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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is foggy and chilly in Townsend this morning.  The temperature is 51 degrees.  There were quite a few cars on the road earlier.  This is the Fall tourist season.  You will find most of the campgrounds to be nearly full.  What we have now is great camping weather.  People are taking advantage if it.

Peak leaf season at our elevation is a while off.  Even at 3,000 feet elevation not many trees have turned.  There are some yellows but very few red trees.  At the high elevations the leaves are turning in larger numbers.  A week from now this terrain will look completely different.

There are two primary components that determine good or bad fly fishing for trout in the Smoky Mountains.  Those components are water temperature and water flow.  Each one, when measured at extremes will result in slow fishing for the most part.  There are exceptions.  Those two components are perfect right now.  The conditions are conducive to excellent fly fishing in the mountains.

It will most likely rain this weekend and for sure, it will be cloudy.  Darkness would be a third determining factor of great fishing.  If it is overcast, fishing is usually better.  Unless the forecast changes, and we get very heavy rain, this is the time to be here.  I have not been able to say that in a long time. 
This morning, Little River is flowing at 122 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 74 cfs.  Normally, the water levels are low this time of year.  74 cfs is kind of low compared to Spring at least.  But, that is the median flow for this date based on 48 years of data.

The water temperature in Little River at 7:55 am was 59.3 degrees.  That is about perfect for the trout’s metabolism.  That reading was taken at the “Y” in the Park.  You would find cooler water in the higher elevations this morning.  The air is cooler up there.

The streams will warm some today.  We’re expecting a high temperature of 81 degrees in the valley.  This weekend will be completely different.  This weekend will be an anglers dream in the Smokies.

The highs on Saturday and Sunday are expected to be 70 degrees and 60 degrees respectively.  The low temperature Saturday night is predicted to be 47 degrees and a colder 39 degrees on Sunday. 

The brown and brook trout are spawning or beginning to, depending on where you look.  The rainbows are enjoying very comfortable conditions, and they will be feeding well over the next few days. Use dry flies or nymphs.  Be willing to change tactics.

Yesterday, the lake fishing was slow for Mike and I.  We bumped into Jack Gregory and our buddy Joe.  It was slow for them too though Jack had caught a few smallmouth bass on the surface using a black Knucklehead.  The water was very clear and the sun was bright.  The wind was light.  It was a beautiful day to be on the water.  A bald eagle flew by at one point.  That bird was huge.  How often does a person see a bald eagle when they are fishing?  Around here we see a lot more bears.  We see deer.  River otters are a common sight.  Wild turkeys are very common. I actually see more wild turkeys than I see squirrels.  Some lucky people see a bobcat.  I was fishing one day this Spring and another angler and his son saw a bobcat swimming across the lake.  They drove their boat close to the cat to watch.  That was an event.  Anglers here see wild boar.  Not often though. 

I can’t remember who told me, but at the time I was sure this person knows the difference between a bald eagle and an osprey.  Now I remember, it was Stan.  A few weeks ago he was driving through Townsend close to the Park entrance.  A bald eagle swept down in front of him and picked up some road kill off of Highway 73.  I saw that happen in Yellowstone one time. That was quite a sight. Stan also saw an eagle this week perched in a dead tree at the Townsend Shopping Center.

It is nice to live in a time when birds of prey that were once endangered are a fairly common sight.  We see ospreys when we are fishing on the Lakes of the Little Tennessee River.  This year we watched some fledglings learn to fly.  Occasionally we see a bald eagle.  Yesterday was one of those days.

The annual bear and boar hunt will be held this weekend in the Cherokee National Forest.  I can’t go.  I wish I could.  What I’ll miss most is seeing my hunting buddies.  And, I’ll miss those cold mornings in the woods listening to the hounds trail these big animals.  I don’t particularly want to shoot a bear.  I have had a lifelong dream of bagging a wild boar.  This will not be the year unless I spot one at our house.  I keep looking for one.  I know they are near. 

Get your gear out and go fishing.  If you live in the Southeast this will be a great time to be on the water and in the woods.

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

Byron Begley
October 5, 2012

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