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 5:15 am, the temperature is 52 degrees. It rained yesterday and into the evening. Total accumulation reported in Townsend was .50” with 1.23” reported at the Knoxville Airport.

There is a slight chance for rain today. The high temperature will be in the high 60’s. We will be under a wind advisory tonight. Expect more rain Wednesday and warm temperatures.

Little River is flowing at 537 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.54 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 330 cfs. The water temperature is 48.7 degrees this morning.

Flows are on the high side of good. Be careful wading in swift water. Some anglers favor flows at this rate. Others don’t.

Fly fishing in the Smokies has improved due to the warmer water. Some anglers reported slow fishing this weekend, while others did well.

Glenn, who is a local fisherman, hooked a large brown this weekend. The fight took him 100 yards down Little River. His net was too small. He tried to land it several times. Other anglers in the area tried to help him land the fish. At the bank, he was able to hold the fish, with help from his net for a photo. The fish got away by breaking his tippet. The brown was 24” long.

Hooking and landing a trout this large in Little River is quite an accomplishment. Brown trout this size and larger are caught every fall and winter, but not many.

In Glenn’s case, this fish was extraordinary. He likes to use light tackle and small flies. He is a very good fisherman.

He fought and landed this fish on a 3 weight fly rod, using 8X tippet and a #20 midge. Now that is extraordinary. He will never forget that day.

Looking ahead at the long term weather forecast, through February 16th, I am encouraged. I see one day with possible snow, the 10th. The chance is low.

There will be a few days with average or below average temperatures. There will be others with above average temps. We will get some rain during the period. We won’t experience an early Spring between now and the 16th. But, most importantly, I don’t see any winter storms. Fishing may be fair at times. It will be slow at times.

March is usually warm, with a historical average high of 61 degrees and a low of 33 degrees. March can be an awesome fishing month in the Smoky Mountains.

Remember though, since I have lived here, about 23 years, we experienced the snow storm of the century in early March. 4 feet of snow fell in the mountains. I measured over 30” at my house. That occurred in the early 90’s.

Also in early March one year, in the early 90’s, we had a 100 year flood. Little River’s flow was calculated to be 15,000 cfs. Today, flow is 537 cfs. Going by memory, I think we have had about two days this winter, when the flow reached 1,000 cfs. Imagine, 15,000!

I am hoping for an early Spring and great fly fishing in late February or early March. Sometimes you get what you hope for. Sometimes you don’t.

I would consider fishing in the mountains today. Little River’s flow has peaked and it is falling. The water is fairly warm. You may do well.

Colder air will move in by the weekend. Expect highs in the 40’s to 50’s with lows in the 20’s to 30’s. No rain or snow is expected. Fishing will probably be slow.

I have been receiving e-mails from customers, asking my opinion about rod and reel purchases. That tells me, anglers are preparing for Spring. Most won’t pull the trigger, until they see good fishing weather in the near future, where they live.

We are doing the same thing. Daniel, Dan and I are working diligently on our new online store. We are hoping to have it ready to launch by mid-March. The new Spring merchandise will be arriving later this month, through early March. Most of the classes are scheduled.

Paula and I have no plans to travel on fishing trips this Spring. We are going to fish here. I can’t wait. Except for fly fishing in saltwater, I see no reason to leave East Tennessee. We’ve got it all near home. That is why we live here. If you want to fish for trout, we’ve got plenty of that. With over 800 miles of wild trout streams in the Smoky Mountains, more in the National Forests and all the tailwaters we have here, it is hard to decide where to go.

If you enjoy fly fishing for smallmouth bass, we’ve got that too. If you enjoy fly fishing for warmwater species in lakes or lowland rivers, we have more water here than you can imagine.

We also have a long fishing season. It comes close to being year-round.

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

Byron Begley
February 2, 2016

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