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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. At 5:39 am, the air temperature outside is 28.6 degrees.

Today’s high temperature should reach 65 degrees. Highs in the 60’s and lows in the 40’s are predicted through Tuesday. We have a chance for showers tonight. That chance becomes greater Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The long term outlook calls for very warm days and nights beginning Tuesday March 8th. Expect highs in the 60’s and 70’s through March 13th. Lows will be in the 40’s and 50’s throughout that period. If I were planning a fishing trip to the Smoky Mountains, I would plan it then.

We do have rain in the forecast over the next 15 days. Rainfall this year is above normal.

Little River is flowing at 644 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.71 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 348 cfs. The water temperature is 42.6 degrees. Yesterday, the temperature rose to around 45 degrees.

It will be very warm today. The water temperature should rise higher than 45. How much higher is hard to say. If the temperature rises to 48 degrees, fishing should be pretty good. At 50 degrees, fishing will be very good. You may see some bugs on the water.

Flow is higher than I hoped for today. The gauge is reading 2.71 feet. We take beginner students to the river when the gauge is reading 2.5 feet or lower. So, at the gauge site, the water is a couple of inches higher than that.

Keep this in mind. Little River is wide and flat at the gauge location just inside the National Park. At other locations, the river is constricted and narrower. The water will be higher there, by comparison, at other spots on the river. So, if the flow is 2” higher than 2.5 feet at the site location, it may be several inches higher somewhere else.

Let me put it this way. Flow in Little River is on the high side of good. We have plenty of flow so be careful wading. Always be careful wading. The water temperature will rise today. I think fishing will be best this afternoon. These are not perfect conditions, but it could turn out to be a good fishing day. Or, it may not. I always try to be conservative. Tomorrow and Tuesday will be better.

We are confident at the shop, that Spring fishing is going to take off within days. For that reason, we have released our Spring merchandise shipments. New gear will be arriving this week. Some arrived last week.

Rain could put a damper on the fishing from time to time over the next 15 days. Flows are something you should be watching if you are planning a trip to the Smokies. Water levels fluctuate greatly in the Spring. Water levels are usually high in the Spring anyway. Add more water from rain, and the levels can be too high to fish.

I don’t think water temperature will be a problem over the next 2 weeks. Water levels may be a problem. We are all used to that and sometimes have to adjust our fly fishing schedule accordingly. When the conditions are very good, you need to be here. If you are planning a trip, watch the flow and weather forecasts. You may have to cancel or delay your trip due to water levels. That is just the way it is, in the Spring.

Interstate 75 is closed in Campbell County due to a rock slide that occurred Friday. TDOT thought at first, the road would be opened quickly. They have changed their mind. Some reports I read this morning indicate the re-opening could take days or weeks. CLICK HERE to read the story on the WBIR website.

For now, I would avoid that section of Interstate 75, which is what we call Jellico Mountain, north of Knoxville. Traffic is being re-routed to secondary roads. I-75 is one of, if not the most traveled route in America. If I had to drive to Kentucky today, I don’t know what I would do. I guess I would leaver earlier.

CLICK HERE to see what TDOT has to say about detours. Informed people are probably taking different routes, so traffic may not be bad and the detours may be working smoothly. CLICK HERE for another TDOT page with up to date delay information. You may want to bookmark these pages and check back if you are planning to travel on I-75 in the near future.

If you are driving here from the South, East or West, I don’t know of any other problems.

This is going to be a beautiful day. Fishing could be good. If I were not working today, I would probably go fishing or do something outside. I don’t usually fish on weekends, but I might make an exception today, if I could.

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

Byron Begley
February 28, 2016 

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