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 in Townsend, Tennessee. At 5:50 am, the temperature is 20.7 degrees. It will be sunny today with a high around 44 degrees. A warming trend follows and extends through the weekend with highs in the high 40’s to high 50’s. We will see low temperatures in the 20’s two nights, then warming to the 40’s for the weekend. Expect rain this weekend.

Little River is flowing at 279 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.08 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 329 cfs. The water temperature is 38.8 degrees this morning.

With a water temperature at below 40 degrees, and little chance for daytime warming, fishing will likely be slow today and tomorrow. Later this week, the water is expected to warm some and fishing will improve.

If you do go fishing over the next few days, try weighted nymphs, fished close to the bottom in slow runs and pools. Trout will be seeking cover in slower, deeper water or behind boulders in riffles. They will be found in deep eddys, out of the current. You may find some active post-spawn brown trout seeking food during the day.

Dave Harrell, from Clinton, Tennessee will be tying at the shop Saturday from 10 am until 2 pm. This is a free tying demonstration. All you have to do is show up, pull up a chair, and watch Dave. Ask questions. Learn about his fly fishing and tying experiences.

Dave serves the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited as the lead instructor for their annual beginner fly tying class, held every January. He and his wife Melissa, teach a fly tying course at Roane State Community College.

Dave works as a Natural Resource Manager for Tennessee Valley Authority. He has a background in wildlife/fisheries management and outdoor recreation.

So, come by the shop Saturday, and mix with fly fishing friends while visiting with Dave.

We are holding several fly tying classes in January and February. Check the schedule by CLICKING HERE. This is an opportunity for you to begin the fascinating hobby of fly tying, or further your skills by taking more advanced lessons.

We are all wondering when Spring fly fishing will begin. It may be sooner than you think. Most Southern Appalachian anglers equate the Spring hatch of the Quill Gordons, as the coming of Spring fishing.

I was talking to Stan Smartt about that yesterday. One year recently, Quill Gordons appeared on the water right around Valentines Day. The hatches of several aquatic insects became heavier through the month of February. That may not happen this year, but it is a possibility. We have had some unusual weather lately, and nothing would surprise me at this point.

2015 was a great year for fly fishing in the Smokies. It will be a long time before we forget December of last year. It was warm and fishing was very good, most of the month. Could it be that this strong El Nino will give us an early Spring? We are all hoping it will.

2015 was the year Lynn Camp Prong opened to fishing. This 9 mile long fishery had been closed to anglers for 7 years, during a brook trout re-introduction project. Now, we have 9 miles of Southern Appalachian brook trout fishing, close to Townsend and easily accessed.

I know, many of our readers of this report live in Kentucky. I’m excited about the opening of Hatchery Creek, below Wolf Creek Dam. This new, mile-long, man-made trout stream, will open to fishermen in late April. Water is flowing in Hatchery Creek right now. Brown trout quickly moved into the stream to spawn. Rainbows are spawning there now. Hatchery Creek will be managed as a wild trout stream. Regulations include catch and release fishing only, using artificial lures and flies.

The rumor mill indicates, Chilhowee Dam has been repaired and the lake is being re-filled. Owners of the dam, Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners have not published a news release about their plans. I usually find out what they are planning, before they release the information. I’ve been checking the lake levels every day. It is rising. This morning, the lake level is 29.13 feet below full pool.

Fishing may be slow for a few years, like it was after the 2008 drawdown and repair. At least, things seem to be moving in a positive direction, unless my information is incorrect.

I am looking forward to Spring 2016. I know you are too. It will be here before we know it.

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

Byron Begley
January 5, 2016

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