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.  At 5:45 am, the temperature is 30 degrees.  It appears winter weather is behind us, at least for the next 10 days.  Most days, in that period, we’ll see high temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s.

There is still plenty of snow to melt.  The roads are fine.  Many roads in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are still closed.  Yesterday, Laurel Creek Road to Cades Cove and the Cades Cove Loop Road opened.

Most years, after the 1st week of March, it is warmer and fishing is better.  It looks like we will make it through that first week with warm temperatures.  Maybe our Angler’s Spring has arrived.

Little River is flowing strong at 401 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.31 feet on the gauge.  That flow is fishable.  Median flow for this date is 315 cfs.  The water is still cold, 37.6 degrees.  Fishing will be slow today.

We’ll see that number creep up this weekend and higher next week. We will get some rain next week.  That, along with warm temperatures will improve the fishing conditions, unless we get too much rain.  That seems unlikely right now.

Our spring merchandise early shipments are scheduled to arrive now through Monday. It looks like our timing is perfect.

Anglers will be showing up at the shop next week, anxious to fish.  Business will pick up. 

Don’t plan a long distance fishing trip next week to the Smokies, based on what the forecast is showing us now.  We may have short periods of decent fishing but don’t count on hand over fist fishing activity.  We’re not there yet.  Next Thursday, for instance, will be cold.  Fishing will be better, but but I would wait a week or so.  This is the beginning.  Early Spring fishing is sporadic.  It all depends on the water temperature.  We have some snow in the mountains.  It needs to melt and be flushed out of the streams. 

And, the forecast could change that far out.

On the positive side, fishing conditions are going to be much better than they have been. It’s time to get ready.

Yesterday was beautiful here.  We had heavy snow night before last.  In open areas, we had a foot of snow on the ground, a total of the last two snow events.  I measured it.  In the forest, were we live, the snow clung to the trees and much of it did not reach the ground.  Later yesterday, the fog in the mountains lifted.  Those mountains were solid white. 

Yesterday was my first day off in two weeks.  I worked in the woodworking shop in the basement, cleaning and organizing.  I put on some rubber boots and walked around the property, down to the barn and out to the main road. 

I learned something I did not expect.  We had a metal roof installed on the house last Summer.  We have metal roofs on the new carport and boat house.  The surprise to me was, when the snow comes off those roofs, it happens almost all at once, or in big chunks.  I’m used to snow clinging to the roof until it melts with asphalt shingles. 

The snow load on the carport slid off and piled up over two feet, probably close to 3 feet.  What if I had been standing there when that happened?  The roofline edge on the front of our house is 30 feet from the ground.  I learned, you don’t want to be walking around under a roofline after a heavy snow when it is melting.  I didn’t know about that.  This is the first metal roof I’ve ever owned.

I should have remembered.  I pulled into the parking lot of our bank one year.  I watched as all the snow on that roof slid off and piled up along the front of the bank.  I was probably 30 seconds from being at the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Mike Bone will be at the shop tomorrow for you to meet.  He will be there between 10 am and 2 pm.  Mike will be tying flies and talking about his fly fishing experiences on our local tailwaters.  Mike is a professional guide who has been working on these waters longer than anyone I know.  It’s free.  Just come by. 

Man, I’m excited about next week and the Spring fishing to come.  Like you, I’m over this winter weather.  It’s almost time to start fishing.

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

Byron Begley
February 27, 2015

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