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 frosty and 27 degrees in Townsend this morning.  The higher mountains are obscured by fog.  The lower elevation mountains are off-white, not from snow but due to the heavy frost.  It will be sunny today but cold.  The high temperature is predicted to be 36 degrees.

Little River is flowing at 747 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 3.15 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 284 cfs.  The water temperature at 8:00 am is 43 degrees. 

If you go fishing in the Smokies today, be careful.  Don’t fall in.  Though the streams have receded over the past few days, they are still swift.  The water is cold.  The air is colder.  Stay close to your truck and have a change of dry clothes stored away just in case.

Some trout are going to be lethargic due to the water temperature.  You can catch them using nymphs and there is always the possibility of some sort of winter hatch.  The post spawn browns are hungry.  Visibility in the water is better than it was earlier this week. It will be easier to spot the browns.  Catching them is not easy.  Some of my friends love this kind of fishing.  It is more like hunting to them.

Just doing some normal fishing may be fair too.  Plan on doing a lot of high sticking with weighted nymphs.  The most enjoyable benefit derived from fishing this time of year is the lack of people.  If you are seeking solitude, today is your day.  It is going to be warmer tomorrow and clouds should move in later in the day.

Little River in town, outside the park was stocked by TWRA a few weeks ago.  They released some big brood rainbow trout.  One guy caught a 9 pounder.  Other people have caught these rainbows with some measuring over 20 inches.  The bald eagles who spend the winter feeding on stocked trout are having a great year. 

We have rain on the way.  The chance is 60% tomorrow night, 80% Saturday and 50% Saturday night.  It is going to be somewhat warmer and there is no chance for snow in the lower elevations.  I believe we will get snow in the higher elevations.  Mount LeConte reported 1” of new snow Tuesday.

Visitors are preparing to spend the holidays in Townsend and the Smokies.  This will be a busy time for us.  The tourism business is very good Christmas week through New Years.  The winter holidays are a great time to be here.  If you plan to be here you are probably wondering what the weather and fishing conditions will be like. 

It is usually cold.  But, it can be warm.  Sometimes it snows.  The streams are normally brimming with water.  Right now it is too early to tell.  I am looking at the long term forecast.  One weather website is predicting a high temperature of 55 degrees and a low of 40 degrees on December 21st.  That could change.

I don’t think it will snow because I bought some more “No-Snow” insurance yesterday.  I’ve been buying no-snow insurance since we had a bad snow storm about 4 years ago.

You know, we buy things we don’t need.  We can’t help it.  We think we are doing the right thing.  Often, the unintended consequences, that we do not foresee, render those purchases useless.  If you don’t buy something to prepare for the worst, Murphy’s Law takes over, making you wish you had spent the money on something you don’t need.

That storm dropped a foot of snow on us.  We live in the middle of nowhere and share a long gravel road with three families.  A concrete ramp runs up the hill for a few hundred feet from Old Cades Cove Road.  During the snow storm, it was impassable. 

None of us had a snow shovel.  I could not believe we didn’t have one.  Paula, Herb and I tried to remove the snow on the “Ramp of Death” with a piece of plywood.  It took forever.  I ran out of ice melt and we could not go anywhere to buy some.  At that point, Paula and I decided to buy some no-snow insurance.

Paula bought a snow shovel.  It has not snowed since.  I ordered a skid of ice melt, several hundred pounds of the stuff.  It has not snowed since.  Yesterday I bought 4 new tires for my truck.  I got the aggressive tread kind of tires, something that you would buy when you need traction in the snow.  I am updating and building my no-snow insurance portfolio.  I also bought an Optima battery for my truck, a tough battery that is made to endure the worst cold temperatures normally associated with a winter storm.

So, I think I’ve got us covered for another winter.  We have the snow shovel and a skid of ice melt.  My truck has brand new tires and a new battery.  It will snow in the mountains, but not in the valley.  We should all be mobile for the holidays. 

I also got a flu shot yesterday.  The pharmacist asked me to wait there for a few minutes to be sure I didn’t have a reaction after she gave me the shot.  I waited and waited.  I was standing at the counter in the pharmacy.  A man walked up behind me and said, “Are you waiting in line?”  I said, “No, I’m waiting for a reaction”.  When the man left he patted me on the back and wished me good luck with my reaction.

Finally I asked the pharmacist, “If I go into anaphylactic shock, are you going to perform a tracheotomy right here?”  She told me I was free to go. We all had a great time at the pharmacy and it was free, sort of.  My health insurance paid for the shot. 

I don’t know why they don’t call them no-flu shots.  Maybe people would not buy no-flu shots.  That just doesn’t sound right. 

It’s kind of like life insurance.  If they called it death insurance (which is what it really is), nobody would buy it.

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

Byron Begley
December 12, 2013  

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