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 overcast right now and 67 degrees.

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is sunny and 72 degrees already this morning.  It is going to be hot again today.

Little River is flowing low at 65 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.37 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 152 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:05 am is 69.7 degrees.

We have a very good chance for rain over the next few days.

Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains is not slow.  One would think fishing is slow in the lower elevations.  It’s not.  I talked to several anglers who caught trout on the Middle Prong yesterday.  All of our beginner fly fishing students caught at least one trout.  Josh said they caught them using a dry and dropper.  The trout took the droppers.  That tells me the fish are not extremely active due to the water temperatures.

My advice, which would be collaborated by most guides and frequent Smokies fishermen would be, hike into or drive to the higher elevations where the water is cooler.  I would hike above the Elkmont Campground.  I love that water up there. 

Until we get some rain you will need to be extra sneaky.  Don’t let the trout see you.

An excellent dry fly pattern that many fishermen are using now is the Yellow Neversink Caddis.  This time of year, that is our best selling dry fly.  They are also easy to tie.  That little foam bodied fly has caught no telling how many thousands of trout around here.  For a dropper, use a Green or Pink Weenie.  Other nymphs will work too.  The key is to present your flies without spooking the trout.

Josh Pfeiffer is guiding on the tailwaters for smallmouth bass, almost every day this month.  He only has 4 days off in June.  If you want to fish with him, you will need to plan ahead.  The smallie fishing on the tailwaters will get even better.  He and I have fished in August together.  It was awesome.

It seems all the guides are all very busy. Evidently, the tourism business has been slow this Spring.  We think, due to the awful weather this Winter, kids got out of school late this year.  They were making up snow days.  That is purely speculation.  That’s what we think.  Now, the tourists are getting active. 

There are some folks working to continue trout stocking in Tennessee.  At issue is, U.S. Fish and Wildlife wants to cut spending by closing or pulling out of Federal Hatcheries.  Additionally, Tennessee Valley Authority wants to pull back trout stocking funds after 2016.  That would leave Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency high and dry. 

Not only would curtailing trout stocking be a bummer for trout fishermen, it would adversely effect the economic benefits derived from fishing in communities where these trout are stocked.

When the great TVA dams were built, cold water that is discharged changed the fishery downstream.  The water is too cold for some fish species.  Those species moved down river to a more temperature tolerant environment.  The ecosystem below the dams was forever altered.

To mitigate the damage, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Authority stocked trout.  The trout favored the new ecosystem.  Fishermen were happy. 

This has happened all across America.  This is not just a regional issue.  It is a National issue. 

In our area, several concerned anglers are trying to keep the stocking programs alive.  Our message board and others are hot on this topic.  These people, like Joe Congleton and others are leading other anglers to take action.  Joe is an attorney who represented Trout Unlimited in the fight to stop the construction of Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River decades ago.  Remember the snail darter?

I think it is working.  Even our own Congress is involved.  You can read about this issue on our Message Board HERE.

You can do your part by commenting on the TVA website.  There is no telling how many people have commented in favor of the agency continuing the trout stocking program.  I talked to two people who shop here and we are friends just last week.  They commented.  One lives in Florida and the other in South Carolina.  As we know, the internet is a powerful thing.

Read the story on the message board.  Our U.S. Senators are on this right now. 

You love fishing like I do or you would not be reading this report. We are outdoors people.  Just last night Paula and I were sitting on our tree deck.  A bald eagle flew over, right above the trees.  It took action, by outdoors people like us, to make sure bald eagles would be part of our life in the future.  Now, we see them often.  I have now seen three in the past three weeks. 

That is why I think it is so important to introduce young people to the outdoors.  Take them fishing. Take them hunting.  Get them into hiking and wildlife photography.  Go to the ocean and do some snorkeling.  Get them in a kayak or boat.  Let them see what is out there. 

When people learn to appreciate wildlife, from bugs to whales, it changes us in a positive way.  All it took was discovering the effects of DDT and banning it to bring back the bald eagle.

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

Byron Begley
June 23, 2014  

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