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 foggy, frosty and 24 degrees in Townsend this morning.  I got here early so I saw maybe 3 or 4 vehicles on the roads.  Hardly anyone is out there.

Little River is flowing at 460 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.64 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 263 cfs.  The water temperature at 7:45 am is 40 degrees.

Fly fishing in the Smokies is slow.  The trout are lethargic.  They are cold.  One exception might be post spawn brown trout.  They are hungry.  You could catch one of them today in the rivers that have brown trout populations.  Use nymphs and get them down deep.  A good streamer might also work for the browns. 

This is going to be a beautiful weekend.  The night temperatures are going to be chilly.  We’ll have sunshine and highs in the low 50’s for a few days.  Fishing will improve some.  Don’t expect too much.  It will be a nice time to be in the Smokies.   

I think most of the roads that should be open are now open in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Ice and snow closed several this week.  The Park Service is not doing much tweeting right now.  We’ll probably get some chatter later.

If you go fishing in the Park today, be careful.  The flows are fairly strong and the water is very cold.  Fish near your truck and have some extra dry clothes in case you take a spill.

The Boyds will be tying at the shop tomorrow.  Come on over and watch them tie.  Bill Sr. and Bill Jr. always put on a great show.  Our Saturday tying demonstrations are free.  Just show up.  The tyers will be demonstrating between 10 am and 2 pm.

We will also be holding a Intermediate Fly Tying Class tomorrow.  In that class you will learn to tie some of the more complicated trout flies.  I think we still have some openings.  Call the shop at 865-448-9459 to reserve a spot.  This is an all day class.  We furnish everything, including lunch.

Paula prepared a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.  Pat and Jim joined us as usual.  That is a tradition I hope will last forever.  I ate too much as usual. 

I showed Jim the Game Changer fly.  He is an avid saltwater fly fisherman.  He could see the Game Changer tied to depict a baitfish that lives in the Atlantic or Gulf.  I think they would make a perfect mullet or ballyhoo.  You might be able to tie one shaped like a pinfish.  I have not tried that. That would be similar to our shad.  It would take a different set of spines and materials to tie a batifish with a shape like that.  We will be doing it soon. I know it can be done.

We discussed tying these flies for tarpon.  His son Drew is a guide in Key West.  Drew is tying smaller tarpon flies.  They have been getting smaller every year.  Just 15 years ago, tarpon were taking large flies.  These fish are usually released and they learn from the experience.  A tarpon can live to be 80 years old, or so I’ve heard.  So, they have seen a lot of baitfish imitations and maybe they have been stung a few times.  Right now, I’m tying Game Changers to look like small rainbow trout and smallmouth bass.

I’m on the waiting list for a hog killing.  If someone drops out, I get to go this year.  Hopefully, that will work out.  Basically, Doug and some of his friends meet at a farm owned by another friend in Kentucky who raises hogs.  Six of them butcher 6 hogs and it takes all weekend.  Everyone goes home with coolers full of pork. 

Ever since he told me about this I have been interested in participating.  I know, pork is cheap.  These hogs are raised without feeding them anything but grain, no chemicals, no antibiotics and no hormones.  More importantly to me is, a hog killing has historic significance.  It’s part of our heritage.  I just think it would be awesome.

Doug and I are also looking into trapping wild boar around here.  I have friends who do it and they are successful.  We have hoards of wild boar.  Everyone who owns land wants them eliminated.  Everyone also knows, a pig is very smart.  They are hard to hunt and hard to trap.

One problem Doug and I have discussed is, where do you hang a carcass to age?  We both live in bear country.  I know a bear would break into our barn the first night we hung a pig in there.  Bears are even more populated at his house.  We talked about building something behind the shop.  You need strong beams and a winch system to hang a hog.  And, the building has to be bear proof.  We have never seen a bear at the shop. We have a lot of details to work out.  It’s fun though.

Mike was driving along the lake recently.  He saw something swimming across the water.  It said it was huge, like no animal he had ever seen. He waited until it reached shore.  It was 5 or 6 wild boar, swimming together.  They got out of the water, shook off and walked away.

Another cougar has been spotted in the Six Mile area.  They are here and probably feeding on wild hogs among other things.

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

Byron Begley
November 29, 2013

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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