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 almost dawn, 6:52 am, and the temperature is 34 degrees.  Today will be a beautiful day.  I’m excited because I will be working at the shop, catching up on some bookkeeping.  I’ll get to hang out with the guys for a while.

Little River is flowing at 142 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.69 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 243 cfs.  The water temperature is 42 degrees.

Not many people are fishing in the Park right now.  Not many people are visiting Townsend.  We are in a lull.  It’s the winter pre-holiday lull.  We are busy with mail order.  Visitors will be coming to town next week.  It’s just the way life is in Townsend, this time of year.

If you go fishing, use nymphs and get them down.  You may want to use a pair of nymphs.  Add some split shot.  I like #6.  You may want to pinch on one, two or three of those to get the weight you need. 

The water is low and cold, which makes it very clear.  Many fishermen believe, low clear water requires a nymph that doesn’t have a shiny bead.  It’s too much flash for clear water.  Nymphs with a dark bead or no bead at all, is what I would use.  Many patterns will work.  Try a Hare’s Ear, Pheasant Tail or Tellico.  There are many versions of these patterns and some have rubber legs.

Dredging nymphs is the best way to go when the water is cold.  You may catch some trout today or later this week but don’t expect great spring-like fishing.  Enjoy the solitude because there is going to be plenty of that.  Enjoy seeing things you don’t see in the summer.

I’ve been watching the National Park Service news releases daily lately.  I’m waiting for a release announcing the opening of Lynn Camp Prong. We’ll get a call from the Park before it opens.  I want to see it in writing.

I found out some interesting news today.  The Park Service is doing a stream renovation on Chilogate Creek.  They will restore this lowland creek to it’s original meander, stabilize the eroded banks, plant native vegetation and improve the wetlands areas.  The project encompasses the lower 5,000 feet of the stream.  The work is underway and I’m planning to go over there and check it out.

Chilogate Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains

Park Service photo of the construction project at Chilogate Creek.

You’ve probably never heard of Chilogate Creek, much less fished there.  It runs along the lower Foothills Parkway and dumps into Chilhowee Lake.  There are probably never any trout in that creek.  But, who knows.

Paula and I fish there often.  We don’t catch much but we like going there, by boat.  We often anchor the boat there to eat lunch. I’ve tried poling our boat up the creek and get turned back by masses of vegetation.  That may change now.  Or, maybe we could walk up the creek to fish. It’s probably no big deal to most anglers, given the other choices, but it is a special place for us. It is close to our house.  You can read the news release by CLICKING HERE.

I ordered a bullet box last night from Cabelas.  A bullet box is a small steel structure that catches .22 bullets and disintegrates them, practically eliminating ricochet.  I’m building a shooting range near our barn and hope to have it completed by Christmas. 

I’m also trying to find .22 cartridges.  What’s going on with that shortage?  Are people hoarding them?  I did find one box of 525 cartridges and bought them yesterday.  I guess I’m going to become a hoarder too.  I counted my stash last night.  I’ve got about a thousand rounds.  I stopped at Dick’s and they didn’t have any.  The guy there seemed to know what he was talking about.  He said people are buying them to re-sell, because the prices were going up.  He also told me, prices have stabilized. So, if people buy them now, they may see their investment decline in value.  That sounds like my kind of investing philosophy.  “Buy when prices are at the top”.  I found the box I bought at another store.  Hey, I’m not giving that name out for the world of hoarders to read.  If they had more, I would have bought them. 

Paula and I are planning to shoot targets more often and we’re really looking forward to it.  She does all of our shopping in Maryville/Alcoa.  I guess now she’ll have to add some ammo stops to her agenda on shopping days. 

I hope you can be at our shop tomorrow.  Josh Williams will be tying and telling you about his journey into fly fishing.  Josh began his military career as an infantryman in the U.S. Army.  He served in Iraq as an automatic rifleman.  After returning home from that assignment, he was injured and lost an arm.  While recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, he met the founder of Project Healing Waters and John Bass.  John is a good friend of mine and even attended Troutfest one year. 

They introduced Josh to fly fishing through Project Healing Waters.  Josh became an avid fly fisherman and fly tyer, despite having only one arm.  He started a guide service called Dead Drift Flies.  He went back to college seeking a degree in mechanical engineering technology.  He just graduated this month.

Josh lives in Virginia, has a wife and two young children with a passion for fly fishing and tying.  He will be at the shop between 10 am and 2 pm.  Come on by and meet him.  He ties some awesome flies.  You don’t need to make a reservation.  Just come by.  It’s free.  I’ll be there and I can’t wait.

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

Byron Begley
December 19, 2014

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