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

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast and 38 degrees in Townsend.  Some light sprinkles were falling when I drove to work.  Paula said she had some sleet hit her windshield. It’s kind of a dreary morning.  We are expecting sun and a high of 46 degrees later. 

Little River is flowing near normal thanks to the 1” of rain we got over the past two days.  Flow is currently 201 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Median flow for this date is 228 cfs.  I was surprised when I read the water temperature on my thermometer at the swinging bridge.  The water is still warm, 50 degrees.

We did not get the expected wind and thunderstorms yesterday.  What we had was constant light rain.  I imagine fishing was good and it may be today as well.  The water is still warm, it is clear and right now the skies are overcast. The barometric pressure is high and rising.  That might put the trout down on the bottom and inactive.  I don’t know.

Dry flies have been working well.  Most fishermen are reporting catches using a blue wing olive dry fly from sizes #16 down to #20.  Nymphs might work best today or maybe not.  Try both.  Find out what the trout want.  We have plenty of water in the streams and other conditions are very good.

The weather front is bringing us clear and colder conditions.  We’ll see low temperatures in the high 20’s at night until the weekend.  Right now the Weather Service is predicting a 30% chance for more rain on Saturday.  The water temperatures will drop.  We won’t see 50 degree water for a while.

We are almost half way through December.  Usually, we have slower fishing in January and February.  This year, the fishing was great in early February.  The Spring hatches started early because it was unusually warm.  Usually, those hatches begin in March. 

We will be prepared for the Spring hatches earlier next year.  At that time we will have plenty of Quill Gordons and Blue Quill flies in the bins downstairs.  We will also bring in the late Spring flies shortly after that.  Those patterns include March Browns, Hendricksons and later, Light Cahills.  Caddis flies will be part of our selection in larger numbers during the early Spring.  The Yellow Sally Stonflies, which are usually on the water in larger numbers in May, will be in the bins early too.  Timing our inventory with changing weather patterns is harder to do these days. 

Of course, we may have a normal Winter and those flies will just be sitting there and ready. 

At the next County Commission meeting, I am hoping the “Covered Bridge” issue will be on the agenda.  Our plan has been, for years, to turn the old Wilson Bridge at the downstream end of town, into a covered bridge.  A new bridge replaced this old one lane bridge.  It is closed to traffic now.  Pedestrians and bicyclists use the bridge.  Anglers stand on it and watch the water, looking for trout and smallmouth bass. When I’m fishing at that end of town, I always walk out on the bridge and watch the water. 

At issue with the Commission is funding.  The county approved a match to a TDOT grant years ago.  I think the total cost to construct a timber frame cover was around $200,000.  It’s been so long ago I have forgotten.  Both the TDOT grant and the County match seem to have been forgotten by the governments.  The Commission has to decide if it will still fund their share, then go to TDOT for the rest of the money.  It will be interesting to see how this turns out.  I would like to see the covered bridge at the gateway to our town. 

We have four concrete bridges in Townsend that are open to traffic.  We also have two swinging bridges for pedestrians only. Then there is the old Wilson Bridge that is also used for pedestrians.  That’s one of the cool things about Townsend.  We are a river town and we have bridges over the river.  Little River is pretty much free flowing for about 50 miles to it’s confluence with the Tennessee River.  There are some small dams along its route.  One is located in town.  I have heard it was built to generate electricity during the logging era, before Great Smoky Mountains became a National Park.

Maybe you have not read the Wikipedia “Little River” page.  It is an interesting read.  CLICK HERE.

I am beginning to see the mountains out my office window.  I would really like to be fishing today.  I hope you can go fishing somewhere.

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

Byron Begley
December 11, 2012

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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