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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is sunny and 37 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The air is clear and the Great Smoky Mountains are in vivid view.  It is a beautiful day.  Cars and trucks were buzzing around town, more than usual for a day in February.

Clouds will move in later along with rain.  Tonight that rain may turn to snow.  That should not affect the valley.  The low tonight will only be 29 degrees.  The mountains will probably get some accumulation of snow.  Then, starting tomorrow, it is going to be cold for a couple of days. 

Water temperatures right now are cool.  The streams will become much colder by Sunday.  If you want to go fishing, go today.  The high temperature today is supposed to be 54 degrees.

Fishing will be slow but you could still catch a trout or two by dredging the river bottoms with weighted nymphs.  Pinch on a piece of split shot or two.  I would probably use a Tellico, Pheasant Tail or Prince Nymph.  You will have to work hard for what you catch.  However, you will find solitude, peace and tranquility in the Smokies until the rain moves in.  I would fish in the lower elevations.

It appears our local tailwaters will be generating today.  I checked Cherokee, Douglas and Norris.  TVA is still draining water from the impoundments.  This has been a very wet year so far.  The lakes are above Winter pool.  They need to be lowered to be ready for the Spring rains.  That is making it tough for us.  Tailwaters are an excellent place to fly fish for trout during the Winter when the freestone streams are so cold.  This year, the weather has not been good to us.  I have heard that boat fishing on the South Holston has been good. 

I was talking to Alex at Blackberry Farm yesterday.  He runs the fly fishing program there.  He reminded me that this time last year, Quill Gordons and Blue Quills were hatching like crazy in the Smokies.  That caught us all by surprise last year.  Angler’s Spring came early, very early.  Fly shops were scrambling to get flies in earlier than normal.  It was fun.  This Spring is going to be more normal, I hope.

It is going to be very cold tomorrow so visiting our shop would be a good thing to do.  We’ve got a lot going on as usual on a Saturday during the Winter. 

First, we have a Intermediate Fly Tying Class.  There are a few openings should, you be interested.  Call the shop to reserve a spot.

Bill Boyd Jr. and Bill Boyd Sr. will be tying flies for your enjoyment. This is part of our Free Winter Fly Tying Demonstration program.  They will start at 10:00 am and tie until 2:00 pm.  It’s free.  All you have to do is show up.

Keep an eye on the weather and road conditions.  Should be get some kind of a bad weather event, everything could be cancelled.  You can check here in the morning or call the shop.  I don’t expect anything like that to happen but you never know.

There isn’t much going on in town.  I suspect some tourism activity because of Valentines and Presidents Day Holidays.  If the mountains get some snow, people will be here to see it. 

Tourism is very slow here between November and March.  Fly fishermen arrive in March.  That kind of kicks off the season.  In April and May, it is wildflower time.  Photographers, hikers and nature lovers arrive.  Spring is never crowded here like it is in other tourist areas.  Townsend’s peak Tourist Season happens during the Summer and Fall.

We are all anxious to see what this year brings.

Camping opportunities and campgrounds are a very important asset to our town and tourism business.  Here, you can actually camp in a remote area with not many people packed in, much of the time.  We have developed campgrounds, most of them are on the river.  We have two large National Park Campgrounds nearby, Cades Cove and Elkmont.  There are many backcountry, undeveloped campgrounds in the Park that can only be reached by backpackers.

If it were not for camping, I may never have found this beautiful place.  During the late 70’s and 80’s, I was a camper.  I would camp and fly fish with my friends.  Townsend is a great place to do both.  The developed campgrounds have changed slightly.  They offer more amenities.  I didn’t care about a wi-fi connection back then, we didn’t have the internet.  There was no cable TV in campgrounds back then.  Now, these developed campgrounds have both and more.

The campgrounds in the National Park have not changed much during the past 30 years.  They were great back then and they are now. 

I don’t see any difference in the backcountry sites.  They look the same to me.

If you are a camper and fly angler, you should give our area a try.  I can’t think of a better place to pitch a tent and string up a fly rod.  I can’t think of something better to do than pitch a tent and string up a fly rod.  I mean really, how much better can it be?

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

Byron Begley
February 15, 2013

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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