Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is warm and sunny this morning in Townsend.  On the morning commute, traffic on the streets was light.  I saw a flock of turkeys in the neighbor’s field like I do almost every morning lately.  I was off yesterday fishing and when I drove home late I took the scenic route up Little River for about 10 miles.  Little River is low but it looked great from the old road.  There were some people fishing for smallmouth bass downstream.  We need some rain.  We need relief from the heat too.

Flow is currently 44 cubic feet per second in Little River.  Median flow for this date is 106 cfs.  The lowest recorded low on this date was 22 cfs in 2007.  We all remember that year well.  The water temperature was 70 degrees at 7:40 am this morning.

I would think the fishing is a little tough in many of the rivers in the Park.  For some people it is fine.  They are used to fishing low water.  They know to stay hidden, fish the pockets and get a good drift.  They lighten up their tippet some.  And they fish dry flies and Green Weenies.  After what I learned yesterday, I would consider fishing an annual cicada pattern.

Fishing will be best early or late.  Backcountry streams are shaded during the day so try one of them.  Terrestrials are a good choice for this time of year.  These trout are used to eating all kinds of non-aquatic food.  They look for these bugs and they are usually floating on the surface. 

Josh Pfeiffer of Frontier Anglers and I fished all day yesterday.  We floated the river in his really nice drift boat. He is an excellent guide and he loves to float clients who target smallmouth bass.  That is what we did yesterday.  We tossed poppers, Stealth Bombers and one of his patterns that I will learn to tie, the annual cicada. 

Fishing was good.  Josh lost a huge smallmouth.  We caught plenty.  I did not keep count.  Every fish we caught took a surface offering.  And the fish fought like there was no tomorrow.  Smallmouth never give up.  It was a wonderful day.  It was hot but I didn’t seem to notice.  When I got tired, I took the oars while Josh fished from the bow.  He is an excellent angler. I enjoyed watching him fish.  I enjoyed talking to him. 

Both of us have made it a mission to learn all we can about smallmouth bass and the flies they prefer.  And we have spent time with some people who are experts, like Josh.  Dick Rollins from Virginia is one of them.  He is a smallmouth fanatic.  He contacted me this Spring and I referred him to Josh.  Dick caught some really big fish when they floated the river.  And then there are Gary Troutman, Lynn Hayes, Lefty Kreh, Bob Clouser and others who have shared their knowledge with me. Jack Gregory taught me more than anyone because we fish together fairly often.  He knows all about smallies.

Rods do matter.  I started fishing yesterday with an old Scott 7 weight.  It is a very slow rod that was made 17 years ago for steelhead fishing.  It works perfect for small streamers like a Pulgisi Threadfin Shad.  I couldn’t make it cast those large poppers.  I tried one of Josh’s Sage Z-Axis rods and did much better.  Then I switched to a new Temple Fork BVK that I brought with me and it performed well too.  When I did get a bass on the slow 7 it bent double.  That is what it was designed to do. I still like it.

Josh has this olive annual cicada pattern that we used in the afternoon.  All you do is cast it in a likely spot and let it drift.  Then after it drifted a few feet we plopped it on the water again.  Those bass would rise up and look at it.  Then, most of them sipped it off the surface.  The frequency of a fish staring at your fly then deciding to either take it or not really un-nerved us both.  And that happened a lot.  We had a ball.

Josh must have posted this story on his website last night.  CLICK HERE.  I’m twice his age.  I got home and sat in a chair until bedtime.

Ethan and Jim Gleaves fished the lake yesterday.  Ethan had the smallmouth of his lifetime on for a few seconds and saw it.  They had a good day of fishing too. 

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

Byron Begley
August 25, 2011 

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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

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