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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is foggy and 65 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I am noticing a distinct appearance of Fall in the forest.  Leaves are falling.  Our driveways at home are almost covered with leaves due to the early fall thinning of the trees.  It’s normal.  It is expected.  Fall is fast approaching.  I’m ready and anxious.

Rain fell in the Smokies yesterday and last night.  We got 1 1/2 inches at the shop.  The Knoxville Airport reported .30 inches of rain.  I checked every flow gauge in rivers exiting the Smokies this morning and found the water levels ranged from twice normal to three times normal flow.

Short Creek, the spring creek that flows through our property is muddy.  There are two large springs that form this creek.  The water is emerging from the ground looking like coffee with some creamer added.  This aquifer is born at White Oak Sinks.  I think we got some heavy rain up there on the mountain. 

The water is probably muddy in Tuckaleechee Caverns which is the only access to this underground stream before it reaches us. Remember flash bulbs?  People used to mount them on cameras to take pictures in the dark.  I have found some old 1960’s era flash bulbs in the creek.  I guess, tourists took pictures in Tuckaleechee Caverns, then tossed the used bulbs in the water.  The bulbs eventually found their way, underground, to Short Creek.

Little River is flowing at 365 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.42 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 80 cfs.  The water was a little turbid in town this morning when I drove by the river.  The water temperature is a cool 65.7 degrees.

The weather forecast for the next few days is awesome.  It is going to cool off, dramatically.  I check two weather websites every day.  The consensus for tonight’s low ranges from 50 degrees to 54 degrees. The high today will only reach the high 70’s.  This trend will continue all weekend.  There is no chance for rain this weekend.

So, we’ve got cool temperatures.  The water temperature will drop.  You will be more comfortable camping and fishing.  That is the first compelling argument about going fishing this weekend in the Smokies.

We have plenty of water in the streams.  Right now, Little River is flowing at the high end of good.  The river levels are dropping.  The water will clear soon.  The water levels tomorrow and Sunday should be perfect for fly fishermen.  The trout will be scattered more than they have been lately.  Though it will be sunny all weekend, the higher water will help keep the bright sun from being a negative like it has been.  You can fish all day.

Actually, for some, the fishing has been excellent lately despite the lower water conditions.  I’m getting some great reports from the local folks who fish here often and know what to do when the water is low.  You should not have to worry about low water now.  Fishing will be good all weekend.

I love writing fishing reports when the fishing is good.  Look at the Fishing Gauge above.  It is now pointing at “Good”. 

You should do well with either dry flies or nymphs or a combination of both.  The yellow Summer dry fly patterns will work.  Try a Neversink or Stimulator.  Terrestrials are all over the place.  Plop a foam beetle pattern in the streams and see what happens.  You can drop an ant or Green Weenie off the beetle and you will catch some trout.  Another good dropper would be a small bead head fly, maybe a Pheasant Tail.  Tellico and Prince Nymphs will work.  You might spot a big brown.  They are out and about.

From my personal experience and fishing reports I can find online indicate the lake fishing is slow.  The water is warm.  High water temperatures in the lakes have ranged from the high 70’s to the low 80’s for a few days.  The fish are deep.  Fishing is fair.  Even the big bluegill are deep. 

The tailwaters are fishing very well, for trout and smallmouth bass.  Bill had a good day on the Clinch this week.  He didn’t catch any huge trout.  His largest was a 15” rainbow.  But, he reported good numbers.

Josh is doing well fishing for smallies on the tailwaters.  Smallmouth bass fishing during the hot months on those bodies of water can be excellent.  Smallmouth bass are hard to catch on the lakes right now but not on the tailwaters.  Fish the tailwaters.

We are on the verge of some very good fishing in all of our waters.  Fall-like conditions and plenty of flows are just what we want to see right now and it’s happening.

Plan to get out there and enjoy yourself.  This is what we’ve been waiting for.  Change is coming.  The change is going to be very good.

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

Byron Begley
September 13, 2013

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