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 5:13 am, the temperature is 53.6 degrees.  It appears the rain is over until Thursday.  We got over an inch of rain yesterday.  It is going to be fairly warm for a couple of days.  This weekend should be sunny with highs in the 50’s and low in the 30’s, which is more like we would expect in November.

Little River rose to 3.25 feet yesterday.  It happened quickly.  I saw guide Rob Fightmaster waiting at the shop yesterday for a client.  He was watching the flow gauge on his iPhone.  I bet they didn’t go fishing. If they did, they probably didn’t stay long.

Right now, Little River is flowing at 490 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.53 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 149 cfs. The water temperature is 56.5 degrees.

The water is swift, at least in Little River.  If you go fishing, be careful.  If you fall in, that water is going to feel ice cold.  I would wait until later today.  The river peaked.  It is dropping. We take beginner students to the river at 2.5 feet and it is not flowing much over that. Still, it is fairly swift.

I would use nymphs with plenty of weight.  Fishing may be good.  The water temperature is fine.  The trout should be feeding fairly well today.  We may see the water temperature drop below 50 degrees this weekend.  If that happens, fishing slows some.  When it drops to 40 degrees, fishing is slow.  Then, we wait for warm days and fish later in the day, after the water warms. 

The leaves have fallen from most trees.  The view of the mountains from our house has changed.  From now until Spring, we’ll have a great view of peaks surrounding Cades Cove.

This time of year, when the trees are bare, is a great time to be in the Smokies.  You see more. You see more mountain views and parts of rivers you don’t notice during the Summer months.   

This is camping weather. In the higher elevations, you will probably have some frost on your tent in the mornings this weekend.  Fishermen can sleep in, then roll out and get the fire going. Nobody is in a hurry to go fishing.  Preparing breakfast can take time and you won’t care.  

You will enjoy your campfire very much this time of year. The trout may be sluggish, but you won’t see many people. You will probably catch a few trout, dredging the bottom with nymphs when the water gets really cold.

We will not see many people in town or in the mountains until Thanksgiving, which is not far off.  A lot of people travel here to camp during Thanksgiving week. We can always tell who is camping when they come to the shop.  They smell like a campfire.  I love it.  I wish I were doing what they are doing. 

I can’t sit and do nothing for long, unless there is a campfire to sit next to. Then, I can sit for hours, doing nothing. 

I could not begin to count the times, we have camped in the Smokies during the late Fall and Winter months.  Some of my fondest memories are of cold weather camping.

Every Fall, for many years, my friends and I have met at Frank’s hunting cabin in Kentucky for the annual deer hunt.  I’m not going this year. I’ll be working this weekend. I’m way behind.  They will be enjoying cool weather and campfires.  Shooting a deer is not something I enjoy.  The guys stoke the fire in the cabin’s woodstove, and head out before daybreak.  I always go back to sleep, on my cot, in the main room of the cabin, near the woodstove.

When I eventually get up, I add more wood to the stove, then go outside and build a fire in the fire pit.  When they come in for lunch, we all sit around the outside fire, unless it is raining or snowing.  If we can’t do that, we sit around the wood stove in the cabin. We are all happy, either way.

If you have not tried cold weather camping, maybe this is the year to start.  I enjoy the backcountry most, but camping in a travel trailer, motor home or large tent is fun too. Most important is that campfire.  We have some great developed campgrounds in Townsend, on Little River.  Or you can camp in the National Park’s developed campgrounds.  Some are closed during the Winter. Cades Cove is a favorite nearby.         

We close the shop Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day. Since I don’t write the fishing report on the days we close, I can sleep in.  I’m looking forward to that. Paula is already planning our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.  I’m very much looking forward to those and being with friends.

I love this time of the year.

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

Byron Begley
November 10, 2015

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