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 5:10 am and 41 degrees on the front porch.  It will rain today through Thursday.  We should catch up on our rainfall totals and get close to normal for the year, this week.

Today’s high is predicted to be 61 degrees and tomorrow we should climb to 65 or above.  Thursday and Friday will be chilly, then it will warm up again.

Little River is flowing at 645 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.67 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 319 cfs.

Little River’s water temperature is rising along with the flow.  Snow is melting in the mountains.  The cold water from the snowmelt hampered the rising water temperatures yesterday.  But, the river still warmed.  Yesterday morning the water temperature was 42.6 degrees.  It rose close to 44 degrees yesterday.  Right now the water is 43 degrees.  We should see that number rise today and tomorrow, despite the melting snow, I think.

Looking at the long term forecast, out to March 12th, I see warm days, except for Thursday and Friday. I believe Spring is here and fishing is going to be good soon, maybe very soon, maybe any day, maybe today or tomorrow. 

There are other indications that Spring has arrived, though we’ve been fooled before.

I can see the ground.  There is no snow in the valley.

Robins are everywhere in big numbers.  They showed up two weeks ago, then retreated somewhere when we had that awful weather.  Now, they are back.

The wild turkeys have changed their behavior.  I see them, close up, almost every day.  Sometimes as many as 30 raid our bird feeding area right behind the house.  I throw out some corn, away from the house, hoping to keep them from eating the bird seed.  They eat the corn, then sometimes raid the bird feeding area.  The come up to within 10 feet or our house.  When I’m working at home, I look out my office window, and the forest is infested with wild turkeys.  I even recognize individual birds. 

Now, they come by in smaller groups.  Before, there were two flocks, one with 23 young birds, the other with 28 or more older gobblers and hens.  Also, the gobblers are getting aggressive toward each other. They chase each other away from the food.  That didn’t happen during the winter.  They are preparing to mate.  Soon, they will break up into individuals and smaller flocks. 

I will not commit to anything in April and May 2015, nothing except fishing.  If I’m asked to do something other than fishing, day or night, I’m going to decline.  I’m keeping all options open.

We spent last summer remodeling the house and I have not been fishing hardly at all since we started.  That’s over.  This is going to be a fishing year. 

There will be times, in April and May, when fishing is excellent.  Those special days are rare.  Paula and I will be fishing or I’ll be fishing with friends on those days.  On those days, I’ll go fishing after work too.  Or, I won’t be working at all and fishing all day.   

My time will always be open without those commitments.  I’ll be looking for cloudy days with not much wind.  I’ll be in the boat or a kayak, fly fishing for smallmouth bass.  Or, I’ll be fishing for trout in the Park.

I mentioned small remote places to fish in a recent fishing report.  I was talking about small lakes, ponds and large pools on rivers nearby.  I was also referring to coves in lakes that are hardly visited by humans.  These places are almost void of other fishermen on weekdays.

I never mention the names of these special places on the internet.  I’ll tell you in person at the shop, but not the whole world.  I could talk about one little lake on this report, and soon find it crawling with anglers.  I did that once and learned my lesson.  Paula and I called to rent a cabin on that lake, and we could not get one.  Every cabin was booked for weeks.  All of a sudden, I heard more people talking about that place.  I will never mention that place again on the internet.

I know two special places, that would result in my death by friends, if I wrote the names here.  People tell me about places, and end the sentence with, “Don’t say anything on the fishing report.”  I’m serious.

These places require small boats.  When I’m there, I often see people I know.  I hardly ever see people I don’t know.  I hardly see people at all.  These places are so small, a hoard of anglers would ruin them for everyone.  So, I keep my friends and keep my mouth shut.

You can find them on your own.  There are many I have not found.  There are some, people won’t tell me about, for fear of overcrowding. 

We live in an area that is partially covered by water, proportionately more than most places I’ve been.  Look at the map.  You will see a lot of blue.

We are far from a large metropolitan area.  This part of East Tennessee is not densely populated. So, fishermen are spread out.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the same.  We have nearly 1,000 miles of streams in that park alone.  Those streams are only crowded at times, at easy access points.  You can always get away from other anglers.

My perspective may be skewed because I never go fishing on weekends.  I always work on weekends, Friday through Sunday.  It’s been that way for me for 20 years.  I don’t think I’ve been fishing on a weekend once during that time.  When I go to the lakes and rivers, I don’t see many people.  But that is always on a Monday through Thursday.

I planned my life that way and it has worked out well.  I also promised myself, I will go fishing more than I used to, from now on.  I have less fishing days left, so I’m going fishing more.  I’m not sick or anything like that.  I just finally realized I’m getting older and I’ve made a very important decision that won’t change.

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

Byron Begley
March 3, 2015

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