Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  Right now the sun is shining.  Our town is quiet but the weekend visitors should be arriving this afternoon.  Also arriving soon will be rain and thunderstorms.  That should continue through the weekend.  And, it’s going to get cooler after today. 

Little River is getting lower by the day.  If the rain comes we’ll see the level rise back up, probably to normal or maybe above normal.  The flow is currently 62 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 153 cfs. 

Water temperatures in the lower elevations streams are warm and get warmer as the day progresses.  Chuck was on the Middle Prong of the Little River yesterday with some students.  The water temperature there was 74 degrees.  That reading was taken in the afternoon, probably at the peak during the day.  That’s way too warm for trout fishing.  It’s hard on the trout too.

If you decide to go fishing in the Park pick a stream way up high where the water is cooler.  Fish the shaded riffles if you can.  You should do better there.  Stay hidden and use light tippet.  Get a good drift.  You should do fine if you find water in the mid 60’s or cooler.  Fishing will be better early and late.  Try to be on the stream just after daybreak.  Try to be there an hour or two before sunset. 

You might want to fish the tailwaters.  I hear they are fishing fairly well.  The lakes are fishing fine early in the mornings and late in the day just like the streams.  This weekend there will be cloud cover.  That makes for some great fishing no matter where you are.  The water seems to come alive when the sun is off the water and we get some rain.  That should happen over the next three days.  The chances are very good.  I don’t know where this rain is coming from.  The radar map shows almost nothing in our part of the country.  I guess the moist air and heat will somehow form thunderstorms later today.

We’re fairly busy here at the bait shop.  Bait shop?  That came up yesterday in a conversation downstairs.  It dates back to when my Father was alive and I moved here from Nashville.  First, my Dad was not a fisherman.  He never took to it though he made sure I had all the fishing opportunities I could ever want when I was a kid. 

I decided to move to Townsend 20 years ago when I was 39.  My Father thought I was crazy.  I was not married at the time.  He said, “You don’t know anyone over there”.  He was right but I reminded him I didn’t know anyone in Nashville when I moved there.  I moved here and later Paula and I got married.  Then we got into the fly fishing business about 17 years ago.  Dad used to call me at work and ask how the “bait shop” is doing.  At first I explained the difference between a fly shop and a bait shop.  Later, I gave up.  He knew the difference.  But he kept calling Little River Outfitters a “bait shop”.

I always enjoy visiting bait shops, I mean real bait shops.  To me, it’s like going back in time.  My favorites are on the coast where you can smell the live shrimp tanks before you walk in the door.  I like talking to people who work in bait shops too.  A fly fisherman can learn a lot in one of those establishments.  Sometimes a bait shop offers more information than a fly shop.  Jack and I were in Florida a couple of years ago.  We stopped in a fly shop to find out what was going on.  Nobody there knew.  Then we found a bait shop and the man and woman who owned it were very helpful.  After our conversation Jack and I knew where to go, where to launch the kayaks and how to find the fish.  He and I tried to buy everything we could in there except bait.  I still have the map of the Crystal River area I bought that day and I looked at it the other night.  It is marked with a sharpie pen with the hot spots, all done by hand by the guy in the bait shop.

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

Byron Begley
July 16, 2010 

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