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.  The sky is clear and the temperature is 34 degrees in Townsend, Tennessee this morning.  Traffic is light but there are lots of local folks eating breakfast in the restaurants and of course at the Parkway Grocery.

Little River is flowing well at 179 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.93 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 146 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:50 am is 47.5 degrees.

I think fishing will be good today thanks to the higher water.  The streams are a little chilly so the trout may be sluggish, especially this morning.  The post spawn brown trout will be hungry.  The brook trout in the small streams should be active too.

We hardly saw anyone yesterday who went fishing.  It was dead around here.  We did have shoppers buying fly tying materials.  November is usually a slow month in the Smokies.  It is a good time to be here because you won’t see many people, especially on weekdays until Thanksgiving week.

I would use nymphs.  My choice would probably be a Pheasant Tail, Quasimodo Pheasant Tail, Prince, Tellico or Hare’s Ear.  We sell a Rubber Legged Tellico that would be my first choice.

This is going to be a nice week to be in the mountains though rain will move into the area Friday.  It should be cloudy with rain on Saturday too.  Those conditions will bring out the serious anglers.  Serious anglers love cloudy days.

If you plan to fish midweek you might try Abrams Creek.  The water near the Falls Trailhead is very warm right now due to the springs that feed that area.  When the water is cold everywhere else during the Winter, it is always warmer there.  Most fishermen stay away from Cades Cove on weekends.  It is crowded.  Wildlife watchers are moving slow around the loop road.

You have probably seen this story.  It has gone viral on YouTube.  The last time I looked, 1.8 million people watched the video.  I’ve seen photos in all the local newspapers.  You can watch it below and form your own opinion about the story.

A photographer was taking pictures of elk in Cataloochee a few weeks ago.  A young bull walked up to the photographer and started butting heads with him.  This went on for several minutes.  At first, when newspapers reported the incident, it seemed the man could not get away.  It was him, not me so I don't know.   It was a very dangerous situation.

If that had been me, the elk would have gored me in my backside, as I would be running down the road as fast as I could and jumping on the top of that SUV.

Those of us who live here know that large wild animals are dangerous.  We also understand that feeding wildlife and “humanizing” the creature puts them at risk over time.  We have more problems with bears than elk.

This little bull elk was not afraid of humans.  Maybe he had been fed by people.  He seems playful, not aggressive.  Large playful animals can kill humans.

Unfortunately, the Park Service decided the young elk had to be killed.  Like many animals that become bold, with no fear of people, a decision has to be made to protect the public.  Yesterday I wrote about a bear that was causing problems at Mt. LeConte.  He was trapped and sedated.  That often works well.  After the animal recovers, they move back into the wilderness and stay away from folks.  They don’t want to go through that again.

You can read the story about this little elk in the Daily Times by CLICKING HERE.

Elk are going to eventually be living all around us.  During the rut, the bulls can be very aggressive.  And, those animals that are fed by people may have to be euthanized.  I hope more of us spread the story about this beautiful animal and his final demise that was probably due to humans who don’t know better. The more people know, the less likely this will need to be done.

I am a hunter, though not a serious one.  I would think this little bull would be a perfect candidate to be relocated to an area where hunting them is legal and not many people are in the wild areas trying to pet them.  You can’t relocate elk without a long quarantine because of chronic wasting disease.

Problem bears have been relocated to hunting areas.  After a season of being chased by hounds and people, the bear will lose that love of humans and become wild again or that is the hopeful outcome.  That can’t be done with elk.

I hope people will learn a good lesson from this story.  Please pass it on.

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

Byron Begley
November 19, 2013 

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