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.  This is my day off so I slept in later than normal.  I flipped on some outside lights and could not believe what I saw.  The snow that fell last night clung to the trees like I haven’t seen in a long time.  Outside I checked the temperature and using a ruler, measured the new snow.  We got about 5 inches on top of what we already had.  I can’t wait until daybreak and hopefully, the mountains will not be fogged in.  At 6:32 am, the temperature was 30 degrees.

It will be cloudy today and about 38 degrees.  We didn’t get any ice that I can tell.  It started snowing yesterday at approximately 5 pm and continued all night.  The road crews in our county should have the roads in good shape soon.  We got 3 inches earlier this week and most of the roads were clear by 10 am.  They even scraped Old Cades Cove Road, which is our main road.  I expect the same today.

The warming trend will begin Saturday.  They say the high will be 44 degrees.  Sunday should bring a high of around 50 degrees.  Tuesday should be awesome, with a high of 64 and a low of 54.  Wednesday will be close to that.  The high March 7th will be in the 50’s if the forecast holds true.

I made a mistake in yesterday’s fishing report.  I said the time would change this Sunday.  I guess my enthusiasm and anticipation ran away with me.  I knew the time is scheduled to change on March 8th.  I just got mixed up.

Little River is flowing above normal at 474 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.36 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 300 cfs.  The water temperature is 35.8 degrees.

Most of the roads in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are closed due to snow and ice.  The Spur is restricted to one lane but it is open. 

Fishing will be slow today in the Park.  The water is cold.  Getting there will be a problem too.  You could park at an entrance and walk in.  People will be doing that today.  I’m sure schools are closed so there will be people going to the Park to enjoy the scenery. 

The Park Service does not use chemicals on the roads.  They rely on snow plows exclusively.  With the expected warm temperatures this weekend, we should see roads open, at least in the lower elevations. 

Fishing may improve next week because it is going to be warm.  Melting snow will hold those temperatures down for a while.  It is going to rain next week, several days in a row.  Right now, is not predicting anything significant.  They are saying we should expect about ¼” per day.

I’m hoping, Spring-like weather, and better fishing will begin next week.  The Smokies streams may warm quickly.  When the water temperature reaches 50 degrees or warmer, during the day, we’ll see some aquatic insects hatching.  Quill Gordons and Blue Quills are the bugs we will be watching for.  Hopefully, the trout will be looking for them too. 

Some years we have huge hatches and others we don’t.  I think high water, flooding and streambed scouring causes that.  Last Spring, our local fishermen reported lighter than normal Spring hatches.  Who knows what this year will be like.

I didn’t fish much last year.  We had too many other things going on, one was, remodeling this house.  I plan to make up for that this year.

Yesterday, I ordered a new trolling motor for our boat.  It is a bow mounted Minn Kota SM with tiller steering.  This is a saltwater motor, in case we take the boat to the coast.  I like tiller steering.  There is less to go wrong.  We’ll still use the transom mounted trolling motor.  I like to put a guest in the bow and push us along from the stern.  That way, they get first shots.  To fish this way, the wind needs to be blowing from the stern.  So, it takes planning.

A stern mounted motor doesn’t work well for me when I’m fishing alone.  The bow is too light and affected by wind.  Now, we will have two options.  Also, when your fly gets hung on a limb on shore, it is easier to retrieve it using the motor on the stern.  I can drive the bow to the bank and whoever is fishing up there can retrieve the fly.  The bow trolling motor won’t hit rocks next to the bank.  It will be pulled up for a fly retrieval maneuver.

I guess it will look odd seeing a boat with two trolling motors but if you see one, it’s probably me.  Our trolling motors are white, because they are designed for saltwater use.  I’ve had fishermen actually tell me they have never seen a white trolling motor.  My friend, Doug has one.  I talked him into buying it.

My plan is to clean up the woodworking shop today, preparing to install some decking on the boat. 

It is daylight and I went outside to look and listen.  In some areas we have a foot of snow on the ground.  The only sound I heard was a crow.  There is absolutely no wind or other noises.  The mountains are obscured by fog.  It is beautiful out there.  This is going to be a good day off.

Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.  I expect the store will open late today, after the roads are cleared.

Byron Begley
February 26, 2015

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