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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsned, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. At 5:51 am, the temperature is 10.6 degrees. The record low temperature for this date was -4 in 1994. OK, we are way above that. It is still cold out there.

Today’s high will be below freezing at about 29 degrees. The mercury will drop into the teens tonight. Tomorrow, it will snow. Expect 1 to 3 inches. We should get rain Thursday and Friday, then possibly snow on Saturday.

Little River is flowing at 144 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.65 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 303 cfs.

Listen to this, the water temperature is 32.5 degrees at the Townsend gauge. I suspect, the streams are freezing upstream where the air is colder.

Fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains is awful. There is absolutely no way I would go fishing today in the mountains. What if you fell in? Don’t go. Do something else.

Next week should be much warmer. I’m looking at the long term forecast through February 2nd. Right now, the weather forecasters are predicting highs in the 60’s and lows in the 40’s January 31st and February 1st. That is going to feel like Spring, if it actually happens.

January is historically the coldest month here. February is usually warmer. Sometimes, the Spring hatches begin in February. Maybe that will happen this year.

Just hold on and Spring will be here before we know it.

We are preparing for Spring at the shop. Yesterday, I loaded the 2016 School Schedule on our website. You should check it out by CLICKING HERE. We have a lot planned. We are sending out thousands of e-mails this week, driving people to see this schedule.

People, who want to get into our sport, will be calling the shop and booking school dates. We have plenty of fly tying classes left to go this Winter. My job, is letting a lot of people know about our store and our school. 2016 marks our 20th year of teaching fly tying and fly fishing.

Our school was not just an afterthought. Soon after moving to our second location, we had a dedicated classroom.  Several of us, drove to New York, and spent the weekend with Joan Wulff, learning to teach beginner fly fishing, her way. People found out, and they did and still do, come to us from long distances, other states, to take our classes.

We built our third location which we own. It has two classrooms. One was converted to office space at some point. Now we are planning to convert it back to a classroom.

We have a nice little town and a National Park to visit, while learning here. We have lodging to accommodate students on every budget. One thing we have always done, is keep our class cost low. After all, the goal is to get more people into fly fishing, and ultimately, become our customers.

We are in the mail order business, and have been for 20 years. We do not charge for ground shipping. We can take care of customers, wherever they live. So, we help people learn, treat them well, build loyalty, and look to the long term, not just a quick dollar. That philosophy has served us well for a long time.

When you look at that School Schedule, think about this. It was not that large in the early days. We built the school. We didn’t just open it. We did the same thing with our store and mail order business. These thing don’t just happen overnight. It takes time and a lot of focused effort.

I still have not figured out these wild turkeys. You probably know, I take bird feeding seriously. Paula and I both love watching birds. I scatter 3 gallons of seed on the ground, behind our house, every day. I buy it in bulk and only buy what birds eat. My mix has no filler and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

I start feeding in the Fall, after the temperatures drop, and the bears are gone. Daily, wild turkeys move in, and eat every bit of seed on the ground. I like watching the turkeys too, but they bully their way in, and halt the songbird feeding by eating their food. So, I started feeding half of the seed early, then feed again after the turkeys leave.

So far this season, until yesterday, the turkeys that visit our feeding area are all hens. It started with a group of 6 hens. Later, a flock of 26 hens ran the small flock off, and they continued to visit daily.

Four days ago, the turkeys stopped coming. I thought they might have had a bad experience with the bobcat that frequents our back yard. Yesterday, 5 males (gobblers) showed up. The girls are gone and the boys are here.

I need to do some research on wild turkey behavior. In years past, in late Winter, both hens and gobblers travel the neighborhood together, way before mating time. When they mate, the hens become secluded and nest. The gobblers disappear. Of course, people start shooting at them. I would leave and hide too. When the hens nest, I stop feeding, until the next Fall. I have heard you should not feed seed to young turkeys, though I can’t verify that online.

I used to hunt wild turkeys, but never here on our property. The problem I have with turkey hunting is, the season opens and continues during prime fly fishing time. I chose to fish, not hunt.

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

Byron Begley
January 19, 2016

Respond to:

Home - Contact Us - About Us - Fishing Report - Online Catalog - Message Board - Sitemap