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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and 34 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic was light on the roads when I drove to work.  This is down time in our tourist town.  Next week will be different.  A lot of folks take a week off for Thanksgiving.  A lot of them come here.  There will be plenty of campers in Cades Cove.  We have some friends from Alabama who always camp at the cove during that week.  We’ll see them this weekend. 

Little River is flowing well.  Flow this morning is 183 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 144 cfs.  The water temperature was a chilly 43.5 degrees at 8:05 am.

Fishing is fair.  Fishing is better than that for those who choose to target the spawning male brown trout.  Alex and Stretch did that yesterday.  I think they got one to eat but I’m not positive about that.  They were set-up on a big brown.  Across the river on the road, some Rangers pulled up.  They asked the guys to wade across so they could be checked.  These guys were on a huge trout.  What would you do?  I would try telling them that this was an important moment.  They waded across and showed the Rangers their license. 

If you are just fishing, nymphs will probably work best because the water is colder and the trout will be less active.  I think they will be sulking on the bottom or working on a redd.  Today is going to be nice.  The high should be in the mid 50’s and the sun will be out later.  Maybe you can catch trout on a dry fly later.  Try a Blue Wing Olive.

I don’t hold out much hope for the smallmouth bass anglers downstream from town.  The stocked trout in Townsend should be fairly active.  Drift an Olive Wooly Bugger and if that doesn’t work, add some weight and keep trying.  Clouser Minnows do fairly will for our stocked trout in the late Fall.

The lakes continue to drop.  TVA is generating and lowering the lakes for water holding capacity in case we have a flood.  My lake fishing days are over until Spring.

This is my day off but I decided to work because there is plenty to do.  I may leave early and do some hiking, probably along the Middle Prong of the Little River.  I like hiking on the gravel road above the Institute.  I doubt if I’ll see anyone up there.  Maybe I will be surprised.

The bears are probably inactive and maybe sleeping for the Winter.  They had plenty to eat this year.  The acorn crop was abundant.  The pregnant females are more likely to have twins after a Fall like we have had.  Nature’s way I guess.

We have a spike in the bear population lately. This year there were bears everywhere. I don’t recall any odd encounters.  There was one exception.  A momma bear and her cub tried to break into our house.  They saw some artificial apples in the window sill.  I can’t tell you how many fishermen I talked to this year who encountered a bear on the stream. 

I keep wondering when we will see Elk in Cades Cove.  It’s just a matter of time.  They were stocked in Cataloochee and now they have populated the bottom lands near Cherokee.   

I was in the Bluegrass State last week on a deer hunt.  Kentucky has some interesting elk hunting regulations.  The state holds a drawing for elk hunting permits for hunts held within the “Restoration Zone” which includes 16 counties.  900 hunters were drawn this year.  Here is a component of the regulations that I didn’t know about until last week.

Elk may be taken from any county outside the restoration zone by hunters who possess an annual Kentucky hunting license and an out-of-zone elk permit. These hunters must follow deer season and equipment regulations, but are not required to possess a deer permit.

Elk taken in counties OTHER THAN THE 16 COUNTIES LISTED do not count toward the deer season limit. The season bag limit on elk is one per hunter per season, regardless of permit type. Hunters may not take an elk during a quota elk hunt and also take an elk out-of- zone during the same season.

The way I understand this, you have to be drawn to hunt in the restoration zone where the animals are densely populated.  But, if you are hunting outside the area, you don’t need to be drawn for the quota hunt.  Maybe I’m wrong about this.  It makes sense.  Kentucky Fish and Wildlife probably does not want the Elk to populate outside the zone. 

Conflicts with humans would be more likely outside the zone, especially automobile accidents.  Having a deer run in front of your vehicle and causing a crash is one thing.  Imagine what it would be like to hit an elk?  They say moose is the most dangerous animal to hit with your vehicle.  Elephants probably rank higher than moose now that I think about it. I’ve never seen a wild elephant though.

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

Byron Begley
November 15, 2012

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