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 53 degrees in Townsend this morning.  You should be in the Smoky Mountains and fishing right now.  I’m serious.  You should be there now.

Traffic was unusually heavy yesterday.  It was like a peak leaf peeping day in October.  Actually, it was a snow peeping day in November.  They say Cades Cove was packed.  I took an afternoon walk around town at 3:30 pm yesterday.  People were everywhere.  I was wearing a short sleeve shirt and sweating.

The snow is melting.  Mount LeConte was pounded with 3 feet of snow early last week.  The higher elevations got some rain last night.  It was probably light.  We didn’t get any at the shop or at home.  It is warm.  Little River has risen again, not much, just right.  Flow is 211 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 110 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:35 am was 49 degrees.  See what I mean?  You need to be out there fishing in the Smokies.  It is overcast.  And it should remain that way for a while.  We are expecting sunny skies later today.

Fishing is very good.  Everyone I talked to yesterday caught trout in the mountains.  Some did better than others depending on where they were and what tactics they used.  It has been a very good past few days for fly fishing here.  Many would call the fishing excellent.  Bill, who works here caught a 26” brown trout this week.  That makes four of that size, that friends of mine have caught during the past two weeks.  I know of another 24” brown caught by a buddy of mine.  These guys hunt for big fish.  Some days they catch nothing.  Some days they just watch the trout spawn.  They don’t target nesting females.  They just play with the very active males.

Trout fishing for any species has been very good.  I suspect the high elevations are difficult to fish due to the snow and the water is cold.  The trout way up high may be sluggish.  Not down here.  You can see by looking at the water temperature, conditions are warm and within the trout’s comfort range.  All three prongs of Little River are fishing well.  I would probably hike up above Elkmont today.  The fishing should be at least fair up there and the hike would be a super experience.  Now that the leaves are falling, you will see things you don’t normally see.

They may hit dry flies and they will certainly take nymphs.  Take your pick.  I would pick nymphs to start the day.  If that didn’t work I would switch to a dry.  Any reasonable nymph should work.  For a dry I would just use something that looks like food unless there is a hatch, probably blue wing olives.  Terrestrials are still alive and well in the lower elevations.  The frost didn’t get them.  Not yet.  I know that because there is a beetle outside my window on the glass right now, walking around and looking in.

It is 7:30 am but it feels and looks like 8:30.  The time changed.  We fell back. Falling back is not one of my favorite things.  When I leave work it is usually dark.  Security is an issue.  I have to pack extra heat, that is more readily available.  It’s not that I have had any robbery attempts since I moved here from the city.  It’s just that the odds are greater when it is dark.

Maybe I can continue to go to work at daybreak, but take a one-hour hike just inside the Park before coming here to write this fishing report.  That would turn a negative into a positive.  This morning, I would have gone fishing had I thought of it and realized how good the fishing conditions are.  I didn’t know it was going to be this warm.   

This may be far fetched.  It might not work at all.  Today, I would consider fishing downstream for smallmouth bass.  I got skunked the last time two weeks ago.  Somehow today seems to be better than it was then.  The water is higher and warmer.

You’ve got plenty of options today.  They could be fly fishing, snow peeping, playing in the snow, hiking, photography or stream watching.  There is a chance for rain this morning.  Take a lightweight waterproof jacket with you.  If you venture high, take something warmer to wear.

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

Byron Begley
November 4, 2012

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