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 dark of course at 6:26 am.  The temperature outside is 38 degrees.  Today will be nice, a good day to fish.  It will be overcast.  The high temperature is supposed to be 51 degrees in the valley.  The high temperature at 4,000 feet elevation is predicted to be 44 degrees.

Little River is flowing at 131 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 1.65 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 217 cfs.  The water temperature is 43 degrees this morning.

You could go fishing today in the mountains and you might catch trout if you work hard at it.  The water is chilly, lower than normal and clear.  You may spot some big post spawn browns.  Chances are you won’t catch them.  They are fun to watch and it’s fun to try.  Best fishing opportunities would be high sticking deep runs and pockets with weighted nymphs.  There’s a chance you might find some fish rising to dry flies, maybe blue wing olives or other winter aquatic insects that are active.  I would at least start out with nymphs.

We should get some much needed precipitation over the next few days starting tonight.  The best chance for rain is Tuesday and Wednesday.  The chances are high, 70% to 100%.  A chance of 100% usually means “It’s gonna rain”.  I hope so. 

We have a 10% chance for snow Christmas Day.  I am hoping that is a typo and the chance is actually 100%.  I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.

Yesterday was fun for me and many other people at the shop.  Josh Williams was conducting a free fly tying demonstration.  I met Josh at Fly Tyers Weekend.  He lost an arm while serving America in the U.S. Army.  He is young, smart and fun to talk to.  I really like that guy.  Josh became acquainted with the founders of Project Healing Waters while he was in the hospital at Walter Reed.  He became an avid fly fisherman and fly tyer. 

He is an amazing fly tyer, and does it all with only one arm.  I was amazed that he could use a whip finish tool with one hand.  I’m going to help him with his website, in fact, I was looking at his code this morning.  You can visit his site by CLICKING HERE.
Though Josh is actually a mechanical engineer, working for an architect/engineering firm, he also has a fly fishing guide service located in Virginia where he lives. He is planning to sell flies and fly tying materials online.  What a great young man.

This is kind of a “No News” day around here.  It’s hard writing a fishing report sometimes, especially when the fishing is slow and people are interested in other things, like the holidays.

I grew up in Kentucky on a farm.  My family raised horses and cattle.  We had several ponds on our farms.  During the winter the ponds would freeze.  We had some harsh winters during the 1950’s and early 60’s.  I decided to take up the sport of ice fishing.  I read about it in Outdoor Life, Sports Afield and Field and Stream. 

To break a hole in the ice, I used a hatchet.  That was a chore.  I was determined.  I’ll never forget those days, freezing to death, sitting next to a hole in the ice on a 5-gallon bucket waiting to catch a fish.  I did it several times over the years, all alone.  I couldn’t talk anyone into going with me.  I never caught a fish. I can’t remember what I used for bait. 

I learned some valuable lessons as a child and some are still etched in my mind.  Sitting on a 5-gallon bucket, in the freezing cold air, not catching a thing, I decided that rabbit hunting would be a better idea.  I gave up ice fishing for rabbit hunting when I was 9 years old and got my first .22 rifle.

I can’t believe now, my parents turned me loose at such a young age with a rifle.  At about 12 years old my rabbit hunting improved with the acquisition of a shotgun, a .410 pump.  Now, I could hit a moving target.  Then, some of the farmers who lived nearby, took me hunting with beagles.  That was a whole new level.  Eventually, one of those farmers gave me a puppy, Suzie.  She loved to chase rabbits.  All of a sudden, I was a real rabbit hunter. The next step up was a new shotgun.  I think I got that when I was 13 or 14.  It was a 16 gauge, Browning Sweet 16.  It hangs on the wall right behind this desk today. Not far from that is my first .22 rifle.  I was now a “professional” rabbit hunter.  Those were the days!

I’ll be at the shop today, running payroll, paying bills, making a tax deposit online and all that non-fun stuff.  At 63 years old, nothing has changed that much.  I’m still excited about Christmas and it’s almost here.  I’ll be shooting guns Christmas Eve and probably Christmas Day, just like I did during the 50’s and 60’s.  I just hope it snows.

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

Byron Begley
December 21, 2014

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