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 a beautiful winter morning with cold air but bright sun. All the snow is gone out of the low elevations and the roads are dry.

The Smoky Mountain Snowdown Festival is going on this weekend, starting today. You can visit the website by going to Looking at the flyer, the variety of events and classes is incredible. Everything from Walter Babb tying flies, art and music classes, history talks, to food and wine. If you get the chance you should check it out.

Water temperatures dropped over night to 39.74 F. Trout get very lethargic when the water is below 40F. They don't have to eat much to live so they generally just hunker down and long for spring hatches. Water levels on the Little River are very good. The gauge is giving a reading of 2.24 feet or 377 c.f.s. This is just a little above the daily normal of 281 c.f.s. The rivers are very clear so you need to be stealthy.

Fishing will be slow this weekend. Water temperatures didn't warm up near as much as I figured they would. The sun is out though so if you wait till mid-day and concentrate on the sunny sections of stream you are likely to run into some trout. Expectations need to be tempered this time of year. You can't count on any 50 fish days unless you are on a delayed harvest stream where the stocked trout don't know that they aren't supposed to be eating when the water is this cold.

If you go stay in the lower elevations. You won't want to be too far from your car just in case you take a spill. Nymphs weighted to get to the bottom are the best bet. If you aren't getting hung up every now and then you probably need more weight. Fishing two nymphs can be effective. Have a larger fly for the weight and then a smaller one to give the trout options.

Walter Babb is downstairs right now. He isn't suppsed to start tying till 10 but it sounds like he is already going. If you have never seen Walter tie a fly it is a thing of beauty. I'm not sure how long he has been tying but I know it is longer than I've been alive. Walter is not only an amazing tyer, he is also a great story teller. It is worth the drive up here just to watch and listen.

It won't be long and Spring will be here. We are working hard here at the shop to get things ready for the warmer weather. The new version of the Online Catalog is coming along. I forgot how much work it is. It really isn't hard work....just VERY time consuming. We have split it up which makes it goes quicker. Byron has been making hundreds of pictures for us to load up. Everything about this new version is going to be cleaner and more user friendly. This one will be mobile friendly so if you shop on your phone or tablet you won't just be seeing a shrunk down version.

Getting ready for Spring we have to clear out some stuff to make room for new merchandise. We still have some Simms Headwaters chestpacks and backpacks on sale 40% off. Simms T-shirts are also on sale. Just give us a call if you can't make it up here to see for yourself.

Byron will be back writing the report in the morning. He's likely to have some new stories after the weekend. Taking a trip with friends is always a great way to re-stock the story archives.

Walter Babb will be tying till 2pm. Stop by when you come to town. Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Daniel Drake
January 30, 2016

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