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 Mountians.  It is overcast and 42 degrees in Townsend this morning.

A huge storm moved across the Southeast United States last night.  I woke to high wind and thunder.  At one point last night, lightning struck so close to our house, it sounded like a cannon going off.  Our house shook.  We could feel it. 

This morning when I came to work, Short Creek, which runs through our property, was high and muddy.  It is a Spring Creek.  Water runs underground, originating at White Oak Sinks in the mountains, and comes to the surface near our house.  White Oaks Sinks got some heavy rain last night.  We didn’t hear much rain last night at our house.

Drainage ditches in Townsend are flowing strong.  But, our rain gauge here only had .20 inches.  The rain must have been scattered. 

I drove by Little River and it is really high and muddy.

The United States Geological Survey flow gauge website is having reporting issues.  At midnight, most of their sites in this area ceased to operate.  They are still down.  At midnight, the flow in Little River was close to 600 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 342 cfs.  I’m certain, the flow is much higher than that now.

Also at midnight, the water temperature in Little River was near 52 degrees. 

So, fishing in the Smokies is uncertain right now.  Maybe some areas did not get much rain.  Little River did.  We don’t know if the water is still rising.  I bet it is. 

If you find a stream that was not affected by heavy rain, fishing will probably be good.  I don’t know where those streams are or if there are any.  The water is warm.  Fishing has been good in streams not affect by melting snow.

For instance, Bill fished around Metcalf bottoms a couple of days ago.  Fishing was slow.  The water temperature was in the low 40’s.  He moved to the West or Middle Prong, (I can’t remember which one), the water was warmer and fishing was good. 

At this point, the snow is probably gone in the high elevations.  Snow was expected to melt completely at Mount LeConte yesterday according to the care taker there.

When the water recedes, fishing will be fairly good. 

Anglers are reporting hatches of Blue Quills, Quill Gordons and Black Stoneflies.  No heavy hatches have been reported, just the sporadic and short lived hatches you would expect in February when the water temperature is 50 degrees.

It has been unusually warm here.  The high temperature yesterday was 74 degrees.  We will see a cooling off period with highs in the low 40’s on beginning Wednesday.  But, we’ll see highs in the mid 60’s this weekend.  Tomorrow will be beautiful, sunshine and 63 degrees.

Roger Lowe will be demonstrating his fly tying skills for you tomorrow between 10 am and 2 pm.  Roger has been guiding fly fishers in the Smokies for at least 20 years.  He lives in Waynesville, NC.  He is an expert.  He is also a very nice guy.  He knows his aquatic insects too.

All you have to do is show up here tomorrow.  Roger’s demonstration is free. Just come in and pull up a chair.  You will learn a lot and see some unbelievable fly tying.  Roger ties like a machine.  He is certainly fun to watch.  While he ties, you will hear and learn from him.  Being here tomorrow will be well worth your time, especially if you enjoy fly fishing in the Smokies.

UPDATE 5:50 PM – The USGS website is operating again.  Tonight, Little River is flowing at 1,240 cfs or 3.67 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 342 cfs.

As to my comments this morning about the light rainfall at our store, I later tested our rain gauge and it was leaking like a sieve.  We probably got about the same amount of rainfall as they did at the Knoxville Airport, 1.37 inches.  I’m sorry for misleading you about our rainfall amount.  I think the rain gauge is now holding water.  I’ll test again tomorrow. 

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

Byron Begley
February 21, 2014

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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