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. At 5:41 am, the temperature is 21.4 degrees. Today will be sunny and chilly, with a high temperature of about 43 degrees. A warming trend begins tomorrow. Highs will be in the 50’s for two days. Then, colder air moves into the area for the weekend.

Little River is flowing at 187 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.81 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 309 cfs. The water temperature is 37.6 degrees.

Unfortunately, fly fishing for trout in the Smokies will be slow today but may improve some by the weekend due to warmer water temperatures. Don’t expect great fishing through the weekend, as the water will chill further.

You can catch trout under these conditions. Most anglers use weighted nymphs, dredging the bottom in slower runs and eddys. If you dress warm, you can have an enjoyable day in the mountains during the winter. You will see things you would normally miss during the warm months. You will also see less people. Fishing is usually best later in the day, after the sun warms the water.

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) will be generating at both Norris and Cherokee dams today. Wade fishing is probably not an option.

We are inching our way to Spring. We are in the midst of the coldest month of the year. February is usually warmer. March is much warmer. Some years, Spring fishing begins in February. Other years, it occurs in March. We are hoping for February this year, and it will be here before we know it.

We always have winter activities during the cold months for your enjoyment and to further your fly fishing skills.

Saturday will be a day you should visit the shop. Jack Gregory and Rex Wilson will be conducting FREE fly tying demonstrations for you. They will begin at 10 am and continue until 2 pm.  All you have to do is show up, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the show.

Jack Gregory grew up fly fishing the streams in the Smokies. He lives here. Most people know Jack as an expert fly fisherman, and one who loves stalking big brown trout in Little River and other streams in the Park. We are close friends and fish together often. I know him as an expert at any form of fly fishing, everywhere. We have traveled together to Yellowstone, usually the last week of the fishing season there, in late October. We have fished many times in the Gulf for all species on the fly. He has an unbelievable understanding of fly fishing for smallmouth bass.

Jack has a passion for our sport, like no other person I know. His favorite species is permit. His favorite fly fishing destination is Belize. You will learn so much by visiting with Jack. Be at the shop Saturday and learn from him, in person.

Rex Wilson lives in Candler, North Carolina. He travels to many fly fishing shows to demonstrate his skills and has for years. Rex is a Southern Appalachian fly fisherman and fly tyer. At one time, he was a professional fly tyer, supplying flies to anglers who fished in the mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina. In those days, commercial flies were tied in America, not overseas.

If you are a Southern Appalachian fly fisherman, and want to learn from someone who spent his life fishing here, visit our store Saturday and hang around with Rex.

Saturday will be a great day at Little River Outfitters. I can’t wait.

We have several fly tying classes scheduled for January and February. If you want to start this fascinating hobby, take our beginner fly tying classes. If you would like to further your skills, take our 1-day Intermediate and Advanced Classes. Both are taught by Walter Babb and Brian Courtney.

Additionally, we offer free introductory Fly Tying 101 classes, taught be Dan Munger. These classes last about 2 hours and concentrate on one fly pattern. These free classes are designed for those new to fly tying, but you can enjoy the experience, even if you know how to tie.

You can see our schedule by CLICKING HERE.

In a couple of days, we will be posting our 2016 fly fishing school schedule. We have been teaching beginners, in a class setting and on streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, for nearly 20 years. At this point in the morning, I could not tell you how many students have taken our beginner classes, but that number is significant.

If you or someone you know, is interested in learning to fly fish, our school is the place to begin. We also offer other classes, designed to further your knowledge and skills. Nymphing Tactics and Aquatic Entomology for Anglers are two very popular classes we offer. Check out our entire selection of web pages devoted to our schools by CLICKING HERE.

Someone spotted what they think was a mountain lion about ¼ of a mile from the road that leads to our house. Mike Talley, Townsend’s Mayor, told me this week. He didn’t see the cougar, but thinks the person who did is credible. I love wildlife, and I see animals, most people never see, in our back yard, which is totally wooded and easily watched from our home.

We see bear of course. Lately Paula and I have seen coyotes. I have even seen two bobcats back there recently, both sightings in one week. Every kind of bird you can think of visits the feeding area behind our house. But, if I ever saw a mountain lion, that would certainly change our lives.

We know these cats are living in Tennessee. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency admits these animals have probably migrated from the Dakotas. Sightings have been documented on trail cameras. Finally after 100 years, it is a documented fact.

A handful of these cats have been seen in our county. One was photographed on a trail camera. Two were spotted by one of my closest friends. Others have been reported seen by people I personally know.

My neighbor carries a handgun everywhere he goes on his farm. I feed his cattle when he can’t. This week is one of those weeks when I’m feeding his cattle. That requires a fairly long walk through the woods, very close to where this latest cat was spotted, if it actually was. Last night when I walked to his barn, I must admit it was spooky but I didn’t carry a gun with me. The odds of being attacked by a mountain lion, here, are probably lower than winning the power-ball lottery tonight.

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

Byron Begley
January 13, 2016

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