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 foggy and 29 degrees in Townsend, Tennessee this morning.  We have a very heavy frost on the ground and other horizontal surfaces.  Traffic was light on my way to work.  Visitors are sleeping in.  I don’t blame them.

Little River is flowing at 70 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.47 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 84 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:48 am is 44 degrees.  At this time of year, the average flow in streams here rise.  We start getting rain usually by now.  It has been dry for the past few days.  The streams would be lower during most years under these circumstances.  However, rainfall amounts are way above average for the year.  So, the water table is high.  The stream flows are just barely decreasing each day.

Fishing is pretty good.  The cold temperatures and lower water are a challenge for fly fishermen.  I would wait a while before I went fishing in the Smokies today.  It is going to be sunny and much warmer later.  The high is supposed to be 58 degrees. 

You might catch trout on dry flies but I would start with nymphs.  Trout will be hiding in the choppy water, in deep runs or near cover.  The rainbows will be sluggish due to the cold water right now.  The browns and brook trout should be very active.

A warm front is approaching.  The low temperature tonight is predicted to be 40 degrees.  The high tomorrow should be in the low 60’s.  It will get warmer than that later in the week.  Fishing will improve.

You might have some wade fishing opportunities for trout on our area tailwaters today.  Check the TVA website and look at the generation schedules for Norris and Cherokee dams.  The tailwaters are a good choice when the freestone streams are cold. 

Mike Anderson came by yesterday.  He is a guide in Middle Tennessee.  He targets big fish including trout, stripers and musky.  We talked about big flies and big fish.  We also talked about having him tie at the shop one day this Winter for one of our Free Fly Tying Demonstrations.  I hope he can do it.  You can visit Mike’s website by CLICKING HERE.  He has a message board that I always enjoy visiting.

One of Mike’s favorite rivers is the Caney Fork below Center Hill Dam.  When I lived in Nashville, it was my favorite too. For a several year period, I fished there almost every week.  Some of the best fishing I had there was in November and December.  That was at least 30 years ago and longer.  We didn’t see many anglers on the Caney back then, almost none in the Winter months.

The Caney Fork has a mostly gravel or small rock bottom.  It is much different than the tailwaters we have in our area.  Over time I have paddled and fished the entire length from the Dam to Carthage and the Cumberland River.  The Caney Fork offers so many excellent opportunities for anglers. 

I have not fished there in probably 25 years but hope to return some day.  Maybe I’ll hire Mike.  He has a boat that looks to be the perfect Caney Fork skiff.  And, he has the skills to put you on some big fish.

Mike and I also talked about the Cumberland River tailwater below Wolf Creek Dam in Kentucky.  That river has had tough times over the past few years but it is coming back.  I hooked the largest trout in my life there.  Every year, the Cumberland will get better.  It could soon be the best trout tailwater in the East.  I bet the fishing there next Spring will be awesome.  It could be awesome now.  I just have not heard much about it lately.

There is just too much water and too little time.

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

Byron Begley
October 26, 2013

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