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 6:50 am, light rain is falling and the temperature is 60 degrees.  Earlier, the tree frogs were singing loud near our house.  We could hear them from inside.  The wild turkeys are behaving differently.  They are preparing to mate.  I’ve been watching them all Winter and can tell, things are different now.  Flowers are emerging from the ground and some are blooming.  It is Spring in Townsend and all indications are, it is here to stay.

Today is my day off this week.  I always work a couple of hours on my day off, writing and publishing this page on the internet and tying a few flies to sell in the shop.  After this report is finished, I’ll go to town to buy interior paint for our boat, and begin the process of painting.  I’m moving the kayak trailer and kayaks to the carport, to give me more room in the boathouse for this project.  I’ll be finished by the weekend and she will be ready to go fishing next week.

Little River is flowing at 621 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.63 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 365 cfs.  The water temperature is 51.4 degrees this morning.

We got a little rain overnight, but not enough to raise the river levels much.  Today we may get heavy rain, up to an inch.  We’ll see if that happens.  Rain continues to be in the forecast through Saturday.

Right now the water levels are higher than normal.  The water is not too high to fish or wade in most streams but that could change later today.  If you go fishing, keep an eye on the water levels.  If you see the river you are fishing rising, get out.

Fishing will be good, depending on the rain we get today.  The water temperature is within the trout’s preferred feeding zone.  It will be warm day and night, all week.  Fishing will continue to be good, contingent on water flows.

Next week looks better.  The chance for rain will diminish.  It will be slightly cooler but still what we expect is a typical early Spring period of time.

Aquatic insects are hatching.  You will see Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, stoneflies and caddis on the water.  Dan saw a whole assortment of insect adults in one area Monday, near the confluence of the East and West Prongs of Little River.  He only saw one trout rise.

Sometimes, during the early Spring, it takes a while for trout to respond to food being on the surface.  If you see adult insects on the water, and do not see trout feeding, use a wet fly or nymph. 

Remember, the higher the elevation you are on a river, the water will usually be colder.  If fishing is slow, check the water temperature.  Anglers noticed colder water, higher on Lynn Camp Prong this weekend.  While that temperature was in the mid 40’s, downstream at the “Y”, it was colder, 41 degrees higher upstream.

The coming of Spring and good fishing is the most exciting time of the year, for a boy like me.  It’s always been this way.  It always seems like Winter will never end.

In 1973, I moved from Central Kentucky, where I grew up, to Nashville, Tennessee to open and run my first business. It was a small franchised printing company at the time.

Moving only that far South, shortened the Winter.  I think Tennessee is the perfect place to live if fishing is your passion.  Not only do we have so many places to fish, for many different species, we have a longer fishing season than most states, especially those that have a good trout fishery.  We have an excellent trout fishery in Tennessee, especially in East Tennessee.     

I’ve always worked long hours, at least 60 each week.  When you own a business, there is always work to be done to be successful.  Ask anyone who owns a business that made it.  They put in the time.  Look at those who failed.  You will probably find, they did not put in the time.  I have always been motivated, to the highest degree, by “Fear Of Failure”.

But, I always found time to go fishing.  And at this point in my life, fishing has become a higher priority. 

Spring has always offered the best fishing for me. Maybe my perception is skewed by a heightened sense of enthusiasm.  I can tell you right now, on a scale of 1 to 10, my fishing enthusiasm is pushing the limit to 10. 

Being in the fishing business doesn’t help reduce that urge to fish and the disappointment I feel when I can’t.  I think, being in the fishing business makes it worse.  All we talk about at work is fishing.  Everywhere you look, there is fishing stuff.  Every morning, even on my day off, I start the day writing about fishing.  What do we talk to customers about?  Fishing.  What do we talk to salesmen about?  Fishing.  It is nearly impossible, to be in the fishing business, and not think about fishing all day long. 

Then, I look outside in February, and see a landscape that is definitely not conducive to fishing.  It is cold, the water is cold, fishermen walk in the shop and talk about how awful it is that we can go fishing today, and I feel their pain, every day.

Well, those days are over for the year and I am glad.  I think they are.  My heightened sense of enthusiasm indicates they are.  Customers are catching trout.  Fishing is going to be better as the days go by.  This is my time of year and I’m glad it is here.

The Fishing Gauge is pointing to good today because of the water temperature.


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

Byron Begley
March 11, 2015

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