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 National Park.  It is very foggy and 57 degrees at 8:00 am.  Rob was talking to two clients in the parking lot when I pulled in this morning.  I’m sure they are headed into the Park for a day of fishing.  What a beautiful day it is going to be.  In fact, this whole weekend will be nice.  It will be warm today, 79 degrees.  Tomorrow’s high should be 74 degrees.  The lows at night will be in the 50’s for several days.  Awesome.

Little River is flowing at 272 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.19 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 92 cfs.  The water temperature this morning is a perfect 59.5 degrees.  The water is clear.  What we have a perfect flows we normally see in

I spent about 4 hours on the Middle Prong of Little River yesterday.  We were doing a photo shoot for Chota.  I wished I had not been behind the camera.  I would have rather been one of the models in the stream, fishing.  I did get in a couple of casts and got a strike according to everyone there.  I didn’t see it.  I was not wearing my sunglasses.

Fishing conditions are about as good as they can be in the Smokies.  The water is much higher than normal which is good.  Streams are normally low this time of year.  The water is not too high though, it is just right.  I talked to a couple of anglers yesterday who fished the Middle Prong.  They said the fishing was fair.  I have talked to several fishermen this week who reported fishing was very good.  The larger rivers are fishing well.  That could be because the brown trout are staging for the spawn.  They are out in the open and they can be caught if you are careful.  Don’t let them see you.

The stream conditions are perfect for dry flies and nymphs.  Try one or the other.  Try both at the same time.  You may see a few bugs flying around but presentation and stealth is more important than the fly you use right now.  A good drift with a fly that looks like food will work.  I would be fishing with a dry that I can see well and one that floats high.  You will encounter some fairly heavy riffles.  Fish the pockets in the riffles behind current breaks or the choppy water where a riffle enters a pool.  The deep runs should produce well with nymphs.

The higher elevation brook trout streams are in great shape.  Right now, you can go about anywhere in the Smokies and find good fishable water.

Some riffles and runs have strong current so be careful wading.

The lakes should be cooling down and fishing is probably getting better though I can’t personally vouch for that.  We were weathered out Wednesday and did not go fishing.  Next Wednesday’s weather looks good right now. 

Townsend is bustling with visitors.  Most of them are here for the Fall Festival and Country Fair.  There are antique tractors all over the place.  Paula had 7 entries in the food competition.  She said the auditorium at the Heritage Center was full of food entries.  Paula got a call last night from Kathy who owns Grace Hill Bed and Breakfast.  Kathy told her she heard that Paula’s three baking entries won 2 first place and 1 second place awards.  The judges are food writers and professionals.  There was no word on her canning and gardening entries.  Paula is going to the Country Fair this morning to find out how she did and look at the other entries. 

My favorite activity at the Country Fair is the greased pig catching contest for children.  It’s fun to watch kids chasing a greased pig.  The pigs usually win.  I like to watch the mule pulling contests.  It’s not what it sounds like.  You don’t have some burly guy trying to pull a mule.  The mule teams pull heavy loads in this competition.  I love to look at those tractors too.  I saw two flatbed semi trucks, each loaded with two tractors driving through town Thursday.  I guess there are at least a couple of hundred tractors on display this year though I have not been there so don’t hold me to this one.

My friend Frank Bryant who is the President of Chota came by to see me this week.  We went to lunch and talked for 2 or 3 hours.  I looked at some prototypes which I’ve been doing for at least 15 years.  He knows I would never utter a word about what he is working on to anyone, not even Paula or Daniel.  He is a world class inventor and designer.  We promised to go fishing together soon.

Frank loves water.  He ended up here at the University of Tennessee with a swimming scholarship in 1968.  This was the first team coached by Ray Bussard.  Coach Bussard led the Volunteers to an NCAA Championship in 1978 and coached the USA team in the 1984 Olympics. 

Frank spent much of his early career as a sales representative in the scuba diving and paddling industries.  He lives on a lake and paddles a canoe almost every day.  He and I were fishing on Melton Hill Lake one day near a bank.  Frank told me he and a friend were squirrel hunting at that spot years ago.  His hunting buddy dropped his L.C. Smith side by side shotgun into the lake in 20 feet of water.  They paddled back to Frank’s house, he grabbed his diving gear and went back to the spot where the shotgun was lost.  Frank dove down to the lake bottom and retrieved the gun.

He and I were fishing out of his canoe in an old rock quarry pond.  We were catching bass and bluegill on poppers and having a great time.  I asked him how deep the water was in that pond.  He told he it was 40 feet deep in some spots and about 20 feet deep in others.  He also told me he had crawled all over than pond’s bed while scuba diving.  I got a severe case of the “heeby jeebies” just thinking about that.

Frank is a very smart and interesting guy.  I love being with him.  But, he will never get me to go scuba diving with him. 

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

Byron Begley
September 28, 2013

Dancing Bear Lodge and Restaurant is holding their Fall "Fly Fishing Weekend" October 4th through the 6th. We had a great time at the Spring event! If you have not stayed at Dancing Bear Lodge, you should. This is the excuse you have been looking for. Please CLICK HERE for more information.

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