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 cloudy and 30 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The frost is thick on all horizontal surfaces.  Traffic was very light on my commute.  I think every vehicle I saw was local.  We have a very important holiday coming up, Thanksgiving.  Travelers stay home before and after a holiday.  I think we are in the midst of a pre-holiday lull. 

Little River is flowing very low at 68 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.48 feet on the USGS gauge.  The water temperature at 8:10 am is 38.5 degrees.  Our USGS guy, who takes care of our flow gauge calibrated the equipment yesterday.  He does that often.

The reason the water is low is, believe or not, is due to the lack of rain.  Oh, we’ve had plenty of rain this year, 16.5 inches above normal.  The problem is, it has been a dry Fall.  This month so far, rainfall recorded at the Knoxville Airport is .78 inches.  Normal for the same period is 1.66 inches.  Since September 1st, we have had 6.11 inches at the Airport.  Normal is 7.41 inches.

It looks like rain is headed our way and it will be a welcome change for anglers in the Smokies.  We have an 80% chance today and tonight.  The chance for rain on Sunday is 60% to 70%.  I would like to see us get at least an inch.  What we don’t want is a gully washer wiping out the trout redds.  That happened to a certain extent last year.

It is going to be warm this weekend.  Tomorrow will be a great day to be outside.

Fishing is slow and good all at the same time.  Normal trout fishing in the Smokies will be somewhat slow due to the cold water today.  The water will warm some this weekend.  Fishing for brown trout is very good in the mountains.  Depending on where you are the fish are spawning or they have already done it.  They are hungry.  The brook trout should be active.  The rainbows are lethargic for now.

Most anglers are using nymphs or streamers.  The water is low so stealth and presentation are paramount to your success.  By all means, dress for success.  Wear muted colors, or even better, wear camo.  Stay low, hide from the trout and make good presentations.  Use light tippet (6X or 5X) for normal fishing.  Use heavy tippet for the browns.  I would probably stay away from gold or silver beaded flies.  That extra flash can be great when the water color and depth is better than it is now.  Cold water is clearer.  Cold water does not hold suspended solids well.  That is why the water seems clearer during the Winter.  I would use nymphs without beads or maybe a copper colored bead such as a Quasimoto Pheasant Tail.

Tomorrow is going to be exciting around here.  We are holding a beginner fly tying class.  I was off yesterday so I don’t know if it is full.  We had two openings Wednesday.  Call the shop at 865-448-9459 to find out and book your spot.

Rex Wilson will be conducting a Free Fly Tying Demonstration between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  Rex is a pro.  His specialty is tying trout patterns for the Smokies.  His many decades of angling and tying experience in the Southern Appalachians are something you don’t want to miss.  Just show up.

John Ross will be here selling and signing his new book, “Trout Unlimited’s Guide to America’s 100 Best Trout Streams.  Profits from the books sold at this event will go to the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

We will also allow each person who shows up at the store tomorrow to register to win a free $100 Little River Outfitters gift card.  The drawing will be held at 2:00 pm. 

So, come on over tomorrow and enjoy yourself.

The unthinkable happened in Townsend yesterday.  The main lodge building at Dancing Bear Lodge burned.  Our fire chief said that this was probably the worst fire we have had in Townsend.  Evidently, the fire that eventually destroyed the 17,000 square foot building started in the chimney.  One fireman was hospitalized due to smoke inhalation.  Nobody else was hurt.  You can read the story and see the video on the WBIR Channel 10 website by CLICKING HERE.

Just this week I was working with the lodge planning fly fishing events for 2014. 

I feel terrible for the owners, Sam and Matt.  I hope the staff can be transferred to Blackberry Farm, which is owned by Sam.  This is just awful.

Losing this store to a fire is my nightmare.  When I built this building I had a sprinkler system installed and a steel fire escape from the second floor to the ground.  We have 5 exits.  We have smoke detectors everywhere, including in the 4 heat and air units.  All the detectors are monitored 24/7 by our security company.  You can tell I’m really paranoid about fires.

I know Matt and Sam will rebuild Dancing Bear quickly.  They are probably there now making plans.  They know how to get these things done.

As usual, my hat is off to our Volunteer Fire Department.  They did call in about 20 extra firemen from the County along with a ladder truck.  From what I understand, the fireman who was hospitalized is OK.  I don’t know who it is.  I think I know them all.

We are continuing to remodel the store.  We are hoping our new lighting will arrive today.  The 2014 Fishpond Collection should be here either today or early next week. We are also preparing for the Holiday week.  We will be busy then.

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

Byron Begley
November 15, 2013 

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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