Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and warm in Townsend this morning.  Traffic is light as one would expect this early.  But, I bet there will be plenty of local people dipping into the river to cool off later.  I stopped to take the water temperature at the swinging bridge.  I heard nothing but birds.  The rabbits are out in huge numbers this morning. They were everywhere I looked.  Three bunnies ran across our private road before I got out of there to the main road to Townsend.  What’s going on with the rabbits? 

Little River looks great.  The water level is almost twice normal for this date.  Flow is currently 195 cubic feet per second.  Normal is 103 cfs on July 21st.  There is still a little color in the water in town.  I imagine the water is clear in the Park.

Fishing should be really good in the Smokies, especially in the Little River watershed where the flows are exceptional.  I would fish with a Green Weenie.  You might want to drive up highway 441 toward Cherokee from Sugarlands.  Up there you can fish the tributaries of Walker Camp Prong or fish on that stream.  Everyone I have talked to lately has done really well up high.  The brook trout are eager and the water is cooler.  Down lower, I would fish early and late.

I can tell you for certain, the fishing on the Little Tennessee River is slow.  Yesterday was my only day off.  I get Wednesdays now.  As usual, when I plan to fish a big storm moves in, unexpectedly.  I got up at 5:00 yesterday morning and left the house at 6:30 am.  It was pouring.  The little storm, just like last week was centered over the Little River watershed, Wears Valley and Townsend.

Herb, who lives in Wears Valley was running a little late.  He said the roads were covered with water and at one point he almost didn’t drive through one flooded stretch.  He has one of those computerized weather stations.  He rainfall was coming down at a rate of 5” per hour.  That didn’t last long.  We ended up with about 3” of rain from that little storm depending on who you talk to. 

We launched the boat around 7:30.  The water temperature was 80 degrees.  Nothing was happening on the lake.  The water temperature rose to 84 degrees by 2:00 and we called it quits.  We had a great time though. 

Herb is a very close friend of mine.  He retired from his job of running our County’s Convention and Visitors Bureau just three weeks ago.  I have been one of his biggest supporters since he took over 12 years ago.  In fact, I was on the search committee that hired him. 

He is a good fly fisherman.  Herb’s family owned one of the cabins at Elkmont.  It has been restored just recently.  It is the pink cabin.  So, he spent his childhood summer vacations living at Elkmont.  What a life. 

Today he will be the keynote speaker at the dedication of the Community of Sunshine, Tennessee.  Sunshine was purchased and developed in the 1890’s as a resort hotel.  Homes were built in Sunshine.  It is located near the Little River downstream from Townsend.  The Hotel was called the Sunshine Rest Cottage.  Edward John Kinzel also owned Kinzel Springs, a resort on the other side of the river.  People who visited the resort soaked in the Springs that were thought to have some sort of healing properties in the water. 

Kinzel Springs is now a beautiful residential development.  You can visit their website by CLICKING HERE.  See the guy fly fishing on the video?  That’s me.  You can watch the video, which is a television commercial for Townsend.  I participated as an actor for that ad several years ago.  At one point the footage was shot from a video camera mounted in the back of a moving pickup truck.  Huge reflectors were placed on the bank of the river to light me and the background.  It took hours to shoot those few seconds of footage.

Sunshine is the oldest resort that has continued to be inhabited in the State of Tennessee.  I’m sure Herb will do a great job as the speaker. 

I’m giving up on smallmouth bass in the lakes until the water cools off.  I am going to fish for stripers and hopefully figure them out.  I know where they are hiding below Chilhowee Dam.  The problem is the trees.  That portion of Tellico Lake was not cleared before the impoundment was backed up.  My plan is to anchor about 50 feet from the underwater forest, cast huge Puglisi Minnows to the edge and if a striper takes the fly, I’m going to pull like crazy to keep them out of the thicket. 

Some of the trees are actually sticking out of the water but most are underneath but visible.  We’ll be using 20 pound tippet and 9 and 10 weight rods.  You could probably keep a 20 pounder out of the trees with these rigs.  But, if you get a big one on I don’t think we would have a chance at all.  And, you would probably lose a fly that takes almost two hours to tie.

Smallmouth fishing on the rivers and tailwaters has been excellent. You can wade or float.  The Holston has been fishing very well. 

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

Byron Begley
July 21, 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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