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

Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains.  At 6:30 am, the temperature is 61.3 degrees.  Rain is likely today and tonight. Rain may be heavy.  Strong winds may be present. Beginning tomorrow, the rain will be over and cooler air will arrive.  Expect highs in the 70’s with lows in the low 50’s this weekend.

Little River is flowing at 107 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.47 on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 79 cfs.  The water temperature is 62.6 degrees.

Fly fishing in the Smokies has been very good.  Anglers are catching trout on both nymphs and dry flies.  Sometimes a dry works best and other times the nymphs produce. You will probably catch the larger trout on nymphs.  But sometimes, a 20+ inch brown will take a dry fly.

This weekend and next week should offer very good fishing in the mountains.  The only negative I see could be heavy rain tonight and high water tomorrow.  We’ll have to see how that turns out.  Otherwise, the next 9 days will be perfect, cloudy at times, sunny at times, not much chance for rain and very cool temperatures.

Actually, I hope we get a good amount of rain to get the water levels back up.  It is raining now.  A small cell passed over.  I can see another smaller one on its way. 

It is going to look and feel like Fall for a while. All predictions I find, indicate peak foliage will be here in the middle of October.  Well, it’s almost the middle of October.

We will see a lot of traffic in the Park and in town for at least two weeks, maybe three.  It’s that time of year.  Then, the leaves will fall, and the season will be over.  Fishermen will be catching their share of leaves for a while.  But, fishing will remain good until the water temperature drops into the 40’s.  And still, the post spawn brown trout will be very active, through November and December.  They are hungry and eager after they spawn.

Townsend is a wonderful place to live.  You probably know, the people here are friendly.  You may know the views are always wonderful, even during the winter.  We have mountains, wild trout streams, lowland rivers and lakes nearby.  Townsend is an outdoor lover’s dream. 

What you may not know is, most of the time, it is quiet here.  Visitation is heavy during a time in the Summer and right now.  The rest of the year, it is peaceful.

That makes it tough for businesses.  Those who made it, adapted.  Business here is weather dependent.  Weekends are always the best times for business.  Bad weather can ruin a weekend.  We know it, we live with it and there is nothing we can do about the weather but watch it.

We usually have mild winters.  Last winter was an exception. We see spurts of good business during the winter on holidays.  Then, it dies again.

At our store, we do everything we can to get people to visit our town during the winter.  We hold free fly tying demonstrations and fly tying classes.  That helps.  We held Fly Tyers weekend last year at the beginning of the slow season.  That gave tourism a little boost for one weekend. We’re doing it again this November.  People are booking rooms, cabins and campsites for that right now. If the weather cooperates, some of those attending may stay an extra day or two to fish.  Fishing can be awesome in November.  It depends on the weather.

When early Spring comes, fishermen are the first to arrive along with hikers and backpackers.  Fishermen are waiting for that magic water temperature number, 50 degrees.  That can happen as early as February but usually it occurs in March.  At 50 degrees, the bugs start coming off.  Blue quills, blue wing olives and those wonderful mayflies, the ones we refer to as Quill Gordons.

Of course, we often get heavy rain in the early Spring.  Sometimes we have floods.  Some days, the rivers are not fishable.  And other days, the fishing can be as good as it gets.

We’ve been in business 20 years.  I’ve seen this cycle repeated 20 times.  I watch the weather every day, much more than I did in my earlier life.  Before, I only watched the weather when I planned to go fishing or if I knew a snowstorm was approaching.

Now, we can predict good fishing easier and more accurately thanks to the internet.  We can see the water levels and water temperatures, in real time, on the web.  Before that, we had to guess or call someone who lived near the river or lake and saw it every day. Usually we guessed and often guessed wrong.

We can see water release schedules from dams on the web.  I remember when we called someone and asked, what the generation would be that day.  One technological advancement, gave us the ability to call and listen to a recording, to find out when TVA would be generating at the dams.  I remember quickly writing down the information, missing something, then calling back again to hear the recorded message. 

I guess that is the reason, I put so much time into this fishing report.  I remember what it was like, “Not Knowing”. 

I try to write and predict, to the average fisherman.  The Fishing Gauge is usually conservative.  I’m conservative.  I don’t want anyone to be disappointed.  I try to predict the stream conditions to anglers who may be driving long distances to get here. Before I moved here, I made lots of trips to the Smokies, only to find high water and terrible conditions.  We didn’t know back then.  We didn’t have the internet. We guessed.

So, here I sit, looking at browser windows with weather radar and weather forecasts, wondering what to write.  I can’t tell you for sure what the fishing conditions will be tomorrow or Sunday.  I can say with certainty, fishing will be very good next week.  And, it might be awesome tomorrow.  Or maybe it won’t.

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

Byron Begley
October 9, 2015

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