Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It was 80 degrees in the shade at 8:30 am.  I’ll be glad when this heat wave is over.  We’re about there.  The high Wednesday will be around 84 degrees.  The low is expected to be 63 degrees.  That’s more like it. That is close to normal. 

A thunderstorm just missed us early yesterday evening.  I could hear the thunder but saw no rain.  But, it did hit somewhere in the Smokies in the Little River watershed.  The water is rising and the flow is above normal for the first time in a while.  The flow rate is currently 122 cubic feet per second (cfs) in Little River.  Median flow for this date is 113 cfs.  That is good news.  We have a good chance for thunderstorms today and tonight.  I hope that happens.

The added water supply will help the fishing.  I would still go early in the morning or late in the evenings, fish the faster water and stay in the shade.  Hiking into or driving to a smaller high elevation stream would be a good idea.  You will find cooler water, more active trout and comfortable surroundings.  Trout should be taking most light colored dry flies, terrestrials, nymphs or Green Weenies. 

Low water makes fishing for trout more challenging.  Trout like to hide and live in riffles where the oxygen supply is more abundant and the fast moving water offers cover which makes the trout less vulnerable to predators.  They hide behind rocks in the slower water we call pockets.  When food drifts by they will dart out and grab the meal.  Often the trout does not have a lot of time to make a decision whether to feed or not.  The water is moving the food fast and the trout’s metabolism is usually in high gear if the water is warmer so they don’t miss many opportunities.

Using lighter tippet will produce more strikes.  Today I would start with 5X and maybe go down to 6X if I’m not getting any action.  It is of course important for you to hide from the trout.  Wear clothing that blends in.  Do not cast a shadow on the water you are fishing.  You will need to make short casts in the pocket water to allow for a good drift.  If that fly is not moving at the same rate of speed as the current it is in, most wild trout won’t eat it. 

Fishing in the backcountry on these hot summer evenings can be a lot of fun.  Watch out for thunderstorms and sudden flash floods.  That does not happen often but it can.  Watch for discolored water.  A storm can occur upstream and you might not suspect it.  You can often notice discolored water before you notice higher water.  Watch for both when you know there are storms in the area.

July is our wettest month of the year.  I know that’s hard to believe but it’s true.  That may be because of afternoon thunderstorms, tropical storms from the Gulf or both.  I hope our July rain comes from thunderstorms.  We don’t need any bad weather in the Gulf right now.  Frankly, I don’t know what we need down there.  The Panhandle and Big Bend area of Florida is one of my favorite places to visit.  It makes me sick to think of any negative disturbance to that refuge.  I would probably like coastal Alabama and Louisiana just as much but I feel at home in the Panhandle. 

I was talking to a couple of grouper fishermen one day at a marina.  They were brothers.  This was about three years ago.  Their boat was docked next to one of my friend’s boat.  They told me about going out to sea and staying for several nights catching grouper to bring back to the mainland and sell.  We talked for a while and became friends. 

The next day I was at the marina again.  The two brothers were still there.  I didn’t expect the answer I got to my question.  I asked them if they would let me go out to sea with them and help.  I would not charge anything, in fact I would have to go to Florida and pay my own way.  I just thought this would be an experience of a lifetime.  Believe it or not, they said yes.  I got their business card, met their families and dreamed about doing this some day.  And someday, maybe I will.

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

Byron Begley
June 28, 2010

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