Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast in Townsend this morning but it is early.  We should see some sun soon.  It’s been a while.  Clouds have covered our area for days.  And that seems to be causing the trees to turn.  That yellowish tint is everywhere though it is subtle.  The Fall colors are not vivid yet at least not in our valley.

Little River is flowing about like it has been for the past few days except for the spikes caused by small storm or two hitting the Park.  Today, the flow is 77 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 87 cfs.  If you look at the flow charts on the USGS website you will notice that today’s median flow is quite a bit higher than the days prior.  I guess September 23 is normally a wet day causing the flow to be higher on the 24th. 

Fishing is OK.  Anglers are catching trout.  A lot of serious fishermen are out there.  Eddie from Mississippi was in town this week.  He reported fishing to be slower than it is during the really good months.  Catching 10 or 12 trout in a few hours seems to be the norm and that is what experienced anglers are reporting. 

The water, though actually at a normal depth in the streams is actually low comparatively.  On the Middle Prong of Little River for instance the trout are in the riffles and faster moving water.  Well, on that stream those areas are spotty, you may have a good stretch then maybe 50 to 100 feet of non-productive water.  So, you find yourself moving more and fishing less.  When the water is higher, there are many more options.

Those trout holding hot spots are also hard to approach.  Trying to get a good drift without spooking the trout is a trick when the water is low.  You have to get closer and stay lower so you can’t be seen. 

Dry flies are easier to fish right now in a stream like the Middle Prong for me.  I can see them (some of the time) and know if they are drifting well.  The larger rivers offer more opportunities for fishable water.  Elkmont has definitely been fishing better than Tremont.  I’m hearing that from everyone. 

As the lack of sunshine has affected the trees, it may also have caused the fall spawning trout to start early.  I talked to David Knapp about this yesterday.  I told him that fishermen are seeing brown trout out in the open and in small groups of two or more.  He thinks each watershed is different and the pre-spawn can start at a different time, maybe earlier or later in that particular stream.  But, that is fast approaching.

Smallmouth fishermen in the free flowing rivers are experiencing the same fishing circumstances due to the lower water we see this time of year.  Some runs that fish well when the water is a few inches higher are either void of smallies or we are scaring them to death when we wade.  My guess is they are in the shallows at night chasing baitfish and crayfish.  Then they are in the deeper water during the day.  I talked to some guys yesterday who floated several miles in Little River this week.  I put them in touch with River John’s Canoe Service.  They caught a few smallies and saw plenty of large fish.  But they were hard to catch.  And they were in the deeper holes that are hard to access if you are wading.  All we need is some more rain for river bass fishing to explode.

I’m looking for a flexible coating to apply to foam sheets.  I know, you are getting tired of hearing me whine about foam that doesn’t float well.  Well I’ll tell you something, other people are whining too.  They hear me whine and they respond. 

Why does yellow foam float like a cork and the same foam in black does not?  Eddie told me yesterday he tied up a bunch of beetles and they suspend just beneath the surface and he can’t see them.  Eddie, I feel your pain buddy.  I’m going to search for a flexible polyurethane.  I know it’s available.  I wonder if Dave’s Flexament is a polyurethane?  Many waders and waterproof breathable rain jackets have a polyurethane membrane.  The term membrane actually refers to a coating that has tiny holes poked in it.  I learned that in a manufacturers seminar on “How Breathable Waders Are Made”.

I am adding a lot of new fly tying tools and odd looking fly add-ons to our “in stock” list.  Listen to this.  Thingamabobber has a new Thingamabody using their “trapped air technology.  They are like a bladder that you tie on a hook.  I’m a sucker for trying to float a fly as you can tell.  They will be stocked in the shop.  Of course we will be stocking the Stealth Bomber cutters.  We should see them later next week.  How about those Fish Scull Sculpin Helmuts?  They are heavy and look like a sculpin head.  We’ll have those. Articulated hook shanks? Yep.  My favorite is the Gary Krebs Popper Jig Sets.  You can take a foam cylinder, put it in the jig, make a couple of cuts, poke a needle through the hole and you have a perfect popper body with the hole for rubber legs lined up and straight.  I’m getting one of these myself. 

It is still overcast and I wish I was fishing.

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

Byron Begley
September 24, 2011

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Our fly fishing classes will be offered from March to October 2011.   To sign up just call the shop at 877-448-3474.  You can read more on our website in the Schools Section.  The fly fishing class schedule follows:

Saturday September 24 – Beginner Day One
Sunday September 25 – Beginner Onstream Day Two
Saturday October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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