Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is partly cloudy and 64 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I woke up at 5:00 am and was upset because the rain missed us again.  We can’t get a break.  As usual I made coffee and booted up my Mac to read the news.  I looked at the USGS Water Gauge and I was shocked.  At that time the gauge reading was 3.3 feet.  Now the gauge is reading 3.6 feet.  We got some heavy rain late last night in the Park.  After midnight the level shot straight up.  That is great news.

I stopped at the swinging bridge on my way to work.  She was flowing strong and turbid.  The water was the color of mud.  When I arrived here I checked the rain gauge.  We had .75” of rain during the past 24 hours.

Right now, Little River is flowing at 1,070 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 80 cfs.  The highest flow recorded on this date in 48 years was 1,360 cfs in 1990.  We’ve got some water!  We may get some more rain today.  There is a 50% chance but the radar does not indicate anything moving our way.  I think the rain is over.  All the flow gauges in our area look almost identical.  We have excellent flows in most of the watersheds, maybe all of them in the Smokies.

Be careful wading.  I would wait a day or so.  These currents are strong.  You can fish but stay close to the bank.  Use nymphs or streamers.

We have a beautiful week ahead with sunny days, highs in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s.  We’ll see some warm days through Friday.  By the weekend, fishing will be excellent.  There is a slight chance for rain on Saturday and Sunday.  It is going to be cool.  The high Sunday is supposed to be in the low 60’s.  The low temperature Sunday is predicted to be 40 degrees at this point.  I think we’re going to have Fall fly fishing at it’s best in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Bring it on.

I’m taking a couple of days off, tomorrow and Thursday.  I haven’t had one in 12 days.  My plan is to fish at least one lake and hopefully catch some smallmouth bass.  When the conditions are like this, smallmouth tend to be near fallen trees and woody debris.  In the Spring we catch them on rocky banks.  I’ve had some excellent Fall days casting a small shad pattern toward the bank and just letting it sink.  The flies I tie sink but the nose is not down.  They are just falling naturally.  I keep a tight line and wait.  If nothing happens after a few seconds I give the shad pattern a twitch.  Sometimes that brings on the strike. 

All of a sudden, it is foggy outside.  I can’t see the mountains anymore.

The leaves are turning in the valley and they are more colorful in the high elevations.  There is a lot more traffic in town.  This weekend should be busy with anglers and leaf lookers.  People will be getting out and enjoying the Smokies. 

Big fish hunters will be out too.  This is what they have been waiting for.  Lynn was out there yesterday.  I don’t know what he saw.  He probably saw plenty of large brown trout.  Seeing is not necessarily catching.  In fact, Jack prefers to watch this time of year.  He doesn’t want to bother the spawners.  After they spawn, they are fair game.  This past Winter he caught a 30” brown in Little River.  Last Fall, Lynn hooked one that large.  These guys are seeing plenty of browns over the 24” mark.  Like I said, seeing is not necessarily catching.  Catching will be much better now that we have some flow in the streams.  We’ve got enough flow to last for a week or more.

The brook trout in the Clinch River are colored up for the spawn.  They may not actually spawn but they are dressed for it anyway. Anglers are saying these fish are beautiful right now.

The brown trout in all the tailwaters should be getting more active just like they are in the mountains.  My favorite tailwater month used to be December when I fished those rivers.  I caught bigger brown trout in December. 

Get ready for some great fishing.  It is finally time. It is also time to pull out your cold weather clothing.  Next week the lows should be in the 40’s every day and in the low 40’s at times. 

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

Byron Begley
October 2, 2012

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