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.  It is overcast, raining lightly and 55 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I noticed the color of fresh new green vegetation has appeared about 1/3 the distance up to the peak of Rich Mountain.  The other 2/3’rds are still brown. 

We got drenched last night.  Our gauge at the shop indicated we had almost two inches of rain.  The creeks are blown out.  Little River in town is up and muddy. 

Right now, the flow in Little River is 723 cubic feet per second (cfs) and it is still rising.  The gauge reading is 2.94 feet.  Median flow for this date is 357 cfs.  The water temperature is 52.2 degrees at 8:20 am.

The USGS flow chart for the river is pointing up, straight up.  There is no way I can predict the peak but I think we’re going to see the flow get much higher than it is now.

It appears by looking at the weather radar, the heavy rain may be over.  The forecast says we’ll get more. 

From what I’ve seen, fishing in the Smokies is not advised today.  And, fishing in the lowland rivers, including Little River is not advised and is dangerous either wading or in a boat.  We will see cars and trucks loaded up with whitewater kayaks go by the store today.  I think the flows will be perfect for them.

Fishing was very good until today.  Rob Fightmaster took three students to the Park yesterday for their first time on the water.  He told me last night, “everyone caught fish and had tons of strikes”.  It was a perfect day.  It was cloudy all day.  The sun can be a negative factor, especially during the early Spring when leaves are not on the trees.

Paula and I planned to fish Wednesday on one of the Little T lakes.  Now, we found out that it will be sunny Wednesday.  So, we’re going to try to go tomorrow.  It depends if I can get away from work.  I think we have some staff scheduling issues this week.  So, we may not be able to go.

The lakes we fish are extremely clear.  We can often see the bottom in 12 to 14 feet deep.  It’s kind of spooky too.  I’ll be driving the boat along and see boulders pass under the boat.  I have to check the depth finder and see how deep it really is.  It often looks two feet deep when in reality, it is 10 feet deep. 

The problem with clear lakes is, fish can see you and the boat.  We are fishing with fly rods in shallow water.  When the sun is bright and high, the fish go deeper, find shaded areas and are even spookier.  The solution is to go early and late.  Either launch early and go home early, or launch late and fish until near dark. 

It has to be one or the other for me.  I can’t stay out there from daylight until dark.  I guess you could pull into a cove and take a nap during the mid-day hours.  Paula and I prefer cloudy days.  We can have great days of fishing, all day long. A little rain helps too.  Some chop on the water is helpful.  

The lakes and tailwaters might be an option today.  The freestone streams and lowland rivers are probably out of the question.  Wind is predicted today.  Unless that advisory has been terminated, I would stay off the lakes.  This is probably not a good fishing day.

It looks like it will be a good fly tying day.  I saw staff doing a lot of re-stocking in the fly tying department this weekend. 

I’m basically locked in my office working on accounting and web design.  We have some big website plans this year.  One new website should launch in a couple of weeks.  I’ve been working on it since early February.  This will be a totally different website with it’s own domain name.  I can’t wait to see how this works out.  I’m sure I’ll have a hundred hours of time invested in this site and there is a lot more to come.

The two big hurdles that take 90% of the time in building a site are photography and content.  Content is the text portion of the site.  That is by far the most time consuming component. 

I’m a pretty fast writer.  When doing this, you can’t get interruptions.  When that happens, I lose my train of thought.  That’s why I write this fishing report early, before the store opens. 

The fishing report requires a few minutes to gather data.  Then, I write the report in Microsoft word.  After that is finished, it takes about 5 minutes to save yesterday’s report in the archive, change the data on the report page, paste in the report content then change the data on the home page.  It takes an hour.  It takes 360 hours per year.  That equates to 9 work-weeks for many people during a year.  That’s two months for some people!

When I’m off, Daniel writes the report.  Somehow, when I don’t do it, I feel like something is missing in my day.  I love fly fishing and I love talking and writing about fly fishing.  It’s not quite as much fun describing a piece of gear as it is talking about catching a fish. Lately, I’m writing about and describing fly fishing gear.

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

Byron Begley
April 7, 2014  

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