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 Mountains.  The sky is clear and the temperature is 2 degrees below zero.  They say the temperature is 5 degrees at the Knoxville Airport.  It is always colder here.

I left very early this morning because I expected the roads to be slick.  They were fine.  I didn’t even put my truck into 4 wheel drive.  We were closed yesterday because our staff could not get here.  I stayed home myself.  I don’t know how to use the cash registers.

The Park Service says some roads in the Smokies are closed.  Laurel Creek road and the Cades Cove Loop road are open.  The visitors centers were open yesterday.  Evidently, the Park didn’t get anything worse than we got here.  Though it was cold yesterday, the sun melted the snow on the roads.   

Little River is flowing at 1.99 feet or 254 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 283 cfs.  The water temperature is 32 degrees or below.  Water temperatures bottom out on the USGS website at 32.

Fishing will be slow in most streams.  The water is cold.  If you decide to go, try upper Abrams Creek near the Abrams Falls trailhead.  The water is warmer there due to the abundance of springs feeding the main branch.  Mill Creek will be cold so the warmer water will be limited to the area just below or above the trailhead.  You will probably see trout in the creek seeking warmer water.  I would use small nymphs and fine tippet in the slower water.  The water will be crystal clear. It will be beautiful in Cades Cove today.

Relief from the cold is on the way.  The high temperature today should be around 35 degrees.  We are looking for highs in the 50’s through Sunday.  Lows will be in the 30’s and 40’s.

Looking ahead, expect highs in the 50’s through Tuesday.  We have a good chance for rain later next week.  Is Winter over?  Probably not. We can only hope. 

It is still fly tying season.  We tie flies, even if we don’t need flies, to stay connected to the sport through the cold months.  People who don’t tie flies stay connected too.  You can learn so much about our sport on the internet. You can read books and magazines.  

People who fly fish tend to read and write.  I have heard there has been more written about fly fishing than any other sport.  One reason is, our sport is several hundred years old.  Another is, we feel connected to nature and feel good about it.  After all, we are standing knee deep in a complete ecosystem when we are fly fishing in a stream or river.  If we are fly fishing from a boat, kayak or canoe, we are also connected to the ecosystem, only separated by a thin sheet of metal, plastic or wood.

We spend the day trying to fool a fish.  We anticipate the result from every cast.  Our sport is invigorating and relaxing at the same time.

Come by the shop Saturday and you will enjoy yourself.  You will learn some new tactics.  You will learn about waters that may be new to you.  Our Saturday event is free, it starts at 10 am and runs through 2 pm.  All you have to do is show up.

We have two guys tying and talking simultaneously in different locations in the store. One will be Alex Quick.  Alex runs the fly fishing program at Blackberry Farm and guides clients in the Smokies.  He will be tying many different versions of the Quill Gordon.  Our first major hatches in the Spring are usually mimicked by the Quill Gordon.  The coming of this fly marks the beginning of the fly fishing season in the East.  This fly has significant importance to us.  We start fishing again.  Winter is over. 

Michael “Rocky” Cox is another guide who will be here tying and discussing fly fishing for trout on tailwaters.  Rocky knows all the tailwaters in our area very well.  I know him as a Hiwassee River guide.  Learn the secrets of that beautiful river.  The Hiwassee is different from the other tailwaters in our region.  It is also special.  It is beautiful. 

Saturday will be yet another busy day here with all the activities that will be going on.  I’m looking forward to Saturday.  I’m looking forward to Spring.

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

Byron Begley
January 30, 2014

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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