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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and 71 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I drove to work at 7:30 am.  On my commute, I saw at least 10 bicycles for each car or truck.  Bicycles are everywhere!  People were taking them off their racks and putting them on their racks, parked in odd places.  A swarm of bicycles were coming down the road toward me when I pulled out on Highway 321.  Every car or truck that passed me had at least two bicycles on board.  They were going to Cades Cove.  The Cove is closed to motor traffic until 10:00 am on Saturdays.  It’s bicycle day in Townsend, I guess.  The tires on mine need to be pumped up or I’d go for a ride right now.  Well, probably not.  It is warm and humid out there.

The water level in Little River is low.  But, it is still higher than normal.  Right now, flow is 91 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.58 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 82 cfs.  Streams are usually flowing slow and low this time of year.  The water temperature below the “Y” at 7:40 am is 69.4 degrees.  That is about as warm as I’ve seen it this year at this time of the morning.

Fishing is still good.  Dries and droppers are the preferred “get them” at the terminus of your tippet.  Terrestrials will work well for the dry and dropper.  Try a foam beetle for the dry.  You could use an ant pattern for the dropper.  Ant patterns are hard for me to see.  The dry fly will act as an indicator even for a floating ant.  Other dry fly patterns I’d choose would be a Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulator or Neversink.  Other than an ant, choose a Green Weenie or small bead head nymph for the dropper. 

You better hide or you will be seen.  It’s hard for me these days but it is a good idea to stay low so the trout don’t see you.  Certainly, wear muted colors so you will blend into the forest background.  Heck, even wear camo.

You’ve got one thing going for you this weekend, cloud cover.  The sun will appear today and tomorrow but there will also be clouds.  That’s good for fishing, any kind of fishing.  Rain is likely.  The chance is 40% today, 60% Sunday and 60% Monday.  I think it’s going to rain.  After Monday, it is going to be cool, like “Fall” cool. Nice!

Excellent, unbelievable, great days will never be forgotten.  That happens every once in a while when you go fishing.  I’ll never forget the day Jack and I caught 83 smallmouth bass from 1 pound to 5 pounds, all on top water flies.  Jack told me that will never happen again.  One day, Paula and I had several hundred shots at cruising tarpon.  We hooked fish, jumped fish and caught fish all day until we were exhausted.  Our guide told us we would never have another day like that one.

There are days, if you are out there enough, when the fishing is so good, you will never forget what just happened and it may not ever happen again.  Those are the days we all hope for and they usually don’t happen. Go fishing often enough, and it just might.

Charlie went fishing in the Smokies this week and caught 76 trout.  I have never caught that many trout in one day.  He did.  It was one of those days.  Charlie deserves days like that because he is on the stream often.  He is also a good fly fisherman.

Charlie was in here yesterday and we were recounting his day.  Listening intently, was a man who is a beginner. I don’t think he has been fly fishing. Charlie set the record straight for this man who was hearing something totally unprecedented and to him, it might have sounded like the norm.  Charlie said “I went today and only caught twelve”.

Now, twelve sounds like a lot to a beginner.  I’ll take twelve. 

We had a lady in our beginner fly fishing class last year.  It was the Day 2 school, her first day ever on the stream with a fly rod.  Josh was her instructor.  They walked down to the stream and Josh immediately spotted a large brown trout.  I think it was about 18 inches long.  He and the lady student were discussing the fish and what a nice one it was. It was a long shot, but Josh told her to flip the fly over to the brown and see what happens. 

Nobody expected the brown to take her fly.  After all, she had never been fly fishing before. Her cast was perfect.  The brown ate.  She landed the fish.  It was the first trout she had ever caught.  It might have been her first cast ever on water, I can’t remember that detail.  I told her when they returned to the store, “You are ruined for the rest of your life.”  I could tell by talking to her that she was going to be an excellent fly fisherman.  She left that day with high expectations.  I think maybe she has had an even better day since. It’s just a feeling I’ve got, based on her confidence and determination. 

That was another day that will never be forgotten by her, Josh, me and others.

Have a great day and I hope it is a memorable one for you.

Byron Begley
August 31, 2013

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