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 partly sunny and 64 degrees in Townsend this morning.  It felt like Fall this morning but this is nothing compared to the weather forecast beginning this weekend. 

For now, we can expect dry days today and tomorrow.  It will be fairly warm during the days, low to mid 80’s.  The temperature will dip to the mid 60’s tonight and tomorrow night.  Then, the rain and cool temperatures will arrive on Saturday.

Beginning Saturday, high temperatures will be in the 70’s with lows in the 50’s.  Rain should begin Friday night and continue through Saturday night.  It’s about time for some rain.  The streams in the Smokies are getting lower than we are used to this year.

Little River is flowing at 100 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.62 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 71 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:55 am is 63.8 degrees.

I was off yesterday so I did not talk to any fishermen. I know the fishing has been good in the Smokies.  Trout are taking dry flies with vigor or at least they were this weekend.  The water levels are dropping ever so slowly.  Rainfall this year so far is up 17.5 inches from normal.  The aquifer or water table is high.  That is why our streams are still flowing above normal for this time of year. 

I think fishing in the Smokies this weekend will be awesome.  Unless we get so much rain that the streams are blown out, this could be the perfect time to be here.  More water, cooler temperatures and overcast skies equate to great fishing.  A heavy rain could spoil it for us all.  It might be a risk to drive long distances to get here so keep that in mind.  Or, you might have excellent fishing.

There is no doubt, brown trout are showing up in the open water during the day.  That means they are at least thinking about spawning.

We are getting great reports from the guides.  The tailwaters are fishing well for trout and smallmouth bass.

Even the lakes are fishing better.  This has been a strange year for fishing the lakes with a fly rod.  I guess the folks who fish with spinning and casting tackle have done well, especially on the Tennessee River lakes.

I now have three flies that I know will catch huge fish.  By tomorrow, I’ll have four.  By the weekend, I’ll have more.

I spent all day yesterday learning to tie “Game Changers”.  I’ll try to embed a video about this fly on this report.  There are no guarantees.  I don’t do it often.

The Game Changer is an articulated baitfish pattern.  They look similar to a “Swimbait” type lure but they are light and can be cast with a fly rod.  In the water, the movement and lifelike appearance is like no other streamer I have ever seen.  I watched tying videos yesterday morning then started tying.  Since this was a totally new experience for me, the flies took a long time to tie, maybe 2 hours each.  I’m sure I’ll get faster.

The rainbow trout pattern will catch enormous brown trout.  I know it.  The Shad pattern will catch huge smallmouth bass and stripers.  I can just see it now.  I have quite an imagination when it comes to fly fishing. I usually expect more than I get.  The rewards usually pale to the size of my enthusiasm.  I tie some new pattern, thinking I’m going to “load the boat” only to get skunked at times.  Hey, that’s fishing.  I think the video will appear below.

This “Game Changer” will be different.  Paula and I plan to be in the boat next week drifting down the Little Tennessee River.  We’ll be below one of the dams.  The one we choose will depend on generation schedules.  Instead of our usual assortment of 5 to 7 weight rods, we are planning to take 7 to 9 weight rods.  Our flies will be “Game Changers”.

We will most likely fish below Chilhowee Dam in Tellico Lake.  We can drive upstream in our boat, which has a 20 horsepower prop engine to near the dam.  The water is about 6 to 8 feet deep when they are generating.  We will be able to see the boulders below as we drive upstream or drift back down. I always worry about hitting one of those rocks.  You never know what you are going to catch there.  Rainbow trout, smallmouth bass and stripers up to 50 pounds live in that river.  There are some big walleye in there too.

For those of us who want to catch monster brown trout, this fly in the rainbow trout pattern will be for you.  I colored two of the three I tied yesterday to look like rainbow trout.  The Game Changer will appear to be an injured and struggling 5 to 6 inch rainbow trout.    

Umpqua Feather Merchants will be tying these flies for us to sell early next year.  I think Daniel said they will sell for around $10 each.  We do have the materials to tie them now.  I used Hareline Dubbin’s new Minnow Body Wrap and Fishermen Fishing Company’s Articulated Fish-Spine.  I tied one using craft fur instead of the Minnow Body Wrap. 

If you tie your own, you must be willing to spend a couple of hours on a fly then lose it to a log in the river. But I think these flies are going to be so effective, it will be worth the time.  I like tying flies so it’s not a problem for me though I have not lost one so far.  I’ve never fished with one. I only have three.

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

Byron Begley
September 19, 2013  

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