Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a calm Sunday morning in Townsend.  Vacationers are sleeping in right now.  The fog is thick.  On the river, a man stood up to his waist in water casting toward the bank.  We spoke but he was concentrating on fishing, not what I was doing.  The water flow is exactly what it was yesterday.  The river did not drop because we got a little rain early last evening.  That’s the first rain I’ve seen in a long time.  There will be plenty more to come.

Flow is 34 cubic feet per second compared to median flow for this date of 100 cfs.  The record low on September 4 was 24 cfs in 1987.  The water temperature is 72 degrees.

The cold front approaching us will lower that number next week.  We are going to see high temperatures in the 70’s for a few days.  Lows will be in the low 60’s and maybe the high 50’s.  It is going to feel like Fall, a wet one at that.

Tropical Storm Lee is going to have a huge effect on the Smokies and the towns downstream.  Rainfall is predicted to be somewhere between 3” and 10” with locally 15” readings possible.  None of the weather websites know for sure.  I know that we need to be prepared for a flood.  The “Big One” in the early 90’s followed 14” of rain.  Townsend was devastated.  Another unknown factor we didn’t have back then is the main highway through town.  In the early 90’s it was a two-lane road.  Today it is 5 lanes with a sidewalk.  Parking lots have appeared, including ours, where once were farmer’s fields.  Our infrastructure is much different than it was 20 years ago. I find that to be worrisome.  

Fishing has been slow.  Some anglers are reporting decent catches of trout but overall this low water has made it tough for most fishermen.  We probably won’t see the streams this low for a long time. 

After the waters recede later in the week, fishing is going to be excellent.  It will be like Spring with high flows and cooler water. I need to stock up on heavier tippet and leaders.  Some people will be chunking streamers.  Some large brown trout will be caught.  Unless we get more rain, I would consider a Smokies fishing trip next weekend.  Most of my friends will be fishing in the Park.  An opportunity like this doesn’t happen often in early September. 

Check out Billy Davis’ website by CLICKING HERE.  I’ve been in contact with this guy.  He is doing some amazing things.  This week he is filming a television show with Larry Dahlberg.  The show is called “Hunt for Big Fish”.  That’s Billy on the home page of his site holding a 52” musky he caught and released this year.

Billy is not a guide but he is promoting musky fishing on Melton Hill Lake, about an hour’s drive from here.  Why is he drawing attention to this unique Tennessee fishery?  He wants to show our State Wildlife Agency the potential for some incredible angling.  Hopefully, they can convince TWRA to continue or expand their stocking efforts and to limit killing these beautiful animals.  Recently, the size limit for taking one of these fish was raised to 50”. 

Josh and I were hoping to explore the lake for the first time this week.  The rain and high water might put that off.  I have also been looking at musky flies online.  These 9” monsters look easy to tie.  They do require a lot of expensive material.  You can buy them for $16.95.  You also need a 10 weight fly rod to cast them.  The fishing is year round evidently due to the steam plant at Bull Run.  The water is warm there during the cold months.  Baitfish congregate in the warmer water.  The muskies and stripers are there too.

Wish us luck during this storm.  The rain will begin tonight.  I will let you know what it looks like around here tomorrow.

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

Byron Begley
September 4, 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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