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.  It is 24 degrees.  We have about 2” of new snow on the ground.  And, the snow is still falling. 

Little River is flowing at 592 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.58 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 337 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:48 am is 36.3 degrees.

Almost all roads in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are closed.  I don’t know if the guys will open our store today.

I got an e-mail from a friend and customer from Mississippi yesterday and what he said really hit home.  I keep talking about Angler’s Spring, when the water warms and aquatic insects are hatching.  Trout are slurping these early Spring bugs off the water.  It is a wonderful time to be here.  That is what we wait for all Winter.  That usually happens in early March.

To be here for that event, he has planned fishing trips to the Smokies in early March.  Every time, the weather has been awful.  Fishing has been slow to non-existent. 

I try to think about people who travel long distances when I describe the fishing conditions.  I used to be one of those people.  That was before the internet and much less information than we have now.  I often found myself in the same situation he has experienced.

Sometimes, changing plans at the last minute, when you have a group of friends, going on a fishing trip that was planned over the winter, is hard to do.  You really want to go, no matter what.

Though early March can be awesome here, it can also be a terrible time to fish.  It all depends on the weather.  For instance, remember the the early 90’s.  In the early 90’s, we had probably the worst snow storm anyone can remember, in early March.  After a couple of days, I was able to drive from Maryville to this property where this house was under construction.  The roads to our private road were fine.  Here, the snow was over 30 inches deep.  I know, because I tried unsuccessfully to walk to the house site.  My inseam is 30 inches.  There was no way.

We had the big flood in early March during the 90’s.  To put that into perspective, todays flow in Little River is 592 cfs.  From what I recall, during that flood, the flow was over 15,000 cfs.  Homes were destroyed.  Little River was even flowing over Highway 321 in Walland.  Again, that was early March.

One year, we had cold air that was unbelievable for the time of year.  That happened in early April.

So, if you are looking for the best month to plan your fishing trip here, and those plans are hard to change at the last minute, come in early May.  You will have missed the early hatches.  But, there is always excellent fishing then, depending of course, on water flows.

Early March is not a safe bet.  April is better.  May is better than April.  Now, if you are in a position to quickly change plans, go for early March if you know the fishing conditions and the fishing is good.  But, be ready to change your plans at the last minute.  Now, we know what is going on here and have the ability to get the information to you in virtually “real time”.  When the unexpected happens, I occasionally update this fishing report during the day.

I get e-mail from customers asking me what the fishing will be like days or weeks into the future.  I don’t know.  I try to explain what is normal.  But I always tell them, we don’t know for sure.  This is a weather dependent sport and a weather dependent business.  I do know that.  I’ve been doing this work for 20 years.  And, I’ve been fly fishing in the Smokes over 30 years.

Daniel called and they will hopefully open today but it will be later than usual. 

Fishing is not advised today in the Smoky Mountains.  We will probably have hikers, sightseers and maybe fishermen, walk into the Park today.  This snow is beautiful right now.  I would wait a while before venturing out.  Or, don’t venture out at all.  I’m planning to go the shop to pick up some fly tying materials that arrived late yesterday.  But, I have a big, heavy, 4 wheel drive truck with new aggressive tires.

It is light outside now.  The snow has stopped falling.  I looks like we have about 3 inches now.

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

Byron Begley
February 24, 2015

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