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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. It is a bright sunny morning and less cold than it has been. At least when the sun is shining it doesn't feel as brutal.

Water levels on the Little River are good at 1.84 feet or 196 c.f.s. This is a bit below the daily normal of 317 c.f.s. Water temperatures are still a cold 37.2 F. They will likely stay cold but should warm some towards the weekend. Overnight air temperatures are what really make the difference. Sub-freezing makes the water cool quickly but if it stays relatively warm they won't drop as much.

A few people have been heading out fishing. Mid day will be best when everything has a chance to warm up. Look for sunny sections of stream. I would be using nymph patterns weighted down with plenty of split shot. When water temperatures are cold the trout are much more lethargic and don't need to eat as much. You are basically going to have to bump them in the nose with the fly.

Spring will be coming sooner than we realize. The first hatches could be a month away. Now is the time to start going through your gear to get it organized. Time to check those spools of tippet to make sure you don't run out of 5X.

The first hatches are going to be the Quill Gordon's. These big mayflies are in the #10 - #12 size. Even more effective can be the Quill Wet flies. Since these mayflies hatch beneath the water and swim up through the water to emerge they are much more vulnerable before the reach the surface.

At the same time that the large Quill Gordons are hatching you will also find the tiny Blue Quill. They are going to be in the #18 - #20 size range. These little flies can be hard to see on the water. Tying them as a parachute can help that a lot.

This is already late so I'll finish it up. Remember the FREE Fly Tying Demos coming up this weekend. Jack Gregory and Rex Wilson will be here.

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

Daniel Drake
January 12, 2016

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