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 5:18 am, the temperature is 27 degrees. A warming trend begins today, with a high temperature around 61 degrees.  High  temperatures over the next 7 days will range from the high 50’s tomorrow to the high 60’s by the weekend. Lows at night will be warmer too, ranging from the mid 30’s to the mid 50’s by next weekend. There is a decent chance for rain tomorrow, Wednesday and next Sunday.

Little River is flowing at 418 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.39 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 219 cfs.  The water temperature is 43.9 degrees.

Fishing will be fairly slow to slow this morning due to the cool water, but trout can be caught and the water will be warmer later today. It is going to be sunny and warm today. I would go this afternoon.

Nymphs would be my choice. The water levels are higher than normal but certainly fishable. You should be able to wade many areas in Little River without a problem.

Keep this in mind. The Townsend Christmas Parade will be held this afternoon. It usually begins around 2:30 pm. For about two hours, the main road through town will be closed.

So, plan on that.  If you are trying to get home between 2 and 4:30 pm, you will have to go through Pigeon Forge or wait in Townsend. If you are coming from the Park, you should be able to wait at our store, unless the traffic is backed up, which could happen.

This is going to be a beautiful day for a Christmas Parade. If you are in town, park and enjoy the parade.

People travel here long distances to see our Christmas Parade. Santa Clause lives about a ½ mile from our house.  I know he is excited about today’s parade.

Reindeer are scarce in Townsend.  His sleigh is usually pulled through town by a team of mules. They are usually Rick Myer’s mules. These are not your common working mules you would see plowing fields in our valley. They are beautiful show quality mules, dressed in the finest tack available. I heard Rick moved away so I’m not sure what the status is on his mules right now.

I can’t help but think fishing will be good later this week.  I feel really confident about Smoky Mountain fishing next weekend at this point. High temperatures will be in the high 60’s Friday and Saturday. Lows will be in the 50’s. It depends on the rain. The water temperatures should be fine. Right now, there is nothing I’ve read about the possibility of heavy rain. I think next weekend, trout will be very active in the Smoky Mountains.

Watch the water temperatures. If they reach or exceed 50 degrees, go fishing.

The longer term forecast looks pretty good too. This may turn out to be a very warm December. This has been a beautiful Fall and early Winter. I’ve only seen snow once late this year, and that was high on a mountaintop two weeks ago. There are no indications of snow in the forecast through December 20th, at this point.

The guys at the shop are busy shipping orders and mailing gift cards.  Christmas is only 2 ½ weeks away. We will be busy through January 1st, then our business drops for the Winter. Winter is a tough time to be in business, in Townsend. We are not looking forward to that.

Fly fishermen start showing up in our town when the Spring hatches begin. That can be as early as late February or as late as early April.  I have noticed the hatches begin earlier than they used to. Spring hatches have begun earlier during the past decade, compared to the decade before that, or so it seems.

I’ll take early over late.

In the old days, 1970’s and earlier, Tennessee and Great Smoky Mountains National Park had a trout fishing season, for trout spawning purposes. If I remember correctly, trout season opened April 15th and closed at the end of September. In the early 80’s, the season was changed in the Park to year-round, except for Abrams Creek. When Steve Moore took over as the Park’s fisheries biologist in 1983, he eventually changed the season on Abrams Creek to year-round.  My friends and I were excited when that happened. We always wondered why Abrams Creek was different. I’m not sure Steve even knows.

When the early hatches occurred, we couldn’t fish. Many anglers back then, didn’t know what a Quill Gordon or Blue Quill was. It was not until trout season was done away with, that we saw these bugs, because we were fishing earlier than before. We were missing some awesome dry fly fishing because of those archaic trout season rules.

Steve Moore always thought, and later proved, fishermen don’t have much of an affect on trout populations. Floods and droughts do. Acid deposition does. It was his feeling and later proved, that opening streams to angers would not change the fish populations.

So, he began a process of opening brook trout streams to fishing, streams that had been closed to fishing, year-round, for a long time. He and his crew, sampled the populations of streams that had been closed, then re-opened to fishing. What he learned is what he suspected, there was no change or reduction in the populations after the streams were opened. He eventually opened all brook trout streams to fishing, year-round.  Lynn Camp Prong was the last to open, this Spring.

Science prevailed in a way that was favorable to anglers, and not detrimental to the trout populations.

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

Byron Begley
December 6, 2015

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