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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  The sun is coming out and it is 65 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The low temperature Sunday night is expected to be 59 degrees.  That will be nice.  It is going to be cool compared to a normal late July.  The water levels in our region are also much higher than we have during a normal late July.

Little River is slowly dropping to an angler friendly level.  Currently, flow is 420 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.54 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 137 cfs.  2.5 feet is on the high side of good flow in Little River.  The water is clear and the temperature is 63.5 degrees at 7:50 am.  We are not expecting rain until Saturday when the chance is about 50%.  Unless a stray thunderstorm moves in, the water in Little River will continue to recede.

That is good news for fishermen.  Fishing is picking up and getting good again.  You should do well in most Smoky Mountains streams with dry flies or nymphs or both.  I believe I would opt for both.  Pick a bushy, high floating dry fly today and drop a nymph about a foot off the dry.  That is legal and lethal in the Smokies.  For a dry I would choose a Yellow Stimulator or a Parachute Adams.  For the nymphs I would choose a Green Weenie and add some weight.  A Bead Head Pheasant Tail makes an awesome dropper too.

TVA plans to keep the generators off at Norris Dam until 10:00 am.  Then, they plan to turn on one at 10:00.  They go on to say they will generate with two or more generators at noon.  According to the TVA website, they are generating now at Cherokee Dam and will do so until midnight.  Douglas Dam is running full bore all day.  Check the TVA website before you go.  Don’t take my word for it.  I’m just looking at a web page.  TVA has all the levers and valves to make the difference between a trickle and a flood.

The lowland rivers should be fishing well for smallmouth bass, redeye and bluegill.  I don’t know personally because I have not been.  The temperature is right.  The flows are on the high side which would be great for paddling and wading in some places on Little River. My friends are catching fish downstream.

Paula and I did some exploring in new water Wednesday.  We launched the boat in Nine Mile Creek at Tellico Marina on Tellico Lake.  I highly recommend this marina and the harbor master Rodney Phillips.  Rodney is a great guy and he fly fishes.  He just returned from a fishing trip to Wyoming.  They have a great ramp and a safe place to store your truck and trailer.  Right now, the cost to use their facilities is $50 per year, which is a bargain.

We drove the boat around Fort Loudoun State Park looking at possible fishing areas and water depths on our sonar.  We putted around highway 411.  The actual re-constructed fort at the State Park is cool.  The park is an island connected to the mainland by two bridges.  They have a swimming area and a fishing pier.  We thought about parking the boat and taking a walk around the Park.

We were out there for a few hours and only saw 3 boats and 4 jet skis.  Only one of the boats was a fishing boat.  Like many Tennessee Lakes, they are underutilized.  We have a lot of water here and a low density of people by comparison.  Our view is always a weekday perspective which is skewed.  We never get out there on weekends.  We drove by 3 boat ramps on our way to Tellico Marina.  We saw 3 truck/trailer rigs parked at the 3 launching ramps we passed. There were two at one ramp, one at another and the third was empty.  And that was a beautiful day in July.  Surely, those lakes are crowded on weekends.

Think about this.  How many thousands of acres of lakes do we have right here near us.  Maybe I’ll count the acres and miles of shoreline some day.  All of these impoundments are within a short drive.  The major bodies of water are Tellico Lake, Fort Loudoun, Watts Bar, Cherokee, Douglas, Melton Hill and Norris.  There are smaller impoundments and tailwaters.  There are lowland rivers that are not impounded or have small dams used to grind flour or even produce electricity.  The small dam you see in Townsend on Little River was built for generating power a long time ago.

Fishing on the lakes may be slow.  Dog days are officially here.  I fished for a few minutes Wednesday, not expecting much during the middle of the day.  I did catch a catfish on a Rubber Legged Dragon.  I missed a couple of bluegill. 

We liked what we saw and we’ll be going back.  I spent a lot of time yesterday looking at the lake on Google Earth.  We normally fish upstream in the Little Tennessee River.  Where we were this week was at the intersect of the Little Tennessee and Tellico Rivers.  Tellico River is much more fertile than the Little Tennessee.  There is more plankton to feed the shad.  Fishing is known to be better where we were this week than where we normally fish upstream. 

I could tell there were more nutrients in the water than what we see upstream.  At times we saw fish attacking schools of shad.  That was a good sign.  The water temperature was 79 to 80 degrees. 

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

Byron Begley
July 25, 2013

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