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 6:30 am, the temperature is 35.1 degrees. We have some very warm days and nights ahead. Expect highs in the mid-70’s through Saturday. Lows will be in the high 40’s to mid 50’s.

Little River is flowing at 341 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.16 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 417 cfs. The water temperature is 46.9 degrees. Yesterday, the water temperature peaked at over 48 degrees.

What we are looking for is a water temperature of 50 degrees or warmer. We almost got there yesterday. We should reach that point today and for the remainder of the week.

Fishing was probably fair yesterday. We have had a few days this winter when the temperature reached 48, and fishing was good. It will be better at 50 degrees or warmer.

Expect good fishing this afternoon and into the early evening today. Fishing may be good earlier, depending on the water temperature. It will be sunny today, then partly cloudy Wednesday through Friday. We have a chance for rain Saturday and Sunday.

I would be prepared with dry flies on the rivers this week. Aquatic insects will be on the water at times. The species will vary. You may see Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, Blue Wing Olives, stoneflies and caddis. You may see other species of mayflies on the water. If the trout are not taking dry flies, switch to nymphs or wet flies. Hatches will likely be sporadic and you may not see any at all.

Fishing will be good to very good this week in the Smokies. It may be excellent, depending on how warm the water gets, and it will get warm. The longer the temperature is sustained at 50 degrees or warmer, the better the fishing will be.

Paula and I sat on the front porch last night, gazing at the mountains. We heard spring peepers, saw deer and terrestrial insects attracted to our lighting. It was a warm, beautiful evening.

The long term weather forecast through March 22, predicts warm days and nights throughout the period, with lows never dipping below 40 degrees and highs in the 60’s and 70’s. This could change, especially further out.

This report page was opened and probably read by 723 people yesterday. That number has averaged 633 per day over the past month. Readership is low during the winter. Then it picks up when fishing gets better. Yesterday, we saw a fair increase in the number of people interested in Smoky Mountains fishing. We’ll see that number steadily grow over the next few days. The highest number of readers in February occurred on February 23rd at 869. The lowest number for the month was on the 13th at 406.

Some people are confused by the numbers at the top of this page. They believe they are shown in real time. Those are the numbers I read and place there early in the mornings. I state the time they are checked below the date at the top of the page. 

If you are interested in seeing the water temperature and flows throughout the day, click on the USGS Stream Gauges below and pick Little River Townsend. There, you will see current data. These numbers change all day long and they are important numbers to watch.

In the Spring, when the water is cool, fishing is often better late in the day, when the water is warmer. During the Summer, when the water is warmer, fishing is often better early in the mornings, when the water is cooler.

Elevation plays into water temperature. This week, the water will be colder in the higher elevations. So, I would fish in the low to mid elevations. Since they are close to home, I would fish the East Prong of Little River to Elkmont, the Middle Prong Little River or the West Prong Little River. Don’t forget Abrams Creek. The evening hatches there can be awesome. I would go to Lynn Camp Prong, which is considered a mid-elevation stream.

On the other hand, when the water is warm, I would choose a mid to high elevation stream.

Everyone at the shop and customers who come in, are excited about these great fishing conditions predicted this week and further in the future, in the Smoky Mountains.

I’m will be happy to see the lowland rivers and lakes warm. The lowland rivers offer excellent fly fishing for smallmouth bass and other panfish. In April, we’ll see the white bass run, up these rivers from the lakes. Those fish will eat the eyeballs off a white Clouser.

The lakes will warm and the smallmouth bass will move to the shallows. They will be hitting black Wooly Buggers at first, then chase after foam flies on top, and poppers. Now that is fun. Largemouth bass, bluegill, carp and striper fishing will get good again.

When TVA stops churning water into the tailwaters, we’ll have great trout fishing in the Clinch and Holston rivers. Smallmouth bass fishing in the lower reaches of the tailwaters can be excellent even in the Summer months. I can’t wait for that.

Great fly fishing is happening now or is about to happen. It appears cold weather may be over for the year, until next Fall. I hope so. I’ve been looking forward to this Spring more than any so far.

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

Byron Begley
March 8, 2016

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