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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast and 71 degrees in Townsend this morning.  We have light rain falling right now.  Later today the sun is going to shine and we are expecting a high temperature of 88 degrees.  That is going to feel like Summer.

Little River is flowing at 230 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.07 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 125 cfs.  The water temperature is 64 degrees at 7:55 am. 

We thought some strong thunderstorms were going to hit here yesterday.  It didn’t happen.  I worried that the rivers and streams in the Smokies would rise again.  The storms moved to the South of us or fizzled out.  What we are looking at now for the next few days is a low chance for rain and fairly warm temperatures.  The outlook for anglers is good. 

Fishing continues to be much better than we would expect in late July and early August.  Flows are relatively high in the streams.  The water temperatures are cool.  It is dry fly time again.  Many anglers switched to heavily weighted nymphs when the water was higher a few days ago.  Now, the streams are lower.  Fishing with dry flies will be good over the next few days.

Good dry fly patterns to use are foam beetles, Neversink Caddis, Parachute Adams, Yellow Parachute Adams and Stimulators.  This is definitely Green Weenie time in the Smokies.  You are going to be very happy with the fishing conditions over the next few days and through the weekend.

The lowland rivers are fishing well for smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and panfish.  Flows and temperatures are good.

Check the TVA website.  I’m seeing a fairly good generation schedule for Norris Dam today.  You might be able to squeeze in some good fishing on the Holston below Cherokee Dam too.  The Clinch River looks better, especially for wade fishermen.  Be sure to check with TVA before you go to verify the current generation schedules.

Paula and I woke up to constant rain yesterday morning.  We waited for a while then decided not to fish. Our boat was ready to go. I tied flies and took a nap.  It was a peaceful day.

The Townsend City Commission decided Monday night to appeal a Circuit Court ruling that Little River is in fact navigable in the legal sense.  That ruling basically confirmed that the river and riverbed are to be held in trust for the general public.  You can read the story on the Daily Times Website by CLICKING HERE.

I have no idea what court will hear the case next.  It may even go to the Tennessee Supreme Court at some point.

I’ve been watching these cases for years because they are often brought to court by a fisherman who was charged with trespassing.  One of the most memorable was the Little Lehigh case that was tried in a Pennsylvania Court.  You can read about that one by CLICKING HERE.  Many of these lawsuits involve private fishing clubs vs. non-member anglers who wade or float through the “private water” while fishing. 

Our case involves a University of Tennessee student who was tubing and tried to portage around a dam, then was cited for trespassing. The case has been heard by two different courts with opposite outcomes.  This is going to be interesting to watch over the next few years. This case will be closely followed by fishermen. Little River has been listed in Trout Unlimited's top 100 trout streams in the United States. Whitewater enthusiasts and their organizations will be watching.

I can tell you this for sure.  I have never been hassled by anyone while fishing in Little River on privately owned streambeds and I’ve been doing it for decades.  This is a friendly town and I have found the residents and businesses to be very tolerant of me wading on their property.  I have only heard of one incident where a fisherman was warned about trespassing and I don’t know any of the details leading up to that encounter. 

Townsend is a fisherman friendly town. Fishing in Little River is part of our heritage and culture.  Trout fishing is also very important to our tourism business.  I don’t think that will change no matter what the courts decide.  This series of court cases has nothing to do with fishing in Little River.

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

Byron Begley
August 1, 2013

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