Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a sunny morning in Townsend, Tennessee.  It is also very cold out there, 22 degrees when I left for work at 7:45 am.  This is a “long john” day.  The temperature dropped to 11 degrees night before last at Mt. LeConte.  It was probably much colder than that last night.  We’ll see when JP updates the website at the lodge.

Heavy frost has covered everything, horizontal and vertical.  That will melt shortly as the high temperature in Townsend should reach about 50 degrees today.

Little River is still getting lower, just a little bit every day.  We should have some rain starting tomorrow night.  The water is very cold, 39.3 degrees right now.  Most wild trout, except for the post spawn browns will be hunkered down right now.  From what I heard yesterday, they were not very active then either.  Most old timers, those who have fished the Smokies on a regular basis for decades say, “When the water temperature drops to 40 degrees, the trout stop eating.” 

If you go fishing today in the Smokies, wait a while.  Let the water warm up a little, which is about all it will do today.  Tie on one or two nymphs.  They could be about anything reasonable.  I have almost always used a Prince, Tellico or Pheasant Tail.  Put some weight on your rig and let those nymphs tumble along the streambed.  You will catch a trout or two at some point but for the most part, fishing is slow in the mountains.

Have a change of clothes handy, stay fairly close to your truck and by all means, don’t fall in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen in.  I would be extra careful today.

Lynn Hayes is coming by this afternoon and we will be plotting against the smallmouth bass in a strategic planning session.  We will be discussing the “float n fly” technique used by anglers successfully during the cold months, on the lakes.  The technique requires a spinning rod, or does it?  Lynn has done it with a guide who knows the technique well.  They fished during the winter on Dale Hollow Lake.  We plan to adapt the method to include fly fishing tackle. 

I’ve been researching this on the internet.  And I came across something very interesting to me.  Anglers are using this kind of fishing on the Kentucky River.  The Kentucky River?  I grew up on the Kentucky River.  I have spent no telling how many hundreds of days on that river.  I never caught a smallmouth bass.

Yesterday, a couple from Lexington came in.  I asked him about the river.  He said he heard that the bass fishing is good and people catch sauger below the dams.  People even fish for crappie in the river.  Things have changed during the past 60 years, evidently.  I would love to take our boat to Boonesborough, where I grew up and fish that river.  That may happen.  Talk about going back in time.

I’m working on the Online Store.  Yesterday afternoon I added Sage’s new Circa Trout Rods.  You can click on the appropriate slide below and you will visit that page.  Today, I’m going to start on the Fishpond gear.  And there is plenty to do.  They came out with a lot of new products that keep your gear and clothing dry.  I think there are about 10 new products in this “Westwater” lineup.  If I finish those ten or so pages today, I’ll be happy.  We have all of those pieces in stock if you want to see them.  They are awesome.  We are open until 5:00 pm today.

This will be a great day for you to go hiking in the Smoky Mountains.  You might consider tying flies while watching a football game.  Better yet, go to your fly shop and buy a bunch of stuff.

Whatever you do, I hope you have a great day.  Thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
November 25, 2012


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