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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is partly cloudy and 63 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Wow, if feels great outside.  I saw Frank in his new Chevrolet Tahoe police cruiser.  He was looking sharp in that new vehicle. I also noticed his old police car was parked at Ronnie’s house.  Ronnie is our Police Chief. 

Little River looked pretty good.  At least the water was mostly clear.  Flow is still high at 500 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.7 feet on the gauge.  The water temperature at 7:45 am is 61.7 degrees.

If you go fishing in the Smoky Mountains today, find a nice small stream preferably in the backcountry about a mile from a road.  The smaller streams will be easier to fish and you should do fine.  Don’t expect low water.  We don’t have that here.  In other watersheds the flows could be lower.  I think a lot of people fished the West Prong of Little River yesterday. 

Since this is a holiday weekend, you probably want to stay off the rivers by roads.  There you will encounter tubers and swimmers.

You might want to use nymphs this morning and try dry flies later. You never know though, a dry fly might work just fine right now.  For dries, I would choose a good floater like a Yellow Stimulator, Parachute Adams or Yellow Neversink Caddis.  A good beetle pattern will work too.  For a nymph I would pick a Bead Head Pheasant Tail or a Green Weenie. 

I would probably fish above the Elkmont Campground on the upper East Prong of Little River.  A nice hike up to Fish Camp Prong would be my first choice.  I love it up there.  Anthony Creek in Cades Cove would be good.  Forge Creek in the Cove is another good idea. There are hundreds of miles of small streams in the Smokies.  Be careful wading.

I’m hearing some great fishing reports from those who fly fish for smallmouth bass on the lakes.  The bass are taking poppers.  Stan told me Dan caught a 12” bluegill the other day.  That is huge.  He released it.  I’ve never caught one that big.  I had one on once that was a 12 incher for sure.

We have rain in the forecast this week in the form of thunderstorms starting tomorrow and maybe earlier.  The chances are 40% to 70% through Independence Day.  That is not a good thing.  People who don’t know better will be in the river if the water is high.  The water is already pretty high.  

The Daily Times described rescues that were pretty close calls so far this weekend.  People on tubes or swimmers are getting stranded or worse.  Our fire department is trained for, and has extensive experience in swift water rescue.  It’s a good thing. They are going to be busy, especially if we get more rain. The water is clearer today and lower so maybe nothing will happen.

One young man almost drowned at Perry’s Mill.  He was lucky.  Another lady fell off her tube and floated through town screaming before making it to shore.  A family was rescued near the “Y” after being stranded on the other side of the river.  You can read the story on the Daily Times website by CLICKING HERE.

I saw a guy walking down the road behind the shop Friday.  He was wearing a bathing suit and a life jacket.  Obviously, he lost his tube.  The life jacket is an excellent idea. The businesses in town who rent tubes should offer you a life jacket. By all means take it and wear it.

A few years ago, a man came in the shop. He looked like he had been beaten.  He was floating down the river in a tube and got his foot caught under something.  The current kept pounding him against the rocks.  He was black and blue, head to toe. 

Another guy told me a similar story about his young daughter.  The same thing happened to her.  I don’t typically tell someone how stupid they are but I told this guy.  If adults want to put their life at risk, that is none of my business.  Putting a child at risk is something else.  The water was very high, much higher than it is now, it was muddy and they should not have been in the river.  People who don’t have river experience just don’t know.

I also told a guy on a motorcycle a couple of years ago how stupid he was.  Paula and I were pulling the boat over to the lake and this man and some of his buddies passed us on a double yellow line, flying on wet pavement, on a curvy road.  He crashed his motorcycle.  After I found out he was OK, I told him how stupid he was.  He agreed and we shook hands.  He and his friends came to the unanimous conclusion that I was right, they were all stupid.  Paula and I went fishing.  They waited for a wrecker.

I did a lot of stupid things, especially on the water, when I was young and somehow by the grace of God, I lived to tell about them and warn others. 

Have a great day and be careful on or in the water.  

Byron Begley
June 30, 2013

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