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 53 degrees.  Can you believe that?  It feels like Fall out there.  It looks like Fall too.

Little River is in perfect shape this morning.  The water is clear and cool.  And, for this time of year, there is also plenty of water.

Flow right now is 173 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.89 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 74 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:50 am is 62.3 degrees.

Now, don’t think that the water is high after reading the comparison above.  It is not high.  Yesterday the flow was like a normal Spring day.  The river level has dropped.  September is historically a low water month in the Smokies.  You can see above, the median flow based on 49 years of data is 74 cfs.  The flow is currently double that.  What we have are stream conditions that are much better than normal in the two most important ways, flow and temperature.

Fishing should be great this weekend unless the fish are not biting.  The trout will be biting.  Trout in the Smokies are always biting when the conditions are like what we have now.  They are hungry.  They are wild trout and they are careful.  They are not easy to catch.  With 800 miles of fishable trout streams in the Smokies, you can take a hike and find some eager trout.

Personally, I would fish a small stream off the main roads.  You may see a lot of anglers today on the larger streams along the roads.  The sun will be shining bright.  I would fish the shaded water, which you can find more of on a smaller stream tucked between two tall hills.  As the sun rises and sets, those hills will block the light and you will have more daylight hours with no or little direct sun.  A narrow stream also has more tree cover.

I would use dry flies.  My choice would be yellow or light colored stonefly, mayfly or caddis patterns.  I would also use terrestrials, maybe a black foam beetle.  If you want to use a nymph as a dropper, try a small bead head fly or a Green Weenie. 

Anglers are also catching some nice brown trout in the Smokies right now.  I saw yet another fresh photo yesterday.  Nymphs will work best for the brown trout.  I guess the browns are thinking about spawning.  More people are seeing these fish now.  Some of them are out during the day.

The tailwaters are fishing well if you can find a good generation schedule. I’m hearing some great reports from the Clinch River.

The lowland rivers are in good shape close to the Park.  They may be off color further downstream. 

Fishing on the lakes is slow for fly anglers.  Warm surface temperatures are forcing our gamefish into deeper water.  Maybe this cool spell will chill the lakes a little and you will be able to find bass in shallower water.  I hope so. I’m ready for some of that action.

I met with Tami Vater yesterday.  Tami is in charge of marketing tourism in our County.  The tourism business is large here and employs lots of people mainly due to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  A big chunk of the Park is in our County.  Townsend and Walland residents are very dependent on tourists for our livelihood. 

Some very important features that we are blessed with in this area are the lakes.  We’ve got lakes all around us.  I have never seen lakes mentioned in the marketing tools used to attract tourists to our County.  Tellico Lake and Fort Loudoun Lake are large and the fishing is good.  Cherokee and Douglas lakes are nearby.  Watts Bar is only a short drive from here.

Did you know that most vacations are planned by the wife?  That’s what our tourism marketing people have been saying for years.  If Paula was planning a vacation for us, I would start looking at the location and find out what the fishing is like there.  If Townsend was the potential destination I would say yes and bring my waders and fly tackle.  Paula fly fishes so we don’t have a problem agreeing on a vacation destination.

If I didn’t fly fish, that might be a problem.  But, if I knew about the lakes I could bring my boat.  Tellico Lake is only a 50-minute drive from here.  And, it is a beautiful drive.  Tellico Marina has everything you need for an extended fishing vacation.  You can rent a covered slip, use their ramp, eat at their restaurant, fill you boat with fuel and enjoy some fishing or boating there, then drive back to Townsend or Walland for everything else.  That marina is about an hour from here.  It is nice.

I don’t see many tourists towing boats in Townsend.  I don’t see many canoes or kayaks either.  I don’t understand that.  I guess I’m not normal.

Other than a Winter trip to the coast, we have not gone anywhere on vacation this year.  Why should we?  We live here.

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

Byron Begley
September 14, 2013

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