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 58 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic is light.  I saw the man with the big dog on my way to work.  I have seen him almost every morning for the past 10 years or more.  He lives in Dry Valley, where we live.  He goes to a restaurant in town and eats breakfast with his friends every morning very early.  When I see him, he is driving home.  We always wave to each other.  I don’t know his name.  We are obviously both creatures of habit.

He has always had a huge dog in the bed of his truck.  The first dog I saw him with has passed away.  That dog was very friendly.  He never left the truck even though the man was in the grocery or a restaurant.  When that dog passed away, he got another big dog.  And, just like the former pet, this one rides and stays in the bed of that truck.  The first dog barked at every vehicle that passed by.  This one is silent.  He is a friendly man. I’ve talked to him a few times over the years, but I just never got his name.  He probably doesn’t know my name either.

We got some rain yesterday, about 1 1/2 inches in our gauge.  The Knoxville Airport reported 2.32 inches.  The streams rose yesterday and became stained.  We actually needed the rain though we are something like 19 inches ahead of normal for the year.  Our streams and rivers have been in excellent condition for anglers this Summer and during September.  I don’t remember when the sustained water levels were this good at this time of year.

Our business reflects the presence of good fishing in our part of the country.  We were up 64.6% last week, from the same week last year. An increase like that is highly unusual.  Last year, this same week was lowly unusual.  

Little River is flowing at 401 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.50 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 79 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:00 am is 61.5 degrees.

A gauge reading of 2.5 feet is very important this morning.  If the river is above 2.5 feet we call off our “on stream” class.  We don’t want beginners, wading for the first time doing it in swift water.  We have one of those classes this morning.  They will be going.

This is going to be a beautiful day and fishing should be good.  I would use nymphs and I’ll tell you why.  Yesterday, a young fellow came in and we started talking.  He was soaking wet.  He has lived here only one week.  He is a good fly fisherman from Georgia. 

Yesterday, he was fishing a double nymph rig and the water was slightly stained from the rain.  He said he was using a Prince Nymph and something else.  I can’t remember what the other nymph was.  He hooked a big brown trout.  The fish was running toward a downed tree about 70 feet away.  He put the pressure on and the trout broke off.

We discussed the size and compared it to an old mount that we have in the store.  The mounted brown trout is 29 inches long.  He said his fish was not nearly that long but it was fat.  He guessed at maybe 22 inches more or less.

The important thing is, he found out quickly that there are large trout in Little River. Most people don't believe it.   He was certainly at the right place and had the perfect conditions on his side.  He did not see the fish first.  He is going to be fishing for large fish from now on.  I could tell, that’s what he is going to do.

My only advice was, use 10 pound tippet and be ready to run down the stream after the trout once he is hooked.  Fish for them on cloudy days between now and February.  Be prepared for failure.  Cherish the moment, should it happen. 

He is tall and young. He looked to be tough enough to run down streams and climb over boulders while fighting a big trout.   I think he will be very hard on those browns over the next few years. I could just tell by talking to him.  His wife’s family is from here.  She is related to Jack.  Jack is the best fly fisherman I know. Jack catches big browns in Little River. This fellow has not met Jack but he has already heard of him.

The rivers look great today and they will be in good condition for several days.  It is going to be cool and Fall-like for a while.  I can’t wait to get back out on the water this week.

Today I will prepare the bank deposit from yesterday, make journal entries, enter payables, pay bills, write paychecks and make the payroll tax deposit.  I do that every Sunday.  I hope you are not doing stuff like that.  I hope you are going fishing.

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

Byron Begley
September 22, 2013

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