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 in Townsend, Tennessee.  At 5:20 am, the rain has ceased and the temperature is 56.7 degrees. We got a drenching, beginning at 4 pm yesterday. 

The rain was heavy for the first two hours, then became lighter throughout the evening.  The Knoxville Airport reported 1.47”.  Our local weather station reported 1.21”.  It is going to be cooler now, closer to normal.  Highs will be in the 40’s through 60’s this weekend.  Lows will be in the 30’s tonight through Saturday, then dip into the 20’s Sunday night. There is almost no chance for rain over the next 10 day period. There is also no chance for snow. Last year, our first snow fell on November 1st.

Little River is flowing at 1,140 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 3.4 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 148 cfs.  The water temperature is a warm 55.9 degrees.

Wading and fly fishing is pretty much out of the question today in the Smoky Mountains. I checked all streams that have USGS gauges.  The charts all look pretty much the same.  Hopefully, we’ll see the water levels drop to a reasonable level by the weekend.

What we see now, is what we don’t want to see, after and during the brown trout and brook trout spawn.  Some redds could be washed out.  I’ve always heard there is significant destruction of redds in areas on Little River when the flow reaches 1,000 cfs.

That usually happens.  Sometime after the eggs are laid, hatch and the fry are small and helpless, we seem to always have a significant rain event.  I suppose that is Mother Natures way of controlling the populations. If there were a huge successful spawn, there would likely be too many trout in the streams.  Floods and droughts have the highest impact on trout populations in the Smoky Mountains.  Fishermen have very little affect on the populations.

When trout populations exceed the carrying capacity (food supply), the trout tend to be smaller.  That varies from year to year, because of floods and occasional droughts. Fishermen notice the average size of trout.  They don’t seem to notice a reduction in the numbers of trout.  There are a lot more trout in these streams than most people realize.  If you are a fisheries department volunteer, and work on fish populations sampling, you will understand what I mean. When we shock sections of the streams to capture the trout, the numbers always exceed what I expect.

We tend to base our own non-scientific trout population assumptions based on how many we catch, not how many are actually there.  

If you a planning to travel here for Thanksgiving, and hope to fly fish in the Smokies, the water levels should be fine.  A warming trend is predicted to begin Wednesday.  Hopefully, the water temperatures won’t be too cold. I have no idea at this point.

Today is my day off this week and I have a cold.  I’m staying home to rest and hopefully get over this thing.

The Great Smoky Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited’s monthly meeting will be held tonight at Calhoun’s on Kingston Pike.  The meeting starts at 6 pm.  This is one you don’t want to miss.  The program will be presented by Walter Babb.  Visit the website by CLICKING HERE for more details.  You should be there if you can. Opportunities like this one don’t come along often.

Jessica Callihan’s Fine Art Reception will be held tomorrow night at the Clayton Center for the Arts in Maryville.  You can click on the ad to the left for more information.  She is amazing! Help support her by attending at 6 pm.

If you are a deer hunter, you might want to read a story I read on the WBIR website this morning.  You can read it by CLICKING HERE.  At this point, during archery and muzzleloader season, only 54,488 deer have been harvested in Tennessee this year. That is down 9,439 from last year.  Gun season opens Saturday.

I thought I was confused, or maybe it was a misprint.  I don’t keep up with these things because I’m not a deer hunter.  That number blew me away. 

We have a doe and her older fawn living near our house.  I can’t help but worry about them.  We see them often.  They are like pets to us, and our neighbors who live in the other two homes back here.  None of us are deer hunters, so if they stay on this 60 acres, they are probably safe.

I am not against deer hunting.  Some of my best friends are deer hunters.  I love to eat venison.  If they were not hunted, we would be overrun with deer.  I just don’t like killing deer or really, anything else. I do like going on hunting trips with my friends.  They understand how I am, but that doesn’t hold them back at all.

We are infested with wild turkeys.  Paula and I counted 29 behind our house yesterday.  They are all hens at this point.  The gobblers and jakes will show up soon.  I don’t know where the males hide. Last year, we saw between 30 to 50 turkeys, almost every day, through the Winter.

I talked to one of our neighbors yesterday.  He has a trail camera located somewhere on his property.  He told me about the animals he has photographed.  Most are bears, deer and raccoons, something we have a lot of around here.  He also sees a lot of bobcats. He shot a video one time from inside their house, of a bobcat trying to kill a wild turkey. This was a very large male bobcat.  His mate was nearby.  The turkey stood up to the bobcat.  The cat decided to leave the turkey alone.  The turkey won. I’ve never seen a bobcat in the wild, though two supposedly live in a cave behind our house.

I’ve received so many e-mails from people who attended Fly Tyers Weekend this year.  I got one yesterday from a woman I remember well.  She fly fishes for bass.  She watched me tie Knuckleheads and took notes.  She sounds so appreciative.  Everyone is appreciative.  I am appreciative.  This was a group effort, put on by 50 volunteers, and we all had a great time.  You can read more about the event by CLICKING HERE.  Plan to attend next year if you can.  You will love it.

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

Byron Begley
November 19, 2015

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