Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina
Welcome to the Fishing Report. Wednesday is my day off so right now I am at home. It is 6:45 am, dark and the temperature is 33 degrees in Dry Valley where we live.
Little River is flowing at 882 cubic feet per second (cfs). Median flow for this date is 349 cfs. The water temperature is 43.5 degrees in Little River at this time.
Fly fishing in the Smoky mountains has been slow. Saturday, the fishing was OK but cold rain and wind put the trout down on Monday. Sunday was fairly slow too. So was yesterday.
Key to waking up the trout and aquatic insects is the water temperature. That temperature needs to reach 50 degrees or higher and be sustained at that temperature before the fishing really picks up and dry fly fishing is good. We are not quite there yet. It’s coming soon. You can catch trout on nymphs when the water is cold and the trout are less active.
There have been some hatches but they are sporadic. Trout have been taking the adult insects when they are on the water. And, at times, even though the mayflies, stoneflies or caddis are on the water, the trout are ignoring them. The fishing just hasn’t turned on yet. A couple of young anglers told me yesterday they saw their first hatch. But, no trout were rising or they didn’t see them.
Though temperatures were unseasonably warm this past weekend, snow was melting in the higher elevations. That tends to keep the water temperature lower. The water temperature of Little River never exceeded 49 degrees this past weekend.
When the water does warm into the 50’s you will see hatches of Quill Gordon, Blue Quill and Blue Wing Olive insects on the water. Once the trout get used to seeing them, the feeding will begin.
Here is what the Weather.com website is predicting over the next few days.
Today – High 43, Low 25
Thursday – High 51, Low 35
Friday – High 63, Low 50 (Now we’re talking)
Saturday – High 62, Low 49
Sunday – High 64, Low 52
Monday – High 67, Low 46
Tuesday – High 58, Low 38
Wednesday – High 64, Low 47
Thursday – High 65, Low 47
Friday – High 67, Low 53
The streams, at least in the lower elevations will start warming up on Friday. It’s hard to say what the water temperatures will be but I think they will be sustained in the 50’s sometime over the next few days. Fishing is begin improving this weekend and will get better next week unless the weather pattern changes.
I can tell, from the number of people who read this fishing report, that fly fishermen are anxiously awaiting that important warm-up. Yesterday, 795 different computers opened this report. That is on the high side. That number is usually 350 to 600 per day. We are waiting.
A couple of really nice young guys are in town this week. They are on Spring break from the University of Kentucky. This is their first trip to the Smokies. They are having a tough time catching trout. The weather has not been cooperating. Also, they are learning the same lessons I did when I was young and started coming to the Smokies to fly fish. They spent some of their time talking to us. We spent some time questioning them about their tactics. Then they would go back out to the rivers to fish.
One thing I did early on was trying to cast too far. You can’t get a good drift. Your fly line, leader and fly are controlled by conflicting currents and not drifting naturally. They were trying to cast too far. I think they might have been fishing in the slower pools where the trout could see them. Getting a good drift and staying hidden are the two most important things you can do to be successful catching wild trout in the Smoky Mountains. I felt their pain. I went through the same learning process. They will be back. They will return when the conditions are better and with some new knowledge that will help them be more successful. It’s guys like these that really make our job more beneficial. They are both smart and they are listeners. We convinced them we all went through this learning process and started out getting skunked. I did way more than my share of that early on.
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Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.
March 13, 2013
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