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. I slept until dawn, which is unusual, kind of a nice change. I walked outside where the forest was coming alive. I could hear birds, crows and hawks. The tops of the mountains are still white, covered with snow. That snow must have clung to the trees and has stayed there two days. It is a beautiful morning. The temperature is 32 degrees. It will be cold at night for a couple of days, in the mid 20’s. There is no rain or snow in the forecast through Monday.
Little River is flowing at 217 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.94 feet on the gauge. Median flow for this date is 228 cfs. The water temperature is 41 degrees this morning.
Fishing in the mountains is getting pretty close to slow if it’s not already there. I’ve always found, when the water temperature drops to 40, fishing pretty much shuts down for me. There are some anglers fishing. Some are trying to catch the big browns and some have been successful.
And, fishing in town has been good in the stocked water. I drove along Old Highway 73, along the river a couple of times yesterday. There was one SUV parked at the swinging bridge and I could see someone fishing. That’s a good spot. The water is deep and it’s probably the most popular place to fish in Townsend.
I don’t know what the fishing will be like in the river today. That water is getting very cold.
The only road that is closed in the Smokies right now is Highway 441 connecting Gatlinburg and Cherokee. It opened yesterday for a while, then closed again due to snow and ice. It will probably open later today again like it did yesterday.
That road is scary enough to drive on when it is bone dry. It’s awful when there is snow and ice. Dwayne and I drove down from Newfound Gap to Sugarlands one time when over 5 inches of snow covered the road. We were camping at Smokemont and it started sleeting. We pack up quickly and headed over the mountain. When we got to the top, it was snowing heavily. We stopped briefly to have a snowball fight then began our decent.
Lucky for us, the Park service closed the road at Gatlinburg so we didn’t meet any vehicles coming up. We were in my jeep and going down was a white knuckle time for me. I put the jeep in low 4 wheel drive and we crept all the way down. We got to Sugarlands, and it was raining there.
I was in the Townsend Shopping Center the other day buying some corn. I asked Jean and Jerry if the eagles had been hanging around their store this year. They told me the birds are there every day. I never look at treetops when I’m driving through town. Sure enough, I looked yesterday on my way to the shop and there they were. There were two bald eagles in the trees behind the shopping center, where they are every year.
People report seeing them occasionally during the warm months when there are leaves on the trees. When the leaves fall, you see them all the time. I’ll start looking for them now. Chip was at the shop yesterday and was headed back to Alabama. I told him to watch the treetops next to the river when he got to the shopping center. I hope he saw them.
Chip was telling me how much he enjoyed Fly Tyers Weekend. I agreed with him. I enjoyed it too. I’m still hearing positive comments about it. The fly tying demonstrators loved it too. One reason is, there were not distractions from other activities. It was all about fly tying. The only vendor was Casting for Recovery and they were selling BBQ to raise money for their organization. Nobody considered them a distraction. That was the place to be if you were hungry. They served a BBQ sandwich, baked beans, chips and a coke for $5. What a deal! I always gave them a 100% tip. I bet most people did.
Wilson, Wendy and I will get together soon to discuss next year’s event. I know one thing, we’ll need more parking. We used the elementary school and city hall for parking and had shuttle service for people who parked there. Those lots were full at times. We’ll work something out.
One of our big mistakes was not having signs that told guests there were tying demonstrators on two floors. I talked to one guy who said it was awesome having all those people in one room. He had not gone upstairs. Wendy drew up some quick signs telling folks we had people tying on both floors.
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