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 69 degrees in Townsend this morning.  There are some tourists in town but nothing like we had this past weekend. 

I was talking to Rob Fightmaster early this morning in the parking lot.  He was waiting for a guiding client.  We could see darkness in the mountains and it appeared to be raining.  The radar indicates it was raining but it has now moved on to the north.

Little River needs rain in the worst way.  Flow this morning is 51 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.28 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 122 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:00 am is 69.8 degrees.

Last year on this date, flow was 1,290 cfs or 3.88 feet on the gauge.  That explains why our first week of July this year is much busier than last year.  People couldn’t fish due to the high water.  On this date last year, the lakes were exceeding the TVA Flood Guide levels.  Norris, Cherokee and Douglas were busting at the seams.  I remember people talking about Watts Bar Lake last year.  It was very high.

You can find information, about conditions on prior dates by checking the Fishing Report Archive below.  I look at it often.  Those pages are viewed hundreds of times each day.

The weather forecast says, “Thunderstorms Likely” tonight and tomorrow.  I can’t wait.

If you fish in the mountains today, you will need to pull your low water tactics out of your bag.  Stay low, use light tippet and fish the choppy water.  The trout are concentrated in the best areas that provide cover.  They are hungry but they are not stupid.  I would go into the backcountry and fish smaller streams. 

Dry flies and nymphs will work.  I would use a yellow sally stonefly pattern for the dry and a Green Weenie as a nymph. 

The guides around here are having a fantastic year.  The guys who float clients in drift boats have been watching flows in the tailwaters and picking one that is perfect for that day.  They have enough choices to make the right decision on your behalf. 

The guides who are taking clients to the freestone streams know where to go and they are doing well.  They are hoping for rain in the Smokies like we all are.

Frank and I are planning to float the Cumberland River, fly fishing for trout in August.  We have been trying to line up a guide for a couple of weeks.  I guess those guides are busy too.  We have yet to nail down a guide.

I hooked the trout of my life in the Cumberland River fishing with guide Hagan Wonn a few years ago.  He and I both saw the trout.  It looked to be as long as my leg.  I was using 6X tippet so, the fish and I parted ways.  I didn’t mind.  I fooled him and got to see him close up. 

While we are there, we plan to check out Hatchery Creek.  This project is awesome.  Using the water exiting the National Fish Hatchery, a man-made stream will be built into a dream come true for anglers.  This stream is under construction right now and finally, after a couple of years of planning, the details are available.

CLICK HERE to read the article in Kentucky Monthly published in March.  This project has been the topic of much discussion, including people on our message board.

It happens, that the guy who designing and overseeing this project is also a member of our message board.  CLICK HERE and read his explanation of the project.  After reading this, you will be anxiously awaiting opening day like I am.  The finished project will include spawning habitat for rainbow, brown and brook trout.  Part of the 1 mile stream will be designated “Artificial Only”, Catch & Release.

The Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam has gone through some tough years.  A leak, found in the dam, required about 7 years to repair.  Generation and spilling during that time was almost constant. 

Well, the Cumberland River has come back.  It was one of the best trout fishing rivers East of the Mississippi River.  It may be that again, right now.  Frank and I may find out soon and I’m pumped about the trip.

Frank and I have been friends for 57 years.  We’ve fished all over the United States together.  We always have a great time.  I talk to Frank or exchange e-mail with him every week.  He lives in Kentucky where we grew up.  Frank and I met the day before we started the first grade together in 1957.  I’m a lucky man to have a friend like Frank.

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

Byron Begley
July 8, 2014

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