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 sunny and 65 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It feels like Fall.  Visitors are walking and jogging around town like I haven’t seen in years.  The low temperature tonight is expected to be 59 degrees here and colder in the mountains.  This is the perfect 4th of July weekend in Townsend.  No rain is expected.  The Townsend fireworks show will happen as expected.  We will have people sitting in lawn chairs in our parking lot tonight. 

Little River is flowing at 67 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.38 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 116 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:05 am is 68 degrees.

Fishing is good and I believe it will get better.  Due to the crowded Park, I would fish early and late.  It’s not that there are a lot of fishermen out there.  You will see lots of swimmers, tubers and rock skippers during the day in the Smokies. 

Trout are taking dry flies and nymphs.  It’s hard to beat a Yellow Stimulator or Neversink Caddis right now if you want to fish with dry flies.  The GreenWeenie or Pink Weenie patterns are working well too.  Ants and beetles are a good choice. 

You will need to sneak up on the runs and riffles and blend in with the background to catch these fish.  They are skittish right now. 

Anglers are doing very well in the higher elevations streams catching rainbows and brook trout.  Some nice browns have been caught lately.  This has been a great brown trout year.  During at least one of the past few years, there must have been an exceptional brown trout spawn.

Research has shown and it will continue to indicate that we had another exceptional spawn last fall and Spring.  Young of the year brook trout numbers are looking awesome right now.  The lack of floods in the very early Spring is the reason.  The fry didn’t get washed away by high water like happens in some years. 

Exceptional spawns run in cycles.  Most of the Smokies streams stay near carrying capacity without a flood in the Spring.  A well timed flood can actually improve the fishing, as lower numbers of fish equal larger trout.  Many anglers prefer less trout but larger trout.  If the numbers of fish are low, you probably won’t notice.

A good Smokies stream with enough food, good water chemistry and cover can have populations upwards of 2,000 trout per mile.  I saw the result of a recent population sampling on a mid-sized stream that averaged 1,600 brook trout per mile. 

If we don’t have a flood next Spring, that number could climb to 2,500 trout per mile.  I saw numbers in this stream a few years ago of 2,500 trout per mile.  Droughts and floods determine the population density of most streams.  Fishermen have almost no affect on the populations.  Most fishermen who I know practice catch and release these days.

Today we celebrate the independence of the United States of America.  Most people are off today.  We will be here working for you. 

I never realized until yesterday that the markets close early on July 3rd.  I checked the DJIA several time yesterday.  It reached record territory over 17000 and moved on up to close above that new benchmark.  The new employment numbers have investors excited. 

Unemployment in the United States has dropped to 6.1%.  That is getting close to full employment.  I always considered 5% full employment.  I’ve been in business since 1973.  I only remember one span of time that the unemployment rate dipped to 4%.  1982 was the worst year for unemployment.  In December, of that year, the rate was 10.8%.  Those were bad times.

Get out and enjoy this beautiful weekend and hopefully you can go fishing.

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

Byron Begley
July 4, 2014 

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