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, overcast, drizzling and 50 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I woke to the sound of rain last night.  I expected to see the river raging this morning.  We did have .30 inches of water in our gauge here.  The rain sounded heavier at our house.  Maybe I was dreaming.  Traffic is light but the restaurants were busy earlier.  There are a lot of folks visiting the Smoky Mountains right now.

Fishing should be excellent.  I think it is.  Yesterday I heard two people say it was slow.  Two young guys came in to discuss their morning.  They didn't catch anything. Paula found out they spent all of their fishing time in one area.  She advised them to move around.  Another fellow who was part of a large group came in.  He said there were 12 of them fishing the Middle Prong and none of them caught a trout.  That seemed strange to me.  No one?

Paula and I went to a party late yesterday afternoon at Elkmont.  The party was held in the old Spence Cabin that has recently been restored.  As we drove by the Crusher Hole I saw Stan and Mike.  I pulled over.  Stan was talking to someone downstream.  Mike said he caught 6 trout.  I don’t know if he was talking about the catching them in the Crusher Hole or the several hours they had been on the stream.  If Mike caught only 6 trout in a few hours, the fishing was slow.

The conditions are perfect.  The water was a cool 57.6 degrees at the “Y” at 7:55 am.  The flow in Little River was 103 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the same time.  Median flow for this date is 70 cfs.  Why would the fishing be slow yesterday?  I don’t know. 

One of our frequent Message Board contributors fished at Cataloochee yesterday and did very well.  He was fishing small streams.  He is obviously a good fisherman.  The conditions are the same over there as they are here. 

I am sticking with my assessment based on what I know and who I talked to.  Fishing is good. 

One problem anglers have in the Smokies is the reluctance to change tactics.  If you are not taking trout on a dry fly, switch to a nymph.  The Message Board contributor I mentioned earlier was using a FL. Pink Green Weenie with a tail loop that is longer than usual.  I’ve seen him hold lots of fish with that fly in it’s mouth.  But, I also noticed a Neversink Caddis.

I bet, those who are doing best are fishing small streams.  Sun is not a problem.  It was cloudy yesterday, and it will be cloudy today.  Catching smaller trout in small stream is a heck of a lot better than catching nothing. 

We are busy.  I think we’ll be up about 20% or more the first week in October compared to the same week last year. This follows a very slow September.  Sam commented at the party last night that we must have been holding some special event. He said he drove by and saw 30 cars parked at the shop. No, we were not holding a special event and I didn’t have time to look at the parking lot.

You should see the Spence Cabin.  In fact you can by CLICKING HERE and visiting the GSMNP website.  This cabin is one of many that were owned by families as their mountain weekend getaway at Elkmont.  This cabin has particular historic significance.  It was built in the 1920s by Colonel Townsend.  The last family to own it was the Spence Family.  My friend Herb was there. Herb spent his summers in this cabin when he was a kid.  His family also owned the cabin next door.

I remember, years ago, fishing at Elkmont and seeing all those people who owned the cabins enjoying their perfect home away from home.  After the Park bought the land, they allowed the cabin owners to stay for a few decades.  They had to move out in the late 80’s if I remember correctly.  I’ve heard some great stories about that place from Herb.  Last night he showed us the bedroom where he and the other boys slept.  And yes, the cabin was pink.

Greenbelt Lake in downtown Maryville is being filled right now after a $3 million restoration and enhancement project.  Read about it by CLICKING HERE.  It will be restocked with fish soon.  I’ve been watching this project progress.  Since we are trying to do a similar project here, I have been very interested.  The U.S. Corps of Engineers kicked in $2 million to re-build Greenbelt Lake. I’m really interested in the grant process of course.

If bird activity is any indication of trout activity, the trout will be active today.  I have my window open and about all I can hear and see are birds.  They are all over the place. 

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

Byron Begley
October 7, 2012

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