will give you a fierce battle.  Our State touts the best smallmouth bass fishing in the country.  About every lake and stream has them and they grow big here.  Tennessee has held the world record for decades.  We are right on the edge between smallmouth and largemouth dominance.  To our South, largemouth is king.  North of us, smallmouth is king.  We have a longer growing season here with cooler impoundments in the summer and warmer water in the cooler months.  Maybe that explains it.  My biggest smallmouth this year weighed four pounds.  I caught one a couple of years ago that weighed five pounds.  That is a nice fish on a five or six weight rod.  What makes it even more fun is, we are sight fishing some of the time.  Even when we are not, when that fly hits the water the fish become visible.  You can watch them take the fly. 

We also have more trout streams here than any place I know.  TVA impoundments release cold water into the tailwaters producing a trout fishery that rivals anywhere in the country.  We also have the Appalachian Mountains, home to wild rainbow, brook and brown trout.  There are about 800 miles of trout streams in the Park alone just two miles from where I’m sitting now.  We have more trout streams to our south and to the north.  Our lakes here even have trout populations or some of them do. 

And, then there are the stripers.  Big stripers and plenty of them live and feed in our lakes and rivers.  I have friends who fish for nothing but stripers.  They move from lake to lake and tailwater to tailwater to find the best fishing.  Paula and I fish an area that is know to be excellent striper water.  We just have not figured it out yet.  When we do, we’ll be ready with some big baitfish patterns and 9 weight rods in the boat.  In fact, I’m going to start keeping one in the boat and ready, just in case.

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

Byron Begley
June 16, 2010

Little River Outfitters will be hosting a book signing with Ron Ellis on Saturday June 26, from 1 to 3pm. He will be signing copies of the new book "In That Sweet Country, Uncollected Writings of Harry Middleton".

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