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 6:40 am, the temperature is 27 degrees, and the morning light is bringing the forest to life.  It is still very quiet on our front porch.  The animals and birds are inactive.  It may not be official, but it is Winter in the Smokies, for now.

What a weekend in the mountains.  What we had was a blizzard. LeConte Lodge reported 22 inches of snow and a low temperature of 9 degrees Friday night.  Here in the valley, we got a little snow that did not stick to the roads.  We had mostly rain.  Traffic was brisk in Townsend Saturday and Sunday.  It’s amazing what a few thousand feet in elevation can make.

Views from our house and from the shop were interesting yesterday.  The lower elevation mountains were a mixture of green, gold and brown.  The higher elevation mountains were white.  The mountains we see from our house were white.  It is nice to see white mountains without having to drive in snow down here. 

Many roads in the Smokies opened yesterday.  The Park Service has not announced the opening of Newfound Gap Road.  They posted a photo on Twitter yesterday of road clearing crews shoveling snow by hand on Highway 441.  They appear to be working around snow covered and abandoned automobiles.  Surely, people didn’t abandon cars on that highway during the blizzard. Where would they go?  The photo could have been taken in a parking lot, where people hiked to LeConte Lodge and of course were trapped there beyond their intended stay. Snow drifts of 4 feet were reported in the mountains Saturday.   

Little River is flowing at 125 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.63 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 117 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:40 am is 41.5 degrees.

It is going to be much warmer this week.  Expect highs in the 50’s and 60’s over the next ten days.  Low temperatures will be in the 30’s and 40’s.  Today’s high should be in the mid 60’s.

Fishing is probably slow in the Smoky Mountains due to the cold water.  We may see a period of colder water ahead as the snow melts and runs to the streams and eventually ending up in the valleys.  Hopefully we will see warmer water by the weekend.

If you go fishing today, use nymphs and get them down unless you are targeting a brown trout in shallow water.  Still, use nymphs.  If you see a male and female brown together, please leave them alone.  Look for males fighting. Target them.  We should never try to catch a female on a redd this time of year.  Those fish are our future. 

We had a busy weekend at the shop and there were anglers heading into the mountains yesterday to fish.  Snow lovers were out and about.  As Park roads opened, people were piling into the Park.

Fly Tyers Weekend is approaching.  It will be held this weekend.  Everybody is talking about it in the store.  And, it looks like the weather is going to cooperate.  We have work to do in preparation.  We are getting a lot of help from friends, especially Mike Bryant and all the fly tyers who plan to demonstrate for you.   

Many fly fishing shows are held during the Winter months when weather can be your friend or enemy.  Most Winter fly fishing shows are held in major cities that are equipped to handle winter storms.  That would not be the case at this show.  Many fly tying demonstrators have to drive through the Smoky Mountains to get here.  If Fly Tyers Weekend had been held this past weekend, I don’t think it would have been well attended.  It’s a chance you take and hope for the best.  Right now, it looks like we’ll be fine next weekend.

Check out the mini website pertaining to the event by clicking below.  I hope you can be here and enjoy the event while fishing some too.  Good fishing depends on the water temperature.  I saw one news release in a newspaper where I was quoted as saying the weather will be mild and the trout will be active.  Somehow, the writer took what I said out of context.  What I wrote was, “the weather can be mild”.  I’ve been around here long enough to know that the weather may NOT be mild.  I do know the brown trout will be active, cold weather or not.

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

Byron Begley
November 3, 2014

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