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 Mountians.  The sun is shining and the temperature is 22 degrees in Townsend this morning.  This is going to be a beautiful day.  It is going to be cold.  The high is predicted to be 37 degrees.

Little River is getting more fishable from a water level perspective.  She is flowing at 440 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.43 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date based on 48 years of data is 281 cfs.  The water temperature at 8 am is 38 degrees.

So, the flow is lower in these streams but don’t be fooled.  2.43 feet on the gauge is fishable and we allow beginner students to wade at that level.  There is still plenty of flow and the water is cold.  Be careful.

Water temperatures below 40 degrees usually equate to slow fishing.  The trout will not be active for the most part.  You might find some hungry browns.  You might catch a rainbow or brook trout.  But, don’t expect great fishing.  That isn’t going to happen.

The outlook for cold water remains the same or worse over the next few days.  An influx of cold arctic air is pushing south.  We’ll see lows in the teens Tuesday night through Thursday night.  High temperatures will be in the 30’s later this week.

If you go fishing, be prepared with warm clothes, an extra change of clothes, nymphs and split shot to get them down.  Drag the bottom of the stream.  Get your fly in their face.

Today will be a good day to be here, at the shop.  We have some great entertainment and knowledge to share with you and it is free.  Just come by the shop.  Mike Bryant and Tim Ivey will be tying between 10 am and 2 pm.  All you have to do is show up.  Mike is President of the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  He is an expert fly tyer.  He will be showing you all the ways to use CDC for tying trout flies.

Tim is on his way right now from Georgia.  Tim is a professional fly tyer and demonstrator.  He likes making poppers and warmwater flies and he is good at it.  Fly fishermen enjoy and learn from watching and talking to Tim.

You may also register to win a $100 LRO gift card.  Registration begins at 10 am and we will draw the winner at 2 pm.  No purchase is necessary.  Just fill out the form and drop it in the wicker creel.

When I pulled out of the drive onto our private gravel road this morning, two wild turkeys were standing there right in front of my truck.  I pulled forward slowly and they finally moved out of my way.  Then I saw more, and more, and more, all standing in the road.  All total, I counted 37 turkeys.  I may have missed seeing some that moved into the forest.  They just walked far enough to avoid me and my truck.  Of course I drove slow so I wouldn’t run over them.

I have never seen that many turkeys hanging around our house at one time.  This must have been a good year for the broods.  I could tell, many of these birds were smaller and younger.

I don’t feed the turkeys.  I used to.  A biologist told me that feeding turkeys is a bad practice, especially if you sprinkle the corn in the same place every day.  Feces dropped near the food can cause diseases that could ultimately wipe out the entire flock. I stopped that practice years ago.  I think my neighbor still feeds them and the flock appeared to be heading to their house this morning. 

When I was a kid, I would have given about anything to actually see and potentially shoot a wild turkey.  I never saw one and didn’t shoot one.  Things change.  Now, I could step out the front door of our house and shoot a wild turkey just about any time I wanted to.  I’ve never done that either.  I would rather watch these turkeys. 

I do enjoy hunting wild turkeys in a truly wild setting.  I go on a turkey hunt every Spring.  Lately though, I opt to sleep in while my friends head out before daybreak, dressed head to toe in camo.  A couple of my other buddies do the same thing, stay in the cabin while the others hunt.

We get up eventually, take care of business and sometimes mix a pitcher of bloody marys.  To me, hunting is about being with friends, not killing an animal.  When they kill one, I’m just as excited as they are.

Fly fishing is different.  I really want to catch a fish.  If I don’t, that’s OK too.  I’m out there enjoying myself whether the fishing is excellent or slow.  Either way, I achieve my goal.  Fishing, like hunting is all about anticipation.  My fishing anticipation is still very strong.  My hunting anticipation has weakened over the years. 

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

Byron Begley
January 18, 2014

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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