Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and warm this morning in Townsend.  Traffic is light and activity is low.  The river is low too.  The storms that were predicted yesterday did not materialize.  We may get some rain today.  It is going to cool off this week starting tomorrow.  I’m planning to go fishing on my day off which is Wednesday.  I talked to a couple of guys around closing time yesterday.  They did well fishing on the lower Little River.  They caught some big bluegill.  I think I’ll fish for smallmouth bass at the lower end of town.  Or, I’ll see if Michael Talley wants to launch a canoe above the dam in Townsend and fish early Wednesday morning.  That sounds like a good idea.

Like I said, the water flow is low, 94 cubic feet per second right now.  Median flow for this date is 123 cfs.  So you need to be extra stealthy when fishing for trout in the Park.  Early and late will be the best times unless we have cloud cover.  Fishing is pretty good depending on where you are.  One guy told me yesterday he fished the lower stretch of the West Prong Little Pigeon.  He said the fishing was slow there and the water was very high.  There must have been some rain in that watershed in the Park night before last. 

I would use dry terrestrials or Green Weenies.  The trout are going to be hiding in the choppy water or riffles.  You must blend in and get a good drift to be successful.  It’s also a good idea to stay low.  Do anything you can to hide from the trout.  This is most important when the water is low like it is now in the Little River drainage.

There is an interesting debate going on in town.  It has to do with Little River and wading in the river. The big question: Is the river navigable or not?  The Corps of Engineers lists Little River as navigable from the mouth and upstream over 50 miles to Elkmont.   You can access the Corps of Engineers page by CLICKING HERE.  Click on “Tennessee River and Tributaries to see that list.  Little River is clearly there.  I’m going to call them today.

These issues are being tested in the courts all over the country.  I can only find two cases in Tennessee.  I think one is still locked up in the Tennessee Supreme Court.  It involves a dispute between the City of Murfreesboro and a land owner.  Another is in West Tennessee on the Wolf River.  Landowner/angler trespassing issues have occurred all around us but I don’t think any have ended up in the courts.  One was on the South Holston River.  I don’t know if it was ever settled.

People are buying riverfront property and building high end fishing lodges and clubs.  One case on the Little Juniata River in Pennsylvania has been an important one to watch.  That landowner tried to keep non-member fishermen out of “his water”.  That one went to court and the judge found in favor of the public, not the landowner.  The Little Juniata River is a navigable river.

Public access laws in Tennessee are vague. Nobody knows what to do. I’m hoping some anglers who are attorneys and judges will look into this and clear it up in Tennessee for good.  Since there is apparently no legal precedence in Tennessee, local governments don’t know what to do. I think they are surely trying to do the right thing. Our government is trying to do the right thing.

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

Byron Begley
August 8, 2011

Respond to:


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 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

Respond to:

Home - Contact Us - About Us - Fishing Report - Online Catalog - Message Board - Sitemap