Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is another sunny hot morning in Townsend, Tennessee.  I noticed some wild turkey hens in the field by our house on the way out earlier.  They both had youngsters.  I see them all the time.  They are fun to watch.  Those poults can fly. 

Traffic on the streets is heavy due to tourism and people who are drawn to the mountains for relief from the heat.  I think I’ll stay inside until this heat wave is over.  That is coming soon.  Next week we are going to see high temperatures in the 80’s and lows in the 60’s.  I can’t wait.  We may get some rain this afternoon and tonight.

Little River is low.  All the streams in the Park are low.  The flow rate at the “Y” is 72 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 124 cfs. 

We have some students going into the Park with instructors today.  They are downstairs getting ready now.  I guess they will start out at Metcalf Bottoms then end the day on the Middle Prong.  That’s the way it usually works.

Fishing is not at it’s best.  You will do better early in the morning and late in the evening.  I would fish higher elevation streams where the water is cooler.  A high elevation, small, backcountry stream would be ideal.  There you should find lots of shade and comfortable surroundings for you and the trout.  The trout are trying to hide in this low water.  I think you will do better in the riffles and choppy water.  Try small yellow dry flies such as Yellow Sally patterns, Yellow Elk Hair Caddis and light colored Parachute Mayfly patterns. 

My buddy, Frank Brown came down from Kentucky yesterday to spend the night.  He didn’t tell me he was coming.  We started the first grade together which puts us in a friendship category of over 50 years.  We had a great time.  We talked into the night about all of our fishing trips we’ve taken. 

One of our favorites occurred in the early 1980’s.  It was our first trip to Yellowstone.  We arrived at Chico Hot Springs in Paradise Valley Montana, checked in then walked over to the fly shop.  We could hear a guide talking to a client on the phone.  His clients cancelled their trip.  It was late in the afternoon and we were tired from the trip.

The guide asked us if we wanted to take an evening float down the Yellowstone River.  He said we would need to be able to strip streamers.  Frank insisted we go and we did.  I’m glad.  During that four-hour float we landed about 10 or 12 brown trout ranging in size from 19” to 22”.  Our wooly buggers had to be cast right next to the bank as we floated by.  If you made a good cast, maybe a few inches from the bank, those browns would explode on your fly.  I don’t know how many we lost.

It turns out fishing had been slow but there are a lot of people who don’t like fishing streamers.  Frank and I like slinging lead.  We got back to Chico that night, took a shower and walked to the saloon for a beverage and some food.  When we walked into the saloon someone said, “There they are ”.  Everyone in the room looked at Frank and I.  People stood up and came over to us.  I think we even got some free beer.  We found out we had broken the spell.  The guides could tell their clients that fishing is good again.  Prosperity was back in the valley.

Earlier that day there was a chalk board in the shop that described the fishing conditions.  Anyone reading it would walk away a little disappointed.  But the next day the sign had been changed.  The headline read, “Evening Fishing on the Yellowstone – Red Hot”. 

I know there was a lot of luck involved, being at the right place at the right time.  Also, we were willing to get out there and chunk streamers until dark.  Sometimes that’s what it takes.  We held our heads high and in our minds, skill was involved to a certain extent.  There are those days, if you go fishing enough, when no matter what you do, the fishing is excellent.  I’ve had two of those days this year already, fishing for smallmouth bass with Jack.  You don’t forget those days.  They are far and few between.  Over time they become closer and dear.  And really, it’s not the fish that count.  It’s the friendship experience you remember forever. 

I love Frank.  It’s great to have him here right now. 

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

Byron Begley
June 27, 2010

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