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 and 72 degrees in Townsend this morning.  We have a 50% chance for rain today and tomorrow.  We could use it. 

Little River is flowing at 70 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.40 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 124 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:15 am is 71 degrees.

Believe it or not, fishing is good.  Go fishing on the smaller high elevations streams and you will have a ball.

A fellow from North Carolina came in yesterday.  He is obviously a good fisherman.  He fished near The Chimneys and caught about 30 trout in a short time.  He was on his way to Elkmont to camp. 

Guess what he caught them on?  Yep, a Neversink Caddis is correct.  But most of the fish were caught on an inchworm pattern fished weighted and deep.  He wasn’t using a Green Weenie.  It was something else.  A Green Weenie will work too.

You may find the trout, especially when the sun is shining, un-willing to take a dry fly.  If that happens, do what he did.  Fish and inchworm deep.

That is the best advice I can give you today. 

Oh, he was dressed in a camouflage shirt and cap.  Now that is excellent advice.

If you want to fish near here, try the East Prong above Elkmont and the tributaries to the river.  It may be cloudy today and if it is, that will be good.  You may also do well on Thunderhead Prong and it’s tributaries. 

Jack is remodeling our house so he is there when I leave for work and waiting for me to get home at night.  It has been fun spending time with him.

He told a story last night, one that I tried to recount in this report a few weeks ago.  I got it wrong back then.

Jack always wanted to catch a grand slam in the Park on three consecutive casts.  That means he would have to catch a brook trout, rainbow and brown in three casts.  He has not done it.  It hasn’t happened.

He did grand slam on two consecutive casts.  He was fishing up high one day using a two nymph rig and blind casting.  He caught a brook trout on one fly and a rainbow on the other.  He stopped fishing, and drove down to Little River to find a brown trout.  He found several.  He had to decide which one would eat.  He picked a fish.  Using a beetle imitation, he drifted that fly over the brown and the fish took his fly.  He landed it.  So, he caught a grand slam on two consecutive casts.  He is still trying to do it on three casts and especially in the same hole.  That may be next to impossible.

He is the best fly fisherman I know.  But, we have to admit, sometimes luck plays into our game.  That’s why people ask, “Are you having any luck”?

More good news from Lynn Camp Prong.  The population sampling continues.  The Park Service Fisheries Team and volunteers are finding even more young-of-the-year brook trout.  Last year, those baby fish were flushed out during the heavy rains.  This year, they fared far better.  There is one bit of bad news.  They did find one rainbow trout among hundreds of brookies.  I doubt if that one made it back into the stream.

When Lynn Camp Prong was a rainbow trout stream, it was my favorite.  Steve Moore, who is the retired Fisheries Biologist and I fished that stream one day and caught over 70 rainbow trout.  We were using dry flies, Elk Hair Caddis to be exact.

I remember Steve telling me that in good years, the population sampling they did, indicated up to 2,000 trout per mile.  So, since the stream is about 9 miles long, that equates to 18,000 fish.  Trout populations rise and fall.  One reason for that is floods.  A flood, that occurs at a time when the young trout are small, can wipe out an entire age class.  The effect of that the next year is, there are less trout but they are larger.  When an age class is eliminated, you don’t notice less trout, you notice larger trout.  The angler experience is often perceived to be better.

When Lynn Camp Prong is re-opened, after this massive brook trout re-introduction, there is no reason why we won’t see the same numbers of brook trout.  That stream has plenty of food and good deep runs.  The water is cool, even during the summer.  Lynn Camp is considered a mid-elevation stream.

That stream was chosen as a brook trout restoration project because of the cascade which serves as a natural barrier to keep exotic species such as rainbow trout from re-populating. 

The trail that follows Lynn Camp Prong is wide and has a low gradient.  It was a railroad bed and road at one time.  Jack remembers when it was a road.  He was fishing way up there one evening and his truck would not start.  He had to walk out several miles after dark.

I’m really looking forward to Lynn Camp re-opening to fishermen.  That will be a fun year.  I suspect that will also be a busy year at the shop.

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

Byron Begley
June 27, 2014

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