Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast and 32 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Today’s high should be around 65 degrees.  Right now it doesn’t look like Spring at all except for the daffodils that have been blooming for a couple of weeks or more.  It is going to feel like Spring this afternoon and next week.  Finally.

Little River is still flowing strong at 542 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 319 cfs.  The water temperature was 41.7 degrees at 7:55 am.

Fishing in the Smokies is slow right now but that will change soon.  If you go this morning be prepared to fish with nymphs.  The trout and aquatic insects are not very active.  This afternoon, fish the sunny riffles and runs.  You might see some hatches as the water warms.  You will most likely see Blue Wing Olives, Quill Gordons and Blue Quills.  Those hatches will probably be sporadic and short lived today. 

If you a planning to visit the Smokes this weekend I can only tell you that the fishing will improve.  To what extent, I don’t know.  The water temperature will be moving upward starting today.  Whether it will reach that ever important 50+ degree mark is an unknown.  I don’t think we have much snow that will melt in the higher elevations.  The National Weather Service indicated 5” at Mt. LeConte and a trace at Newfound Gap yesterday morning.  The caretaker at Mt. LeConte described the snow as spotty up there on his website.  So, snow won’t be a problem this weekend in keeping the water temperatures lower than expected like it was last week.

Low temperatures at night will be near 50 degrees through the weekend.  That is a very good sign of things to come.  Highs will be in the 60’s.

There is no doubt, fishing will be very good over the next few days and that will begin this weekend unless the weather forecast changes, which has happened often lately.  Next week will be better. The bugs and fish will be acclimated to the new warmer temperatures.   The lower elevation streams will fish best, where the water is warmer.

So, go armed with nymph patterns, something like a Tellico, Pheasant Tail or Prince nymph.  Have some small Blue Wing Olive, Blue Quill and Quill Gordon dry flies.  They should all be hatching prolifically at some point over the next few days and sporadically at times.  You can see the current water temperature by CLICKING HERE.  This window will open with Little River’s flow.  Change the view in the box at the top of the page to Water Temperature.  If the temperature is above 50 degrees go fishing.  If it is not, and you live nearby, you might want to go fishing anyway.  Once the temperature is sustained above 50 degrees, it’s time to come to Townsend. 

Read this report before driving long distances to get here.  We had some anglers show up this week and they were surprised at the high water and low water temperatures.  They did not check here.  The fishing gauge above was pointing south to “Slow” like it is now.  The gauge may rise some this afternoon depending on the water temperature.

I would expect the lowland rivers to become more active over the next few days.  I’m planning to do some fly fishing for smallmouth bass next week. 

There is a chance for rain through the weekend with the best chance on Sunday.  It should be overcast this weekend.  We certainly don’t need the rain.  We do need the warm temperatures they say we are going to get.  Heavy rain could render the streams un-fishable.  The ground is saturated and the streams are high.

This forecast is the best news for fly fishing in the mountains that I’ve seen in a while.  I’m pumped.

Update 4:57 pm - The water is getting warmer. It has risen 5 degrees today to 47. Fishing is pretty good using nymphs. Aquatic mayflies are hatching and on the water until the wind blows them off. It is breezy today. Fishing should be good tomorrow but it will be windy again. Sunday, the wind die down and we may have some rain. The water is going to be warm. I think fishing will be good this weekend based on what I'm hearing now.

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

Byron Begley
March 15, 2013 

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