Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a foggy and cool Sunday morning in Townsend, Tennessee.  The temperature at 7:45 am was 41 degrees when I drove to the stream.  There, the water temperature was 56 degrees, cooler than it has been since early Spring.  I can only image how cold it was in the mountains last night.  I’m sure there were freezing temperatures up high.  The low tonight is supposed to be 39 degrees in the valley.

Our town is quiet this morning but it is still early.  Mack, who maintains our landscaping and grass at the shop also mows a small field at our home.  Yesterday he came in and asked if we had any bear problems.  I told him we had not.  He said he was at our house the day before and saw a bear and two cubs run from our private road up to our house.  We are completely surrounded by thick forest and would not see a bear unless it was just a few feet away.  I’m sure they are there often.  Our neighbors see them.  I never do.  All I see are turkeys and an occasional deer.  Paula saw a coyote the other day.

Little River is still low.  We have had no rain in a few days and there is none predicted in the short term.  But, the water is very cool in the Park.  Fishing is good if you find the right water and stay hidden from the fish.  They are in the moving water where they can hide.  I talked to several anglers yesterday who did well considering the conditions. 

Orange seems to be the color right now for dry flies.  That color usually works in the fall.  An Elk Hair Caddis or Stimulator is what I would use and I would drop a Bead Head Pheasant Tail off the dry. Fishing is by far the best early and late when the sun is off the water.  If you go during the day look for shady spots.  They may be far and few between.  One guy I talked to yesterday said the fishing was great.  He was on the stream at daybreak.  When the sun hit the water, it was all over.

The lakes are surely cooling off now.  The last report I read was written on September 15th.  Most of the lakes were still warm then and the smallmouth bass fishing was improving but they were still hanging deep.  The fishing report I read was on the KnoxNews website.  That may be updated today.

A lot of people seem to be visiting the Smokies already though the Fall Leaf Looking Season has not begun.  I think a lot of them are local.  One family is camping at the Tremont Hills Resort.  They said there were very few campers there.  That is a very nice campground.  I’m surprised it was not full.  But, tourism is not good this year in the Smokies or probably anywhere else.  Look at the deals you can get right now.  Coastal resort areas are doing some deep discounting.  People are just waiting to see what happens. 

We have been slow too, most of the year but especially during the Spring.  May was the most disappointing month.  May can make or break a year.  Most of the guides I have talked to have been slow too.  There was one guide in here yesterday who told me a week or two ago that he had trips for about 60 days straight.  That is not consistent with what other guides are telling me.  He must have some super marketing department.

But business seems to be picking up.  This cool weather will bring the anglers out.  Our business has picked up and the guides I’ve talked to are saying the same thing.  I can’t blame people for not fishing much this Summer.  It was too darned hot!  I know I stayed home on my day off many times because of the heat.  This has been a crazy year that none of us in the fly fishing business will ever forget except for maybe a few exceptions.

But, we’ll all keep plugging along and get through it like we always have.

The National Weather Service took down the page that shows the rainfall totals at the Knoxville Airport.  I have been using that information for years on the side panel of this report.  Charles from Nashville gave me an idea to find rainfall amounts for this year.  I think I can make those work.  But, there is not data that I can find that gives annual averages based on several years which is important to the whole picture.  If you can find it, let me know.

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

Byron Begley
October 2, 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 October 8 – Beginner Day One
Saturday October 22 – Beginner Day One
Sunday October 23 – Beginner Onstream Day Two

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