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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a beautiful day.  It is 67 degrees and the sun is shining.  Wow, we have not seen anything like this in a while.  I’m going fishing this week.

Little River is flowing at 361 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.41 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 129 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:35 am is 63.6 degrees.  The water is clear.  Awesome!

Last year, on July 15, Little River was flowing at 128 cfs and the water temperature that morning was 68.8 degrees.  At that point we had rain, which pulled us out of the dire conditions we experienced early in July.

On July 1st, 2012, Little River was flowing at 50 cfs and the water temperature that morning was 73 degrees.  The predicted high air temperature on that day was 101 degrees.

What we have now are Spring-like conditions.  July is looking more like March, April or May.  The water levels in the Smokies are much higher than what we normally see in July.  The water is a lot cooler too.  Now, the levels have dropped and they are more fly fisherman friendly.  This is great news.  Fly fishermen are happy.  LRO staff is happy.  The guides are happy.  “Everybody happy, happy, happy.”

Fishing is good and trout are taking dry flies or nymphs, or both.  There is still plenty of flow so don’t expect slow moving water or shallow water.  I would choose a Parachute Adams, Yellow Stimulator, Yellow Neversink Caddis, Green Weenie or Bead Head Pheasant Tail.  Foam beetle patterns are a good idea.  Fishing should be good throughout the day but I would concentrate my passion on the shaded areas during the middle of the day.

Lake levels are dropping too.  That is great news for those who wade and fish the tailwaters for trout.  TVA is generating today at our local dams where trout can be caught below.  When these lakes get to a comfortable level for the flood watchers at the agency, we should see less generation and more fly fishing opportunities in the Clinch and Holston rivers.

The lowland rivers will be fishing much better now that the water has receded.  Smallmouth bass, rock bass and bluegill will be much easier to catch. 

The lakes should be fishing well too though I won’t know until Wednesday.  I’m hoping the water temperatures will be on the cool side and they should be.  That would be better for fly fishing with surface flies.  Willow flies have been hatching on some of the lakes.  I don’t know if they are still hatching.

We do have a chance for scattered thunderstorms this week, beginning Wednesday, my day off.  So, there is a chance that a large cell could dump some water in your favorite drainage.  Be aware of that. 

For now, let’s enjoy what we have and go fishing.  I am ready.

I was looking at lake data last night and found a mistake on TVA’s website.  Everybody is prone to mistakes. No big deal. Maybe it was a technical problem like we had last week when our server went down.  According to the elevation data recorded below Chilhowee Dam, Tellico Lake dropped 5 feet in one hour then rose 5 feet the next hour.  The number was right in the 48 hour report, just wrong on the hourly summary on the first page.  There is no reason to look right now, it’s gone.

I knew it was a mistake the minute I saw it.  But, I could not help wondering what it would be like, to be in your boat on a lake and have it suddenly drop 5 feet in one hour and rise 5 feet the next hour.  That would make for an interesting day.  I like reading TVA’s data and I think they do a great job with their website.  I don’t know how they keep track of all that stuff.

I was on a river camping trip with one of my buddies when I was a teenager.  We drove my boat about 50 miles or so down the Kentucky River to Dix River, locking through at dams once or twice.  We tied up the boat in Dix River, pitched our tent and camped for the night. 

The next morning, we awoke to find the boat sitting high and dry on a sand bar.  Dix river dropped after they stopped generating during the night and the Kentucky River did not have enough flow or depth to take care of the drop.  The boat weighed about 2,000 pounds.  I can’t remember exactly how we got out of that predicament we found ourselves in. I do remember pushing the boat into deeper water.  I think they started generating again which brought the water level up enough for us to make our escape.

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

Byron Begley
July 15, 2013

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