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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and 70 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I drove to Maryville at 7:30 am.  I had to go by to see our embroidery folks.  The temperature then was 67 degrees.  Now that felt good.  I’m back at the shop at 8:30 and the heat is rising. 

Little River is flowing at 60 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 128 cfs.  The USGS water temperature web page will not load so I don’t know that number yet.  I’m fairly sure the water is cooler than it has been.

The cooler water will improve the fishing in the Park but the dropping water levels will not.  There is a good chance for rain tomorrow, which might help the situation.  We’ll see what happens.  Anglers don’t seem to be discouraged and we are getting a few positive reports.  The trout will take your flies but you need to adjust your tactics for low water fishing.  They will be in the faster moving water trying to hide.  They will be easily spooked.  Stay low and blend in with your surroundings.

I would use a dry fly and fish the riffles by casting into the pockets and faster runs.  Where a riffle enters a pool, the water is deep and the chop will hamper the trout’s view of their surroundings above the water.  A good fly choice is a yellow dry that looks like a small stonefly.  A yellow caddis looks like a stonefly so that is always a good pattern.  A Yellow Stimulator is another good choice.  Black beetles will work.  Choose one that has a bright color on it’s back so you can see it.  And of course, a Green Weenie is another good choice.  I would add some split shot and fish near the bottom of the stream.

Park visitation should drop today.  Young people in many areas are starting back to school this week.  From their perspective, Summer is over.  There will probably be some families with young kids on vacation here, but not like we’ve been seeing over the past two weeks.

July was a strange month for the tourism industry.  Our entrance to the Park was closed for a few days after the storm on July 5th.  Motels and cabin rental companies had lots of cancellations.  Once the Park re-opened, business picked up.  Then it got really hot.  Lately it has been dry.

I’m working on this re-building or Laurel Lake project and I found two interesting bits of information regarding the environmental work that is being done on the Greenbelt Lake in Maryville.

First, the Corps of Engineers paid for 65% of the $3 million project.  And, the City used the value of the land for part of their in-kind contribution.  The land was valued at $400,000.  We can do that with Laurel Lake if we are actually allowed to complete our project.  That would give us some money to do more work that will improve the lake from an environmental perspective.

One enhancement they are building into the lake project in Maryville is a riprap wall slanting 8 feet deep toward the middle of the lake.  That wall will hold back a layer of silt that aquatic plants can be planted in.  When the lake is filled, that planter, for lack of a better word will be a wetland.  The water will be one foot deep from the bank and 6 feet out into the lake.  Then the riprap will slant down to the deeper water.  The wetland will act as a filter to catch contaminates, provide a nursery for young fish and other aquatic wetland organisms.  Additionally, the riprap will provide cover for more small fishes and invertebrates.  Think about all the crawfish that riprap will make the perfect home for. 

All of this is not only good for the lake, it’s good for fishing.  I’m all about that.  It seems that, whatever you can do to improve the water quality also improves the fishing. 

Tonight we are holding a get-together for the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  This party is for the host committee.  I’m looking forward to being with a lot of friends that I don’t see often.  The big event will be in October at Ruby Tuesday Lodge.  It is well attended and we raise a few thousand dollars for Friends. 

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

Byron Begley
July 30, 2012  

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