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 Mountians.  It is partly cloudy and 32 degrees in Townsend, Tennessee this morning.  This is going to be a beautiful day with a high temperature of about 65 degrees.

Tourist activity has been very light this week.  It’s always this way, the week before a holiday. 

Little River is flowing at 120 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.72 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 176 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:50 am is 43.5 degrees.

Fishing is pretty good.  I talked to a customer who had a stellar day Monday while fishing on Little River.  He was dragging nymphs on the bottom, high sticking and trying to avoid the floating and submerged leaves.  He said the water was a little stained from rain the night before.  The made it easy for him to fish close without being detected by the trout.  He was using a Quasimodo Pheasant Tail. See the picture of the bead head fly to the left above the Orvis ad? That is a Quasimodo Pheasant Tail.

That fly is very popular among fishermen in the Smokies.  A Pheasant Tail or Bead Head Pheasant Tail has always been our best selling nymph pattern.  The Quasimodo is tied on a short shank curved hook.  The bead is copper.  I think a copper bead is less likely to spook trout when the water is low and clear. 

Copper beads have become our best selling beads for fly tyers.  They are very popular with tailwater anglers.  That does not mean it is the best color to use all the time.  We all know, as anglers, the best fly is often the one you use most.  Fly selection is a confidence decision.  We don’t crunch numerical data that defines the perfect fly.  What we know is what works best for us.  Right now, nymphs are working best in the Smokies and a Quasimodo Pheasant Tail is one that a lot of anglers are buying.  A few months ago, it was the Green Weenie.

The brown trout are active.  Some very large browns have been caught in Little River this Fall.  The largest I know about was a 27” fish.  There have been several 25” and 26” brown trout caught this year.  There are some 30” fish in the river but I don’t think any have been landed or we would have heard about it. All streams and tailwaters that have populations of brown trout experience some kind of spawning activity in the Fall.  I talk a lot about Little River and the big browns living here.  But in reality, this happens everywhere.  Wherever you fish, if there are brown trout in the stream, they should be out and active in the late Fall.  You will find them active in the tailwaters too.  I talked to someone the other day who saw several redds and browns on them while floating the Clinch River.  Large brown trout are somewhat reclusive until they spawn in the Fall.  They tend to stay hidden during the day and feed at night.     

We are going to get some rain tomorrow night and early Saturday.  Then, a cold front will move in.  Saturday night and Sunday are going to be very cold.  Expect lows in the low 20’s and a high on Sunday in the 30’s.  The water temperature will drop and fishing will slow in the freestone streams.  Fishing may be pretty good in the tailwaters. 

Right now though, until this cold front arrives, we will see our streams in the Park relatively warm for November.  Low temperatures until Saturday night will range from the high 40’s to the low 50’s.  So, today and tomorrow will be a good time to be fishing in the Smokies.

I talked to Kris Maurer twice yesterday.  Kris runs the Orvis store in Sevierville.  He was telling me about a recent trip to Charleston.  He hired a guide and fished for redfish using topwater Gurglers.  He said the fishing was awesome.  Sight fishing for redfish on top is something to make any fly fisherman get pumped up and and start shaking all over.  It may not affect you that way but it does that to me when it rarely happens.  He reminded me about the waves formed by a big redfish that is swimming just below the surface of the water.  I can see it right now. 

Yesterday morning at 6:00 am we got a 911 call at home.  It was a recording, telling us that an elderly man was reported missing about a mile from our house.  A while later, we got another call.  The missing person search had been called off.

I read the sad story in the newspaper this morning.  The gentleman walked out of his home at about 3:00 am.  His wife reported him missing.  His body was found in a pond.  The man had Alzheimer’s  Disease.  I did not recognize his name.  Living in this small community, I’m sure I’ve seen him.

We are still working on our store remodel project.  Yesterday, Daniel organized the new fly tying department.  Bill and I rebuilt some light fixtures.  This place is looking better every day.

I will be adding the new Fishpond collection to our online store today.  As I write the description for the website, I will also copy it into our little signs that will be located next to each item.  The new merchandise is scheduled to arrive this afternoon.

Yesterday, I reported that someone found Joe McGroom’s fly box and brought it here for him to pick up.  I was wrong.  Joe found the fly box near the sinks.  We don’t know who it belongs to.  So, if you lost a box full of great looking flies, call us with a description and you can get it back.  Sorry I was mistaken about this. Whoever lost that box, I hope you are reading this.

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

Byron Begley
November 21, 2013

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