Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny in Townsend and warm, 73 degrees.  Traffic on the streets was light this morning.  Business derived from tourism has slowed down some.  The younger visitors that we have here during the Summer are getting ready for the kids to go back to school.  In our County one school has already resumed.  Most kids here go back to school next week and the week after.  We’ll see the demographic of our visitors change to an older crowd over the next couple of weeks.

Little River looks great.  The flow is above normal and in town there was a little color in the water.  Yesterday I saw a large flock of Canada Geese swimming around in an area that was recently almost dry.  Those birds looked happy.  The morning water temperature is still hovering around that 70 degree mark.  My thermometer read 71 degrees earlier.  Flow in Little River is 145 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 118 cfs.

We may get some more rain today.  We got an inch at the shop yesterday and over that the day before.  But, it’s going to be hot, real hot.  If you go fishing in the lower elevations be on the water at daybreak.  By lower I’m talking about the East Prong of Little River near Elkmont and above or the Middle Prong way up on the gravel road.  As soon as the tubers wake up they will be in the streams.  Then it’s time to move high either by hiking a few miles or driving up highway 441 toward Newfound Gap.  There are plenty of cool streams up there and less tubers.

I would probably use light colored mayflies, small Yellow Sally stoneflies or beetles as a dry fly.  I might drop a Green Weenie off of one of those.  I would fish the riffles where the water is choppy and oxygen is more plentiful.  As morning comes I would fish the shady sections of the creeks.

Everyone I have talked to who have been fishing the lakes say the fishing has slowed.  People are seeing plenty of big smallmouth bass but having a hard time getting them to take a fly.  Again, fish early and late. Tailwater fishing for smallmouth bass has been good from what I have heard.

I talked to Steve Moore yesterday about Troutfest.  He is the senior Fisheries Biologist at the Park.  We discussed the problem at Lynn Camp Prong.  After removing all fish from the stream above the cascade and re-stocking brook trout and black nose dace, someone stocked rainbow trout.  At this point, the only remedy is electroshocking the stream to remove all rainbows.  Steve, Matt and their staff are doing that with help from Trout Unlimited volunteers.  This stream is about 9 miles long.  Electroshocking is very labor intensive and costly.  Before this new effort to manually catch the bows, the Park Service had already spent $275,000 to restore it to native brook trout.  Troutfest funds have been very important to this restoration.  This gives us a incentive to raise more money to sustain the new brook trout population.  This act of sabotage by one or more people to intentionally try to destroy our work is a horrible act.  They will lose in the end and they may have to pay for costly damages when they are caught.

I’m ready for Fall.  To be more specific, I’m ready for early Fall which is not that far off.  These 90+ degree days are getting old.  Most people don’t want to go fishing when the temperature is 92 and the heat index is higher than that.  I feel the same way.  Just think, what would it feel like to step out of the house in the morning wearing a light jacket.  Sounds good doesn’t it?  And what if the high temperature was in the mid 70’s.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  According to the website the average high temperature on August 1st is 85 degrees and the average low is 62.  And the average temperatures on August 31st are 82 and 58.  I don’t see a need for a jacket during August unless you are way up in the mountains or temperatures are below average.

September looks good.  The average high on September 15th in Townsend is 79 degrees.  The average low is 55 degrees.  Then on September 30th the high is normally 75 degrees with a low of 48.  That’s more like it.  So, we’re a few weeks away.  It will be here before we know it.  Fishing will be much better, maybe excellent.  I’m looking forward to mid September. Just 57 more days and we’ll be there.

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

Byron Begley
July 20, 2010

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