Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  The sun is shining and the river is rolling through town.  Little River isn’t flooded or anything like that.  But the rain last night and the rain we have had this week sure has made a big difference in the water level.  Last night we got some more heavy rain, .7 inches at the shop.  And, early this morning the flow hit 700 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Right now the water is muddy and 348 cfs.  Normal for this date is 121 cfs.  The water temperature this morning in town is 72 degrees .  A few days ago the early morning reading was 76 degrees.

Fishing is improving in the Park.  Ethan caught a 14 inch brown this week around Metcalf Bottoms.  He goes early before the water warms up.  We’ve got plenty of flow and some color to the water.  That’s good.  If you go tomorrow, go early.  If you go today you might be surprised.  The conditions are good for catching a large trout.  The water is dropping fast but right now it is way above normal.

 I would probably fish with nymphs or streamers today and maybe switch to dry flies later.  The higher elevation streams will be cooler and the trout will be active.  You will find water levels to be high in the mountains.

Paula and I took a couple of days off.  We spent some time on the lake.  The water was warm.  The smallmouth bass were deep.  We found that out early Wednesday morning.  The normal places where we usually found bass near the surface were gone.  We moved to a flat that is about 10 feet deep in places, 6 feet deep in others.  We could see the bottom.  The huge carp were too tempting for me.  I bet we spent two hours trying to hook one of those 20+ pound fish on a fly.   I think I had one follow out of a couple of hundred shots.  We switched gears to shellcrackers, caught a couple then the storm hit.  Lightning was flashing all around us.  We made a run for the boat ramp.  At one point we heard a cracking sound.  It was not lightning, it was close and there was electricity involved for sure.  It was good to get off the water.

Yesterday late, we went back.  Bluegill were hitting fairly well on poppers.  We caught a couple of nice ones.  We anchored the boat in a cove between two visible flats that were covered with shellcracker beds.  We waited for a while until the sun fell behind the trees and shade covered the beds.  The fish never came.  We caught a couple and that was about it.  The go-to fly was certainly a #10 black foam popper.

It looks like the heat wave will continue for a few more days.  High temperatures during the day are predicted to be in the low 90’s for the next 10 days.  When will it end?  The heat is keeping anglers off the water.  Our business was down last week when compared to the same week a year ago.  That has not happened in a while.  It’s the heat!  I remember a time when the heat would keep me off the water.  For some reason that doesn’t bother me anymore.  You can almost always find sporadic shade. 

You can’t find shade when you are tarpon fishing.  We used to spend 9 days a year, on a boat, in the ocean, with absolutely no shade, fly fishing for tarpon.  Sometimes the temperature was in the 90’s with no wind.  After a while, I got used to it.  I expected it.  It was worth it.

I spent a few hours baking in the sun this week.  Yesterday, Paula and I anchored the boat in the sun to wait for it to drop.  It was 90 degrees.  I would rather be sitting in the boat, in the hot sun than sitting in a building with the thermostat set on 70.  When given the choice I’ll pick the boat over the office.

Fly fishing in the Smokies offers plenty of shade, especially if you fish the smaller streams in the backcountry.  You can find comfort in the backcountry and you can find solitude, especially on weekdays. 

I never fish on weekends.  I work on weekends.  So, it is hard for me to realize what people are talking about when they discuss crowded fishing conditions around here.  I just have not experienced it.  I believe what I hear.  That’s going to change now.  We are going to see less tourists here.  It’s transition time in the tourism business in the Smokies. 

In a couple of weeks we should also see cooler temperatures.  The average high in August is 84 degrees.  The average low is 60 degrees.  After what we’ve been experiencing, that would feel like winter.  Then in September the averages are 79 and 54.  That’s what I’m looking forward to.  Fishing will really pick back up then, especially if the water levels are in good shape.  It won’t be long folks.

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

Byron Begley
July 30, 2010

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