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 early, dark and 25 degrees this morning.  We’ve been having warm, beautiful days and cold nights for several days. 

It is much colder in the high elevations.  Night before last, Leconte Lodge reported a low of 22 degrees.  The night before that, the low was 13 degrees.  They have snow on the ground up there.  Newfound Gap road was opened yesterday morning.  If you drive on that road, watch for snow and ice.

These cold, clear nights are perfect for watching the stars.  Stargazing, is something we take for granted at times. I remember moving here from a city, over two decades ago, from where we seldom saw stars due to light pollution.  Seeing the sky lit up with stars was one thing I noticed that was different, after moving here.  Paula and I would go down to our field, lay on the ground, and look up.  The sky is a beautiful scene at night when those wonders up there are visible.

Townsend has lighting ordinances that prohibit shining light into the sky.  We want to protect our view of the stars.

If you want to see the sky loaded with stars, drive on the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Chilhowee Lake on a cold, clear night.  Pull off at one of the parking areas and look toward the Smoky Mountains, then up into the sky.  You will see stars, many stars. 

Little River is flowing at 170 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.79 feet on the gauge.  Median flow for this date is 260 cfs.  The water temperature at 6:42 am is 37.5 degrees.

You can catch trout in the Smokies right now, but it’s not easy. The cold water has an affect on the trout’s metabolism.  Those fish slow down, eat less and stay hunkered down when the water is cold.  It’s hard to tempt them to move far for a meal.  The key right now, is to get your fly down to them and practically bump the fish in the nose.  A nymph can do that if it has plenty of weight and no drag.  The adult browns will be more active as they are hungry.  They spawned recently and during the cold months they need food to recover from their ordeal. 

The water is very clear.  Cold water holds less dissolved solids. Pour some tap water into a clear glass and put it in the refrigerator.  Wait a while.  Then fill another glass with warmer tap water.  Compare the two.  Then, you will see what I mean.

Today will be nice, over 50 degrees just like yesterday.  We always tell customers to wait a while before they go fishing when the water is cold.  Yesterday, the water warmed only 1 degree F, the whole day. 

It will be much warmer tomorrow, in the 60’s.  We may get showers tomorrow night with a low temperature of 44 degrees.  We’ll see some warming action after that. 

As fly fishermen, we are, without a doubt, intrigued and entertained by wildlife.  We enjoy watching wild animals and fish.  We study insects and make our own. We are happier when we are visiting their part of the world.  That’s what got us into fly fishing in the first place.  We indulge in and relish the thought of enjoying mother nature’s critters and the places they live.  We are descendants of hunters and gatherers.  It’s part of our DNA.

I know I’m that way.  I’ve been that way, all my life.  I’m thrilled at the sight of a bald eagle or black bear.  I live with them.  I saw 9 wild turkeys in our driveway yesterday.  I called out to Paula to come see them, once again.  It is a daily occurrence.  We sometimes see a bear at our house and it’s like a once in a lifetime event, every time. “Oh, that looks like the same one we saw last month, or a close relative.”  

We drive over bridges while traveling.  We always look to the left or right or both, to see what is down there.  Is it a river?  I hope so.  Which river?  What lives in that river? Or is it another road?  You know exactly what I’m talking about.

We have 4 bird feeders behind our house.  I watch them intently along with our cat, Dubbing.  I identify every bird, in my mind, by their common name, over and over.

These bird feeders, and the squirrels, have been driving me crazy.  Everyone says, you can’t outsmart a squirrel.  They sit up there, eating expensive sunflower seeds like they are candy, then spit the hulls back into the feeder.  I’ve been at wits end trying to do anything, short of shooting them to keep them out of the bird feeders.       

I have always believed what Napoleon Hill wrote, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it will achieve”.  I think I have finally done that with some help from a customer and friend who lives in Iowa.  His name is Dan Rupp.  He read about my dilemma in the fishing report and responded by e-mail with some excellent ideas. 

I was off work Friday and built this feeder that I think, can’t be raided, even from the tree limbs above, by squirrels.  They can’t climb up the wood 4 x 4 post to raid the feeder.  With Dan’s advice, I think I now have a squirrel-proof bird feeder. It took sheet metal roofing material and flashing wiped down with WD 40.

I can now feel the thrill of victory, I think, with my new prototype.  If this works, and I believe it will, I’ll take a picture and share it with you.  I have all the materials laid out in my workshop downstairs, to build more, this time better looking and probably improved as well.  If it doesn’t work, I’ll let you know I failed again.

I would take advantage of this beautiful day to visit the mountains, the forest and the streams.  I will be doing my weekly bookkeeping chores at the shop instead.

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

Byron Begley
December 14 2014

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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