Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It was foggy at our house when I pulled out this morning.  Here in town, the sun is shining.  There was quite a bit of activity on the streets, sidewalks and the biking path earlier.  Visitors got out early today.  They know it’s going to be hot.

Little River looked good.  Due to the rain yesterday morning the flow is a little above normal.  Yesterday the flow was quite a bit above normal.  Currently the river is moving along at 153 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 137 cfs.  That is not a noticeable difference unless you are like me and have specific rocks to step on every day.  One of my most useful rocks for taking the water temperature when the water is low had about ½” of water over it. The water temperature was 70 degrees at 7:40 am. 

Fishing should be good in the mid to high elevations of the Park.  I was off yesterday so I did not talk to anyone about fishing in the Park.  Since the flows are normal the fishing might also be normal.  I bet the water temperature is above normal.  There is no database on water temperature in the Little River that I have access to.  I know it is available but I don’t know how to get it.

Terrestrials seem to be the go-to dry and wet flies.  Beetles, ants and Green Weenies would be my choice.  Also, especially in the evenings, any dry fly that resembles a Yellow Sally stone will work.  With today’s expected heat, I would venture into the backcountry where the streams are shaded and tubers are discouraged by the smaller streams. 

In a couple of weeks, believe it or not, tourist demographics will change here.  Kids go back to school in August these days, unlike when I grew up.  You will see less people tubing during the weekdays in August.  Weekends will be a different story.

Sadly, a young man drowned below the “Y” when he slid off a tube in that deep hole next to the sandy beach.  That happened on Sunday.  I read that the man could not swim.  I can’t help but wonder why he was not wearing a life jacket.  I guess, when I was his age, I wouldn’t have worn one either.  But, I was a competitive swimmer as a youngster.  I wasn’t fast enough as a freestyle swimmer but for some reason I was fast enough doing the breast stroke.  My coach figured that out and made the switch so I could stay on the team. 

But, even good swimmers drown.  Paula and I wear automatic inflatable life jackets on the boat while we are underway.  We keep additional life jackets, one for each person on the boat.  And, to comply with U.S. Coast Guard rules and good common sense, we have two throwable cushions.  You never know when or if you will fall in the water.

Yesterday we took the day off to go fishing.  Since it was predicted to be hot and there were no storms in the forecast early in the day we got up at 5:00 am and planned to leave for the lake at 6:00.  At 5:45 we heard thunder.  I looked at the radar on my computer and couldn’t believe my eyes.  A large thunderstorm was almost on top of us.  So, we waited until 6:45 to head to the lake.

I was driving with the boat in tow on the Foothills Parkway.  I saw something dark in front of us and stopped.  Two trees had fallen across the road.  Paula called Park Headquarters to report it and we waited.  Finally a couple of guys in a pickup pulled up behind us.  They attached a web strap to the trees, hooked it to the front of their truck and pulled the trees a few feet before the strap broke.  Then, one of them started hacking away at the branches with a machete.  Soon, we were on our way again.

We got to the ramp and there was lightning and thunder all around us.  We waited.  I watched Mr. Inman out in his boat on the lake.  The bad weather didn’t seem to bother him. 

We knew the storm was over so we launched.  The water temperature on the surface was between 79 and 80 degrees everywhere we went.  I knew the water would be much cooler at the upper end of the lake but we were running way behind schedule and running several miles didn’t make sense.  By 10:00 the sun would be beating down on us.  The fishing was very slow.  We did find some active shellcrackers in the back of a creek.  The sun didn’t come out until about 1:00 which was inconsistent with the weather forecast.  We should have gone to the upper end of the lake. 

It was still a great day on the water.

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

Byron Begley
July 13, 2011

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Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday July 23 – Beginner Day One
Sunday July 24 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday September 10 – Beginner Day One
Saturday September 24 – Beginner Day One
Sunday September 25 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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