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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and 66 degrees in Townsend this morning.  There was almost no traffic when I drove to work at 7:40 am.  There was a ton of traffic yesterday.  It was a beautiful day to be in the Great Smoky Mountains and plenty of people took advantage of the cool weather to fly fish and hike.

Little River looks awesome.  There is plenty of flow and the water is clear.  It looks like early Spring.  The trout think it is early Spring.  The flows are great and the water is cool. 

Little River is flowing at 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.6 feet on the gauge which is a little on the high side.  Median flow for this date is 163 cfs.  Some streams are not flowing that high above normal.  The heavy rain we had last week was scattered.  Some watersheds in the Smokies got hammered.  Some didn’t.  The water temperature in Little River is 60.1 degrees this morning.

Fishing is excellent everywhere you can think of near here and anglers know it.  Trout in the Smoky Mountains are active.  They are loving this water level and temperature.  They are taking dry flies and nymphs, it doesn’t matter which.  If you prefer dry fly fishing use a Parachute Adams, Light Cahill, Yellow Stimulator or Yellow Neversink Caddis.  They are all working very well.  I talked to one customer yesterday who had a whole cup full of Neversink Caddis.  He said he caught the heck out of trout on that pattern earlier and he was stocking up.  If you choose to fish with a nymph I would use a Bead Head Pheasant Tail.  It is time to start using Green Weenies too.  The pink version is working well and of course the chartreuse is a killer fly.

Smallmouth bass fly fishermen are experiencing some of the best conditions you could imagine in Little River.  I can’t remember when June conditions were this good.  Those river bass will eat poppers, Knuckleheads, Stealth Bombers, streamers, crawfish patterns and who knows what else.  I suspect the Little Pigeon is fishing well too though I have not heard.  Also, I have not seen that river since we had the rain event last week.  Abrams Creek has to be excellent right now in the lower section where smallmouth bass live. 

Smallmouth bass fishing in the lakes is as good as it gets.  The bass are taking foam poppers on top.  Paula and I fished with Knucleheads last week for two days and caught about 45 smallies in 6 or 7 hours total.  We fished about 3 hours each day.  We didn’t catch any huge fish but we did land a few in the 3 pound range.  I did not see any 4 or 5 pound fish.  We often do but not last week.  Tellico Lake and Watts Bar are red hot.  Gary came in yesterday.  He has been fishing Watts Bar as usual.  He is catching lots of big largemouth bass where he fishes, downstream from Fort Loudoun Dam.  He said he didn’t catch any smallmouth bass. 

Generation schedules today don’t look great for wade fishing on the Clinch.  Fishing from a boat should be good.  The dams are generating at Cherokee and Douglas today.

We have been busy here.  The first two weeks of June are up quite a bit from the same period last year.  May was very good too after the first two weeks.  If you remember, the water in our region was high and cold back then.  Fishermen are making up for lost time.  Fishing this Spring has been tough because of high, cold water. It’s great now.

I ran a report this morning and I’m amazed at how many fishermen are tying flies.  That is unusual this time of year.  I guess that has to do with the lack of fishing opportunities and tying keeps you participating in the sport even when you can’t fish.  We have been constantly ordering fly tying materials, trying to keep everything in stock.  At this time, once an order comes in and we put the materials on the wall, it’s time to order again.

Of course I’m tying like crazy trying to keep us stocked with Knuckleheads.  You can see how they are tied by CLICKING HERE.  I designed this fly for smallmouth bass to be used in rivers.  I have tied and sold hundreds of these flies but I suspect they are not used exclusively for river smallies.  I found they work very well in lakes too.  That’s all I’ve been using lately.  And, to make them more appealing to anglers, largemouth bass and huge bluegill love them too.  My goal was to sell 1,000 this year which requires tying 3 per day.  I tied one this morning at 6:00 am and I’ll tie more tonight.  It’s fun to produce something that sells and works. You can buy them online by CLICKING HERE.

I got home last night at 6:30 from work.  Paula was in the kitchen.  I started recounting what I wrote in this report yesterday about black bears.  I told her about the bear or bears that are roaming around Knoxville.  We live with bears.  They don’t bother us and we don’t bother them.  But, in a city it’s different.  Having big wild animals running around there can be dangerous.  Imagine hitting a bear going 60 miles per hour.  Imagine what parents must be worried about when their kids are playing in the back yard.  We are used to them here.  We don’t think much about it.

I was walking over to the liquor cabinet to make a little adult beverage and Paula said “Look outside”.  There was a huge bear and a tiny cub standing about 15 feet from our house.  I’ve seen a lot of bears.  I even go on bear hunting trips though I have never killed one and don’t plan to.  This was not your average bear.  She weighed several hundred pounds.  That bear and her cub were healthy.  The little cub was probably 15” to 18” tall.  It was really cute.

Mom and the cub walked into the woods behind our house and disappeared.  Paula and I were laughing about the coincidence of talking about bears and seeing them during the conversation.

I was still looking into the woods when another cub appeared.  This cub stopped at the bottom our steps that exit the sliding glass door on the back of our house. The little cub stopped and started digging a hole.  I was ten feet away.  I wanted to get a picture of that.  Paula ran upstairs to get her camera.  I slowly and quietly unlocked the door so I could slide it open to get the picture.  When I did that, the cub took off in the direction of its mom and sibling as fast as it could run.  Bears can run fast.  I didn’t get the picture.  I don’t know if I made a noise that caused the quick exit or maybe the sow called the cub.  I didn’t hear anything but the door was not open much.

What an interesting coincidence!

I went out to my truck, which was parked about 50 feet from where the bears had been.  I plugged in a power cord to the battery charger to maintain the boat batteries which I store in the back of the Suburban.  I didn’t take a gun with me and didn’t even think about it.  Those bears were looking for garbage and bird feeders, not me.  We don’t keep either outside.

We live in a cool place.

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

Byron Begley
June 16, 2013

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