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.  At 5:53 am, it is 37 degrees.  There is a low chance for light rain today, freezing rain tonight and a wintry mix tomorrow morning.  We will gradually warm by the weekend.  This weekend will be nice.  The high Saturday will be near 60 degrees.  Lows this week will be in the high 20’s to mid 30’s.

Little River’s flow at Townsend can’t be determined online.  The USGS flow data is not transmitting to their website.  They know about it and refer to the problem as an equipment malfunction.  It should be repaired soon.  Funding is a problem for the agency.  There is a smaller crew than they used to have, trying to maintain all of their sites in Tennessee and all the other states.  The water temperature is available on the site.  Right now, the temperature is 42.98 degrees.  Median flow for this date at the Townsend gauge is 297 cubic feet per second.

We can tell the flow is higher than normal in Little River by referring another USGS Gauge located in Maryville.  That page can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.

There you will see that flow is currently 1,010 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 7.43 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date at that site is 455 cfs.  Median flow at this location is always higher than it is in Townsend.  Other streams flow into Little River causing the flow to be higher.

We know, the water flow in Little River is higher than normal and the water is cold.  Fishing will be slow today but it should improve some by the weekend.

In yesterday’s Fishing Report, we discussed Spring hatches and fly fishing in the Smokies.  We know, the aquatic insect activity and trout feeding activity increase when the water temperature approaches and is sustained at about 50 degrees.  When that actually happens can vary from year to year.  It can occur in February, March or even April. We looked at Spring 2014 yesteray.

We found, through reading last year’s fishing reports, the insect activity increased around February 20th.  We had periods of cold fronts and high water after that.  Fishing was good by March 8th and got better after that date.  By March 22nd, fishing was very good.  Hatches were predictable and longer lived.

Let’s take a look at the Spring of 2013.  Below are excerpts from the Fishing Reports during the Spring of that year.

February 25, 2013 – “Fishing was better in the Smokies yesterday than it was Saturday.  I talked to some anglers yesterday who experienced some Quill Gordon and Blue Quill hatches.  Trout were rising to the bugs and some fish were caught.  The news was great to hear.  But, the big surge has not happened yet.  It may not happen over the next 10 days.  Or, maybe it will.”

March 5, 2013 – “Fishing wasn’t bad yesterday like I thought it would be.  The sun came out and the streams became active.  Josh and Buzz fished at Abrams Creek.  They encountered a Blue Wing Olive hatch and took advantage of that, catching a few trout.  Then, we heard back from Pete and Dan.  They were fishing on Little River near Metcalf Bottoms.  They found the same thing, Blue Wing Olives hatching.  They caught some trout too.  All of these guys are good anglers and seized the moment effectively.  So, if you go fishing today, watch for a Blue Wing Olive hatch.”

March 12, 2013 – “Fishing was fair to good this weekend.  When the sun warmed the water, blue wing olives and blue quills hatched sporadically.  When that happened, the trout responded by feeding on the surface.  Most of these hatches were short lived.  You had to be at the right place at the right time to encounter the hatches.  Fishing with nymphs worked better most of the weekend.  Saturday was better than Sunday.  Some anglers did OK and others did not.  Those who did not were probably at the wrong place.  The water temperature never reached 50 degrees.”

March 30, 2013 – “I am hearing some fair reports, people catching a few trout.  Those reports are skewed by the fact that they are coming from some excellent, local anglers.  They always catch trout.  When they just catch a few, the fishing is slow.”

April 10, 2013 – “Fishing is good.  That is what I’m hearing from experts.  Fishing is not “excellent” yet.  It’s just good.  If you know how to fly fish in the Smokies, you will catch trout unless you are fishing behind someone.” 
“Hatches vary widely, mostly depending on where you are fishing.  You may see Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, March Browns, Brown Stoneflies and no telling what else on the water.  The trout are active because of the water temperature.  Their metabolism is getting into high gear.  They need food.  And right now, food is plentiful.”

What I copied above came from the better fishing reports in February, March and early April. 2013 was a strange year.  We had times of high water, cold temperatures and snow in February and March.  By April, the late Spring hatches showed up and the conditions improved.  Fishing was mostly slow during the early Spring of 2013 for the average angler.

That was totally opposite from the Spring of 2012.  We referred to that time as “Angler’s Spring”.  Fishing was awesome, beginning in February and continuing throughout the Spring.  I will look at that Spring tomorrow.  2013 was a strange year.  Success in our sport, in the Smoky Mountains is totally dependent on weather.  Without the high water and cold temperatures that year, fishing would have been very good to excellent.

We have a great show lined up for you Saturday.  Our Free Fly Tying Demonstration will feature Rob Fightmaster and Tradd Little.  They will be tying from 10 am until 2 pm.  It’s free.  Just show up, pull up a chair and watch these guys.  Listen to what they have to say. Ask questions.

Rob is a professional guide and an instructor at our school.  He specializes on guiding clients in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Rob has been guiding here for many years.  You can visit his website by CLICKING HERE.  Rob is an excellent guide and instructor.  He knows our waters well.  If you are interested in Smoky Mountains fly fishing, come see Rob Saturday.

Tradd Little is a 12 year old who lives in South Carolina.  He has become a fly tying demonstrator who has traveled to shows from New Jersey to Arkansas and points in between to demonstrate his talent.  He tied at Fly Tyers Weekend in Townsend.  Tradd always draws a crowd.  He is also an excellent angler, especially for a person so young.  You can visit his website by CLICKING HERE.  Look at those impressive flies.  Look at those huge trout he caught.  Look at that big smile.

You will enjoy your Saturday at our store.

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

Byron Begley
January 13, 2015

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