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 52 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The sun is poking through the fog which will be gone soon.  It is supposed to be sunny and fairly cool until Saturday at least.  I’ll tell you what, when I walked out to the truck this morning, it felt like Fall.

We got over a half inch of rain yesterday.  Little River is running a little higher and faster.  Flow right now is 63 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 88 cfs.  The water temperature dropped like a rock.  This morning the temperature is 65.7 degrees.

Fishing will be much better now in the Smokies.  Most of the streams in the Park are flowing close to normal, closer than Little River is.  You are going to be dealing with clear skies and bright sun.  You might do better fishing shaded streams and there are plenty of them. 

I would start with a dry fly, probably a black foam terrestrial of some sort.  But, a Yellow Sally, Elk Hair Caddis, Yellow Stimulator or a Parachute Adams will probably do just as well for you.  If you decide to fish with nymphs, the standard reasonable patterns should work.  They are, Tellico Nymph, Prince Nymph, Green Weenie, Bead Head Pheasant Tail or a Hare’s Ear.  Getting the fly in the right spot without drag and trying to stay hidden from the trout will improve your fishing more than choosing the right fly.

We should have some better fishing in the lowland rivers too.  Try foam poppers, Stealth Bombers, Wooly Buggers and other tried and true smallmouth bass flies.  If the river you are planning to fish is muddy, go somewhere else. 

We should see some better fly fishing action in the lakes too.  I have not been but plan to go for a few days in a week.  I am hoping these cool nighttime temperatures will cool the lakes down and bring the smallmouth bass closer to the surface.  I’m counting on that of course.

We have a lot of good fishing opportunities coming up soon.  I read an article in the Daily Times about the Fall colors.  That isn’t far off, maybe a month away.  That is the best time to fish except for Spring.  And, it is certainly the most beautiful time to fish in my opinion.

The brown trout will be setting up to spawn.  You will see them.  The smallmouth bass move into shallow water.  I have found they prefer minnow patterns in the lakes.  Tie up some Puglisi Shad.  If you don’t how to do that, read this article I found deep in our website somewhere.  If you forget to look you can Google “tying the Puglisi shad Little River Outfitters”.  Here is the link.  CLICK HERE.  The article is two pages long.  Click at the bottom of the pages to go back and forth.

These flies take some time to tie.  Losing one makes you sick.  A small shad can take 30 minutes.  A large one takes close to an hour.  The really big ones, 5” long take over an hour.  But, these flies hold their 3 dimensional shape in the water and they are deadly on smallmouth bass and trout in our lakes near here.

One of my close friends, who passed away a few years ago was Jim Jarvis.  Jim was our Federal Judge.  He loved to fly fish and in his later years, he fished from a boat in the lakes.  Mainly, Jim fished for trout, big trout.  I tied his Puglisi Shad flies. He tried to pay me every time but I wouldn’t accept money.  Jim was a very close friend and I miss him a lot.

A Puglisi Shad patterns is in my top three warmwater and coldwater lake flies.  They are durable, they have that three dimensional profile that makes them so productive.  When this fly is swimming away from a fish it looks so real because the belly and front portion of the fly is fatter.

I tie larger versions for other fish.  Using different colors of Puglisi fibers you can imitate almost any baitfish.  One of my favorites is the Puglisi Pinfish.  I’ve caught large tarpon on them.  They are probably my second or third best redfish producer.  Ladyfish and Speckled Trout love them.  Heck, I even caught an 8 pound flathead catfish on one last year.  It was a big threadfin pattern.  I’ve caught some nice trout on them in the tailwaters.  The big ones make an excellent striper fly.  By the way, I don’t think they are commercially tied.  They take too long.  They would be too expensive. 

I barely have enough tied up to last through the Fall.  I may need to tie more.  But, as you can see from the article by CLICKING HERE, these flies are more realistic than any baitfish fly you can tie.

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

Byron Begley
September 9, 2012 


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