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.  It is overcast and 32 degrees in Townsend, Tennessee this morning.  Those leaves have not changed color here.  As far as I can tell, the peak color change may occur days from now.  I’m no expert but I have lived here 20 years.  Many of the trees look green to me! 

The higher elevations are a completely different story.  It is 14 degrees at Mt. Leconte this morning and they got a dusting of snow, maybe a ¼” yesterday.  Alyson reports that the leaves have peaked in the higher elevations.  Winter has set in there.

Little River is flowing low at 70 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.47 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 87 cfs.  The water temperature in town at 7:55 am is 40 degrees.  In the higher elevations, the water is colder than that.


From what I heard yesterday, fishing is slowing down in the Smokies.  Tom said he only caught three.  It makes sense.  The water is low and right now it is cold.  It will be Sunny and 50 degrees today in the valley.  The water should warm some.  Anglers seem to be doing best on small streams.  The brook trout are cooperating.  They are usually hungry.   

I think you should do your fishing in the afternoons for a couple of days until the warm air returns.  I would be using nymphs like Copper Johns, Prince Nymphs or Tellico Nymphs.  You might see blue wing olives or midges on the water, so be ready for that.  I don’t think we’ll see much terrestrial insect activity for now.  They say the low tonight will be 26 degrees in the valley. 

When water temperature reaches 40 degrees, most trout don’t each much.  Their metabolism has slowed.  They do not need food.  That is mother natures way of helping trout survive during times when food is scarce.  During the winter, food is scarce.  They brown trout are hungry so cold water won’t curtail their eating habits much. 

The tailwaters are fishing fine all over the State.  Brown trout are spawning so they are still very active.  The water is relatively warmer in the tailwaters when the air is cold. I talked to Josh yesterday.  He said the smallmouth bass are taking poppers in the tailwaters. 

Next week looks good.  It is going to be warm again.  I’m looking forward to Wednesday, my fishing day.

TVA plans to generate all day at Norris Dam.  You might squeeze in some fishing below Cherokee Dam this afternoon.  Check the TVA website and make that call yourself.  I don’t fish below Cherokee Dam so I don’t know.

Lake fishing for smallmouth bass has been good.  Josh and I talked about that yesterday.  He has a friend who fishes with conventional tackle and he is doing well.  I got a little action on Tuesday. The water temperature was 64 degrees.

All of a sudden, we are busy here at the shop.  Having the Park shut down and fishermen canceling their Fall trips has caused us to be very slow.  Maybe we’ll pick up again now.

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

Byron Begley
October 25, 2013

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