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 5:49 am, the temperature is 25.9 degrees.

I worked at home all day yesterday and occasionally looked out at the melting snow in the forest. If the sun shined on the ground and trees, the snow is gone. It still remains in shaded areas. Most roads in the Park, near Townsend are closed this morning. That should change today. The high temperature should reach 50 degrees.

Rain will return tomorrow and possibly snow Wednesday and Thursday, but no accumulation is likely to occur in the low elevations. High temperatures should be around 40 degrees here both days.

Little River is flowing at 332 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.21 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 321 cfs. The water temperature is 37.6 degrees this morning.

Fishing is slow in the Smoky Mountains. It is hard to catch trout when the water temperature is in the 30’s. They don’t eat much, if anything at all. If you go, your best bet is fishing with nymphs. Add plenty of split shot to get your flies down to the bottom, where the trout are probably laying and waiting for warmer temperatures.

Check the Park’s Road Twitter Page for updated road openings by CLICKING HERE.

What looks promising to me, is the weather forecast for late next week. Very warm air, in the 60’s during the day, is predicted to arrive January 30th, and continue for several days. Meteorologists also predict lows at night will be in the mid to high 40’s. The streams will warm then, and fishing will improve.

If you are like me, and you probably are, we are longing for warm weather and the coming of Spring.

Maybe you are a Southern Appalachian trout angler. We are anticipating a sustained water temperature of 50 degrees or warmer. When the water temperature gets close to that mark, the action begins here.

Trout are active much of the day. Aquatic insects are on the water. Trout are rising to the surface and slurping the bugs down. We see Quill Gordons and Blue Quills, along with other insects, hovering or floating down the river. Instead of catching 10 trout per day, you may be landing 30 and losing that many. Now that is fun.

Jack and I were talking about the times that happened in February. I think it was about three years ago, the heightened activity began early in that month. Jack remarked, “That was the best Quill Gordon hatch I can remember”.  Nobody could believe, fishing was that good in February. It could be March this year. We don’t know. I hope it is earlier, this year.

Maybe it is the fact that it is more comfortable outside, and we are fishing more, but, the tailwater trout fishing seems to turn on at the same time.

If you enjoy fly fishing for smallmouth bass, in lakes or lowland rivers, 50 degrees is the number to watch. The bass may not be as active as the trout, but they start moving when the water warms to 50 degrees. They are thinking about spawning.

In the lakes, the bass begin moving to shallower water when the water temperature on the surface rises. When the air is warm, and the sun is shining, boulders on the riprap banks soak in the heat. Those warm rocks and the water near them, draw the smallies to the banks. They won’t be spawning, but they will at least be moving in the shallower water on warm days. When the water temperature reaches 70 degrees or warmer, “the action is on”. The smallies are taking flies. I can’t wait for that.

Fishing is a game of patience, but right now, I’m losing mine. Just a few weeks ago, fishing was great. December 2015 was one of the warmest I can remember, and probably the warmest on record. I want those great fishing days back right now. I’m already tired of winter.

My problem is, all I do is fish and work. And, my work, is all about fly fishing. Our sport seldom leaves my mind.

Paula and I watched the Broncos/Patriots game yesterday. I started working at 4:30 am, so I could finish and watch the game. I do enjoy watching the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl.

You probably watched the games too. If you did, you noticed the televisions commercials, right? Did it occur to you, how many commercials were trying to sell or give away computer games? Computer game companies were spending big money, with actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger, pitching their products.

I suppose, people play computer games. They must. Otherwise, computer game companies would not be advertising on television during the NFL playoffs. I guess, this is something, some people do, when fishing is slow. I would rather tie flies or work. I must be different from most folks. I know I’m different. I do connect with and enjoy the beer commercials.

My computer game is advertising Little River Outfitters. I’ll be doing that most of the week, waiting for 50 degree water.

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

Byron Begley
January 25, 2016

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