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 6:33 am and the temperature outside is 24.6 degrees. Today’s high temperature will be in the mid 50’s. Tomorrow will be warm too, around 50 degrees. Then, cold air moves in again. This weekend will be cold, with highs in the 30’s to mid 40’s and lows in the teens to mid 20’s. There is a 50% chance for rain Friday.

Little River is flowing at 178 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.78 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 308 cfs. The water temperature is 36 degrees this morning.

We will see the water temperature rise some today and tomorrow. Fishing may improve. If the water temperature rises to the high 40’s, fishing will be better. I don’t know if that will happen. By the weekend, when most people fish during the winter, the water will be cold again and fishing will be slow.

If you go today, wait a while, to allow the water to warm. It will be sunny today. I would use nymphs, weighted with split shot. You may see some bugs on the water later today. If trout are rising, switch to a dry. Any aquatic insects you see will likely be very small, and trout could be feeding on the surface. I think you will do best using nymphs.

We have a lot going on at the shop over the next few weeks. We are working diligently on a new online store. We have our school schedule almost ready to post on this site. So, basically, we are planning for Spring which will be here before we know it.

We live and in trout country. We have over 800 miles of freestone wild trout streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many streams offer wild Southern Appalachian brook trout fishing. These streams are loaded with rainbow trout and brown trout. The browns grow to be large fish.

Additionally, there are two major tailwaters nearby, the Clinch and Holston, that offers excellent trout fishing to fly fishermen. And, if you are willing to drive 2 or 3 hours, there are many more tailwater trout fisheries to enjoy. Like I said, this is trout country. This area is a fly fisherman’s dream and that is why I moved here over nearly 25 years ago.

Many fly fishermen who live here, and visit here, are expanding their sport to other species. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are two perfect examples. Fly fishing for musky and carp has become popular and the popularity is growing. I know some very avid striper fly fishermen, who enjoy fighting these beasts with a 9 or 10 weight fly rod.

Have you noticed how many new boats are being sold, that are perfect for fly fishing in rivers? Many of them are powered, some with jet engines. Customers show me photos of their new boats often, and some, I’ve never heard of.

The fastest growing segment of the kayak industry, is fishing kayaks. Fly fishing from kayaks is huge right now. Paula and I bought fishing kayaks in 2008. We use them mostly in the ocean, but last year we tried them out in small lake nearby. It was a lot of fun.

More fly fishermen are learning, you can take your kayak to the ocean and fish. You don’t have to hire a guide to fly fish in saltwater. You can fly fish from a boat, that can be transported on the top of a small car. You can do well, wading with your fly rod, in shallow saltwater. That is a lot of fun.

Paula and I bought a 16 foot aluminum boat with a 20 hp motor in 2009. We use it to fish on lakes in our area, and there are many lakes to choose from. We use that boat often. Boats are comfortable. You can stand up and move around. Lake fishing is fun.

More individuals, who are not guides, own drift boats and rafts. They are used on tailwaters and larger lowland rivers. I love drifting down a river, fly fishing. I’m usually with a guide or a friend who owns a drift boat. All I need is another boat!

Canoes and kayaks are perfect for floating lowland rivers, lakes and tailwaters.

Paula and I have a canoe, which has not been used in a few years. I’m planning to bring it back into service this year.

Still, most anglers equate fly fishing to trout fishing. I guess my point is this morning, there are other options and new things to try. You may find that expanding your sport to other species and boats, will be very rewarding and enjoyable.

It has been for me.

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

Byron Begley
January 14, 2016

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