Townsend, Tennessee - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  I am here very early this morning.  The turkeys were still roosting when I left the house.  I have a meeting in Maryville this morning.  It is overcast right now and chilly, 42 degrees in Townsend.  Some of the mountains in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are blocked by fog.  My view from here is fine.  The air is clear and the mountains are in vivid view.

We got plenty of rain last night.  I noticed early that the spring creek that runs behind our house was almost out of its banks.  When I got to the store I found we had 1.3 inches of rain here overnight. 

Little River is gushing through town.  The water is off color too, not muddy just turbid on the low end of the scale.  Flow is 1,450 cubic feet per second.  Median flow for this date is 374 cfs.  The Townsend gauge is reading 4.06 feet right now.  The water temperature was 51 degrees at the swinging bridge at 7:02 am.

Wading in the Smokies streams will be dangerous for a while. If you go fishing stay close to the bank and do some high sticking with weighted nymphs.  There is no rain in the forecast until Monday.  The water will drop today and tonight.  The temperature tonight will drop to near freezing.  Then it will warm back up and it will feel like Spring again.  The high tomorrow should be in the low 60’s.

Fishing has been excellent.  It has been about as good as it can be.  This high water today will force anglers to make a decision.  Should I drive to the Smokies to fish?  I wish I could tell you what the water levels will be tomorrow but I can’t.  There are too many variables.  The ground is saturated.  The river has peaked. 

The river could drop 6” by tomorrow morning.  That would be my guess.  That still leaves it at 3.5 feet at the Townsend gauge.  That is still high but some streams might be OK to fish if you are careful. The water temperature is going to be good today and tomorrow afternoon.  The water is probably already clear in the Park.

On March 3rd the gauge reading was a little over 3.5 feet.  It took two days to drop a foot.  It took 3 days to reach normal median flow.       

What you are going to find today, tomorrow and Sunday is higher than normal water. Today and tomorrow will be much higher than normal.  

Three men tried to paddle from the Abrams Creek Ranger Station to Chilhowee Lake on Wednesday.  Like many before them, the trip turned into a nightmare.  I know other people who have tried this and met the same fate.  The men were found alive and well yesterday.  Actually the hiked several miles to find a homestead and help.  But, they spent the night in the woods, wet and cold. There are two stories I have found already, one on the Daily Times website and the other on the KnoxNews website.

Most people don’t understand the danger they are putting themselves into by trying this.  Abrams Creek, below the campground and ranger station is in a very remote wilderness area.  I have never tried it but I have hiked up from the lake.  There are some tricky currents and slick rocks in there.  I never found a maintained trail anywhere in that stretch of water, which I think is about 8 miles long.  I’m glad everything turned out fine and the guys are OK.  What an experience that must have been.

Year before last there was an abandoned and beat up canoe in lower Abrams Creek where it enters the Lake.  We saw it several times, lodged against a tree.  Maybe it washed down from a point upstream where it had been lost years ago when someone tried to take that adventure.  Or it could have been the result of a more recent event similar to what happened Wednesday. That area of Abrams Creek is not a place many people have visited without a story to tell.  My advice is to stay out of there.

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

Byron Begley
March 9, 2012  

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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