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 a chilly 25 degrees this morning.  Last night, the sky was clear and cold.  The moon was about as full and bright as it can be.  It looked huge and lit the sky all night.  Even with the bright moon, we could still see stars, millions of them.  Here, we do not have light pollution or not much.  If it is not cloudy, we see stars here that rival Montana and Wyoming.  I woke at 4 am and thought I had overslept.  It appeared to be dawn. I was fooled by the moon.

Little River and probably most of the streams in the Smokies are brimming with water.  Flow in Little River is 616 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.82 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 303 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:50 am is 41.36 degrees.

Today will be fairly warm, 42 degrees in the valley and 39 in the higher elevations at Newfound Gap.  The low tonight will be in the mid-to low 20’s at both elevations.

Tomorrow is going to be cold with a high of 25 degrees here, and 23 higher in the mountains.  The temperature will fall all day.  Tomorrow night we’ll have a big chill.  The low will be approximately -1 at Newfound Gap and 8 degrees in the valley.

Needless to say, the streams are going to become very cold this week.  Fishing will be slow.  Falling in the river would be possibly fatal.  We won’t see many fishermen in the shop this week.  You won’t find many if any on the rivers or streams.

At times like this, we think about fishing and prepare for fishing but stay home.  This is going to be a good week to tie flies if you enjoy doing it.  That’s what I’m doing when I’m not working this week.

Cades Cove will be closed today through Thursday and next week, January 13th through the 15th.  Maintenance crews will be removing or trimming trees that have the potential to fall on visitors. 

If you really want to fish, one option in the Park would be Abrams Creek at and above the Falls Trailhead.  The water is warmer there.   I don’t know what the water temperature will be but it will be warmer there than most streams in the Park.  Large springs feed Abrams Creek in that area, keeping the water closer to the underground temperature.  Don’t expect too much but it is an option.  Don’t go on the days they are trimming and cutting trees.  You won’t be able to get there.

I talked to a lot of anglers yesterday who love to fish the Clinch River this time of year.  The problem is, they are generating at the dam often and wide open. If you look at the schedule today, it’s the same.

We had a whole crowd of folks from the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited in the shop yesterday.  They were packaging materials for their winter beginner fly tying class.  We have been donating materials for that class for years.  Many enthusiastic new tyers have come from this class.  The Clinch River Chapter does everything possible to bring in new fly tyers and new fly fishermen to our sport. 

After their work was done, John Thurman, Mike Bryant and Dick Geiger met to discuss the kids camp that will be held again at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute this summer.  This is a week-long fly fishing camp for kids and it has always been a huge success.  This is a Tennessee Council of Trout Unlimited project which includes several TU chapters.  Dick is Chair of the Tennessee Council.  Mike is President of the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  John is one of the many leaders in the Clinch River Chapter of TU.

If you have not heard, John Reinhardt is the newest President of the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  He is working hard, building leadership and running the original TU chapter in our area.  We are all hoping to include more people, in the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter, in all TU activities in this region. 

It is really already happening and has for years.  Members of GSM Chapter have been involved, helping to support projects and fund raising in the Park.  Members have been active on Clinch River projects.  Many members have collected samples and conducted water quality testing in the Smokies.  They have been active in population sampling. 

John wants to build that involvement with more people from the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter, which is the largest group in this partnership.  There are many talented and willing members who may not know about the work that is being done and what they can do to help.  He wants to make sure you know.  If you are a member of that Chapter, please get involved and help John and the new management team.

The Little River Chapter of TU kicked off our first Trout in the Classroom program last year.  Aquariums are placed in school classrooms.  Trout are hatched from eggs, grown for a while, then released in streams.  Last year the Little River Chapter had two classes with aquariums.  This year, there will be four.  There could be many more.  Trout in the Classroom is a lesson in fish biology and stewardship. Think about how many schools we have in all of the counties in this area.

You can visit the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter of TU section of the TU National website by CLICKING HERE.

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

Byron Begley
January 6, 2014

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