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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is Independence Day!  We are open from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm today.  Come on over!

It is overcast and 66 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It has rained non-stop since yesterday morning but the rain was light.  We had .70” in our gauge this morning.  Little River is flowing fairly strong but nothing like we expected.  Flow is currently 510 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.72 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 114 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:40 am is 61.8 degrees.

Fishing is probably fair in the Smokies.  I would certainly fish on a small stream in the backcountry.  I would also be very alert for rising water and flash floods.  To tell you the truth, I probably would not go today.  The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch.  Actually it was issued day before yesterday in anticipation of the pending deluge.  Yesterday was my day off for the week.  I didn’t go fishing.  I should have. 

If you go today, fish nymphs.  Try a Prince, Tellico or Bead Head Pheasant Tail.  A Green Weenie will probably produce well.

Maybe you can find a good generation schedule on one of our local tailwaters.  It’s an overcast day.  Fishing is good on overcast days.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is advising tubers and swimmers to stay out of the water.  That might include fishermen too.  The forecast is still calling for heavy rain though the chances have dropped from 100% to 90%.  It appears, at least for now, the heavy rain moved to our West.  Nashville and much of Middle Tennessee is getting it right now according to the weather radar.  It could happen here so don’t get too confident.  I’m just glad the heavy rain has missed us so far.

The lowland rivers are probably off color.  Little River is slightly turbid in town.

I would not go fishing on a lake on the 4th of July.  However, you might be surprised at how few pleasure boaters are on the lakes today due to the weather. I still would not want to be out there due to the chance for storms.

The tubing companies in town just can’t get a break.  I think there are three.  The manager of one tubing company was interviewed by a local television station.  She said they have been closed more days this year, during the tubing season, than they have been open.  As a business they don’t want customers to get hurt.  So, they have to make a decision every day depending on the water levels.  “Do we open or do we close”.  More than half the time they made the right decision to close.

We have had several rescues in the National Park due to high water tubing.  These are not customers of our local tubing operators.  They are people doing it on their own.  The tubing companies in Townsend do not operate in the Park.

I noticed a lack of customers in restaurants this morning when I drove to work.  It was earlier than usual so maybe that skewed my perception.  This rain can’t be good for tourism.  It does not seem to have hurt our business.  Maybe that’s because anglers have not been able to be on the water but decided to visit a fly shop instead.  I can’t explain this but so far we’ve been lucky.  May and June were great months.  April was awful due to weather. 

If this heavy rain keeps missing us today and through the weekend, the tourism business in our town might be good.  After all, it is cool and comfortable, much more so than on a usual Independence Day in the South.  The high temperatures are supposed to be in the 70’s and cooler than that in the mountains.  This would be a great time to go hiking.  Right now the mountains are fogged in.  I can’t see them.

I hope each and every one of you enjoy the holiday and stay safe.

Thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
July 4, 2013

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